'Reading a book is like re-writing it for yourself. You bring to a novel, anything you read, all your experience of the world. You bring your history and you read it in your own terms.'- Angela Carter

Saturday, 14 December 2013

REVIEW: Divergent - Veronica Roth

Divergent - Veronica Roth
Divergent (Divergent, #1)
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, 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 to determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating 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 a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

This is my second time reading Divergent. I was surprised at how much I had actually forgotten about the book but it still didn't blow me away as much as I hoped. I definitely got a lot more out of it than I did first time round, but that could be because I took my time with it this time and didn't feel so much pressure to enjoy it - the first read was when the book catapulted and everyone was going insane about it. Poor book haha. I can definitely see why people love the book. It's emotional, action-packed, it has realistic and likeable/ detestable characters and plenty of suspense to keep your turning the pages.

“Becoming fearless isn't the point. That's impossible. It's learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it.”

I'm going to talk more about why this book wasn't a 5* read for me. I think pretty much everyone that follows my blog has already read it and about 95% of you have loved it, so I think just listing the merits ad repeating what everyone else has said would be a bit boring. So, my first problem was with Jeanine. She was a great villain, don't get me wrong, but I just didn't like how Roth represented her and described her in order to make her seem like an un-likeable character. This refers particularly towards the end of the book when Tris and Jeanine come face to face. Tris is in some serious trouble and the only way that Roth attempts to convey Jeanine's character is through describing her body as her wearing a dress which tugs to her tummy which has a bit of podge, and that when she moves around the desk her legs have stretch marks. This seems so damn superficial and ridiculous. The woman's body isn't perfect, like most women's bodies. This does nothing to add to the villainous characteristics of her character. They - so far anyway - appear to be throwaway bitchy remarks which achieve nothing. I hope something more comes of this, but I'm not holding my hopes up very high.

My second problem was that the ending of the novel felt completely rushed. I'm not going to go into a lot of detail for those of you that haven't read it, but I would have loved to have spent more time in the Pit etc. I kind of felt like right, initiation over and bam this, bam that, bam bam bam. I felt a little disappointed. I wasn't ready to move away yet. I wanted more of the experiences of the other members of the faction. This isn't so much a negative aspect, it was just a little disappointing. I'd have happily read another 100 pages if it meant a little less of a mad rush to the end of the book. I'm looking forward to finding out more about Eric and Jeanine in Insurgent though. I'm really looking forward to seeing how everything pans out following the ending. Waiting for the heart break that is promised to come as well!

“There is power in controlling something that can do so much damage - in controlling something, period.”


Now I know it's weird to have spent the majority of a 4.5* review talking about the negatives, but I felt like I had to explain why this book just didn't work as well for me as I hoped it would. It's going to make a bloody god film though and I'm really looking forward to reading Insurgent and Allegiant. I loved all of the characters and I thought the creation of factions was genius. I really want to learn even more about them. It's a really clever concept - one of those ideas that you just wish you'd thought of yourself! I loved Tris. She is such a little fighter, but isn't perfect at the same time. A really great protagonist to read about. Reading about her internal struggle was emotional and captivating. It's going to be interesting to see how she reacts in the next book after the tragedies of Divergent.

Overall, I really did enjoy this book. Four is brilliant, Tris is great and I'm still making my mind up about the other characters. The characters which were born in the faction were great, but I'm still making my mind up about the transfers. I don't know how much of a role they'll play in the next book but I'm really excited to read it soon. Divergent is action packed, heart wrenching and beautifully written - a really good book despite a few flaws!

3 comments:

  1. Great review, hon! I am glad you chose this approach because as you said, we mostly all read it and loved it. :) I am glad you enjoyed it as well, it's one of my faves so it makes me happy you liked it as much as you did :)

    "This seems so damn superficial and ridiculous. The woman's body isn't perfect, like most women's bodies. This does nothing to add to the villainous characteristics of her character. They - so far anyway - appear to be throwaway bitchy remarks which achieve nothing. I hope something more comes of this, but I'm not holding my hopes up very high."
    I totally agree with this part. It must have slipped my notice when I read it, or maybe I forgot, but I really agree with this part.

    Great review! I hope you loved other books, too. Insurgent was actually ma favorite, but all three are very original in concept. ;)

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  2. I agree, definitely a great way to write this review. We all know what everyone loves about it, but it's what people didn't like about it that;s interesting. It also slipped my notice about how superficial and unnecessary the comments about Jeanine are. I can't wait for the movie, it looks fantastic. Great review :)

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  3. I remember being totally swept away by this one when I read it but I wonder if I might like it less the second time around. I was slightly underwhelmed by Insurgent and since then my love for the series has kind of died down a bit... For some reason reading the way Jeanine was described (which oddly I don't even remember)really irks me. You're right though,the intensity of this one is addictive and so are Tris and Four!! I hope you'll enjoy Insurgent & Allegiant- I still need to read that last one myself hehe Wonderful review ^^ I liked your approach to it!

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