Eh…this book was very nearly a DNF for me. And, to be honest, I’m not sure if that is the fault of Divergent itself or me as a reader. As you may have noticed in my earlier post, I am kinda done with the flood of derivative knockoffs, especially of Twilight, Hunger Games, and Harry Potter-esque crap, that seems to be all over most bookstore shelves of late. I really need to read something different. However, I knew my sister (and nearly everyone else on the planet) loved Divergent and I’ve been on the digital copy waitlist for it at the library for like ever, so when my turn came last week, I felt I HAD to go through with reading it. And honestly, that’s what it felt like…going through with a dreaded chore.
That’s not to say that Divergent wasn’t actually a diverting novel. I think if I had been in any other reading mood, I may actually have liked it more. I usually enjoy a good dystopian or YA novel, but lately…not so much.
Well, let’s start with the positives that make this book a standout in that category:
- I like the simulated, injectable aptitude test which helps each teenager determine his/her future faction. I thought that was an original detail that made the book standout from others in this genre. I wish we’d gotten to hear what other non-Divergent test scenarios looked like.
- And…I liked Tris’ mother. I think she was an intriguing character whose secrets would have been interesting to discover. I wish we had seem more of her.
- I found the five factions kinda interesting and wished there had been more multi-dimensional aspects of each developed. I mean, Erudite, Abnegation, and Dauntless are fairly well fleshed-out, but I still don’t really know much about the society that is friendly and the society that doesn’t tell lies. I’d like to understand them better.
- I found the Caleb character interesting and wanted to know more about his radical choice.
And then there were the other things that I didn’t like so much:
- I don’t like Tris. At ALL. She’s whiny, self-involved, and kinda cruel. Of course, most teens — in fact, most people — are also, but it’s hard to get behind a heroine like that.
- I don’t like the Dauntless. Their headquarters reminds me too much of the underground volcanic tunnels in The Host and they seem too much like obnoxious emo biker kids that never really grow up. Not really interested in reading about a whole bunch of daredevil jerkfaces who simply want to show each other up all the time.
- After having read The Hunger Games, the training these kids go through and the possibility of being expelled from the group, while somewhat brutal, seem anti-climactic. After all, even the few that end up factionless don’t end up dead. So their dire circumstances seem less than dire.
- How the world changed into this scenario never really gets explained. I mean, yeah, there was dissatisfaction with the world as it was, so they decided to group up into factions which would emphasize positive aspects of humanity and prevent future wars, but what was the direct cause? And how long ago was this?
Sadly, I think I’m done with the Divergent series. I don’t think I will be reading the sequels or watching the film version of this although I do like the two leads they’ve picked from the released film stills.