Oh, Divergent. I really should have learned my lesson by now about picking up these Young Adult books which have high ratings on Goodreads. I decided to read this because it’s supposedly “the next Hunger Games” and because of the aforementioned high ratings and that a movie is coming out by next year.
Synopsis: In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
What I liked in this book:
- Well, I like the book about 80% in, that’s when all the action started happening.
- I also like the premise of the whole thing, the reason I decided to just give in and read the book. The premise is good, yes, a future dystopia where human beings are limited to five factions and governing traits. The thing is, we aren’t told much about the setup, how the whole situation came to be, how the future leaders decided on that, and why they decided on those traits etc etc.
- I can’t think of anything else, really.
What I didn’t like in this book:
- Well first off, from what was stated in number 2 above, we aren’t really told about a whole lot. I would’ve liked more background, I mean, it’s the first book, I expect to be told how things came to be, why things are working like they are now. I even got peeved when the author didn’t expand on the training, she just says that the characters are taught punches. What punches? Are they taught different fighting styles? It seemed like the initiates were just expected to know how to fight each other. A gym wasn’t even mentioned, which one would expect with a faction which concerns combat. It wasn’t mentioned if they were taught how to reload or clean a gun or those things. It’s the little things that kept me out of it.
- Another little thing, that hard drive where the simulations (was it the simulations?) were stored, Tris and Four act like they saved the world by getting that. I mean surely the Erudite keep backups?
- The whole factions thing really. Why are kindness and selflessness separated? Those aren’t mutually exclusive traits. They go hand-in-hand, even. Why are Dauntless these reckless assholes who jump off trains for no apparent reason but just for the ~thrill~ of it? Why are the Candors these rude assholes who enjoy putting down people just for the sake of being ~honest~.
- The government is run solely by Abnegation. I mean surely anyone can see that that is not a good idea? No matter how selfless the whole bunch are, government still needs proper representation from its constituents. Like how the Republic City council has representatives from the different bending tribes, not just the air nomads who are the most peaceful lot.
- That train man. Why doesn’t it stop? It doesn’t make sense. Miss your stop? Nope, you have to circle the whole track. Miscalculated your jump? Nope, sorry, straight down to the ground for you. And apparently no one would get sued with all those train-related fatalities.
- We have another perfect bad boy with a tortured past but a sensitive heart but I won’t let my guard down and I’ll treat you like crap in front of everyone, girl I like. SERIOUSLY STOP. Young people should stop swooning over these types of leading men so authors wouldn’t churn them out anymore. They are not sexy.
There are a few more, but I’ll stop now.
Rating: 4/10. The book is still entertaining, but I suffered too many eyerolls and (my own) faceslaps to truly enjoy the book. Nevertheless, I have been invested in the story, and I am reading Insurgent after this, just to see how things work out. I need closure, dammit.