TITLE: Divergent Trilogy AUTHOR: Veronica Roth PAGES: 489 /525 / 526 RATING: ★★★(3.5/5) RECOMMEND?: For Hungers Games fans
*THIS REVIEW WILL CONTAIN MINOR SPOILERS*
This is my first post of 2014, and I wanted to start it with something that I feel is going to be really big this year, that is the Divergent Trilogy. I have been dying to read these for months, and I'm really happy I finally got round to it. Dystopia has always been a great genre, the YA and adult ones alike. I'm reading On The Road currently (like I finally got round to it), and soon after that I'll be reading another dystopian novel called Fahrenheit 451. So my year is going to start off quite well regarding books!
I read And The Hippos Were Boiled In My Tanks before new year, and I was thinking about reviewing it but I realised that not many people are familiar with it, even if they are aware of Jack Kerouac. Like I had to do some serious digging to get hold of it so I've decided I'm not going to write a review on it unless somebody requests one, which in that case I'll post one as soon as possible. Anyway, I'll now move on to Divergent.
Divergent by Veronica Roth is one of those Young Adult novels you can tell is going to explode sooner or later. It's the story of a girl names Tris (previously Beatrice) and she lives in a city where the population are divided into factions. The factions are a little like Hogwarts houses, they represent certain personality traits in a person. Amity, for the peaceful; Candor, for the honest; Dauntless, for the brave; Erudite, for the intelligent; Abnegation for the selfless. You are born into one of these factions, but when you are sixteen you take an aptitude test which shows which one you would be most suited for. After this, at the Choosing Ceremony, you choose which faction you will join for the rest of your life.
The plot of the novel centers around an Abnegation-born girl named Tris who seems to be different from everybody else. At her aptitude test, she is told she is Divergent. The Divergent are people who have an aptitude for more than one faction, i.e. they don't fit into the system. Being a Divergent is dangerous because it gives the government reason to eliminate you in order for them to keep control over the population.
What I liked about the novels was the way it was written. This is Veronica Roth's first novel and she did a great job of it, the action keeps going and there are never any dull moments. I also feel as though the world she has created for Tris is quite unique considering the circumstances. A long of YA dystopia has the general setting of 'everyone must conform to society', but Divergent was specific in how they were controlled. I also liked the main male protagonist, his name is Tobias. I was expecting him to be annoying and stereotypical, but I was pleasantly surprised.
Some things I didn't like about it was the actual plot line. The majority of the book is just Tris trying to pass initiation to settle into Dauntless, the faction she chooses. I kept waiting for the real story to kick in but this didn't happen until the last seventy pages. There were some small references to an uprising here and there, but the first book is mainly about showing how corrupt the current system is. I also sometimes felt like Tris lacked character, especially near the beginning, but as the novel went on she began to develop a lot.
Insurgent begins right where Divergent left off, like there is NO gap. By this point, Erudite have overthrown the Abnegation dominated government, and the leader of Erudite called Jeanine has begun hunting down Divergent and any who want to oppose her leadership. The Erudite have become the villains. Half of Dauntless are on Erudite's side and the other half have sided with Candor to oppose them. Amity, who are the peaceful faction have decided to remain out of the conflict.
In this book, the themes of uprising and revolution are a lot more dominant. Tris and Tobias and their little gang actually begin taking steps towards taking control from the Erudite. In liked this one a lot better than the first just because it had a lot more things going on. The only thing that made me confused sometimes was the number of times she moved about the city. She visits each faction headquarters through-out the course of the book and I sometimes forgot which one she was at and who was on whose side.
However, the writing style was consistently good. There were also some realistic cracks beginning to form in Tris and Tobias' relationship which I found interesting, they weren't one of those annoying perfect couples. More characters were introduced, and I found that I liked them a lot. The only people I didn't like were the villains, which of course sat well with me because I was supposed to hate them. This novel also showed the rise of the Factionless who completely oppose the faction system. I loved this idea because it was toying with more complex ideas of politics and government that were quite relevant to the world today.
This book ended with a large cliffhanger that had something to do with the origins of their society and why the factions developed. A lot of people were getting fed up that Roth hadn't given us any background information on why the city was like it was, but at the end of Insurgent we know that an explanation will come be coming.
Allegiant is the final book in the series and only came out a few months ago. I think it was my favourite one, because this is the book where everything is explained to you. The revelation at the end of Insurgent meant that a group of people in the city were forced to explore the outside world, and Tris, Tobias and their small gang are the people that finally do this. By this time, the Factionless ceased control of the government from the Erudite, but their leader called Evelyn soon became a tyrant, and a group began a counter-rebellion called the Allegiant. The Allegiant want to follow their original creator's plans, to bring the factions back into place.
Because Tris ventures to the outside world, we get told where the city came from and why what is happening, is happening. Whilst I was reading it I was transfixed, I was so interested in what was going on that I couldn't put it down. On reflection, I realise it wasn't really that much of a brilliant explanation and some readers felt disappointed that there wasn't a more controversial, or shocking reason. Nevertheless, it's was a fascinating revelation.
One thing I didn't like about this book was the dual perspective it was written in. The first two books are written from Tris' perspective, but Allegiant has a perspective from Tobias too. I don't think this worked for a couple of reasons. Firstly, both narrators sounded exactly the same, like I got through half a chapter thinking Tris was talking when it was in fact Tobias. It could have easily been told from Tris' point of view the whole way through. Another reason is that Tobias and Tris spend a lot of time together meaning it's easy to get mixed up about which one is talking.
Side note: Prepare yourself for the ending because I wan an emotional wreck and I'm not sure if I'll be able to recover.
The ending was brilliant and heartbreaking. I'm not going to say anything else. It was mostly heartbreaking. Though among the fans it was very controversial.
So overall, I really enjoyed these books. Yes, they aren't written to he highest standard and sometimes there are problems with the plot, but they are amazing escapism reads. Also, the characters are just brilliant, they are strong, willing, some are evil and some are just plain cute. The use of technology through-out the advocate the revolutions are used really well and I was both disturbed and obsessed. The only thing I was hostile about what the amount of uprisings I had to keep track of, like I counted and there are seven uprisings and counter-uprisings. S-e-v-e-n.
Divergent is being made into a movie which is going to be released in the UK quite soon, so if you want to read it before you watch it on the screen then read it now! I have posted the trailer above. Please give them a go and bare in mind that if you didn't enjoy the first book, all your answers are given in Allegiant and it is a very satisfying feeling. I'm so glad I read them.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, I know how popular the series is and I'm sure it will explode into another teenage phenomenon. I'm going to finish reading On The Road as quickly as I can, and in the meantime I might do a short video about a book called The Giver. (I have a lot to say about that book.)