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[Book Review] The Divergent Trilogy by Veronica Roth

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Plot Summary: 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.

Author: Veronica Roth

Publishers: Katherine Tegen Books, HarperCollins

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian

Review: by Lee

I was browsing through the Barnes and Noble website, looking for books to add to my Christmas list, when I came across the Divergent series.  I thought it looked interesting, and the fact that it was being made into a movie pushed it to the top of my list.

What I Liked:

The entire concept of the series was interesting to me.  One of the major complaints I’ve seen that people have against the first book was that there wasn’t enough “world building,” but I liked the way that the author developed the story.  It was like a mystery that was being pieced together.  You learned along with the characters.  Each new book brought new revelations about what was truly happening in their world.

I really, really liked the idea of the factions and how they were played out in the story.  They were interesting, and I loved to see how they interacted.  My favorite part of the novels was finding out information about the various initiations, rituals, and daily lives of the faction.  It was not something I had seen before, and that was rare for me.

The writing was simple and straightforward, which I always appreciate.  It lagged in a few places, but the action carried the story along at a fairly steady pace.  I am all for a story that is quickly read, and I breezed through Divergent.  It was actually my favorite book because of the time spent in the factions.

Also, the author thanked God first in the acknowledgement pages of each of the books.  I was so pleasantly surprised when I came across it in the first book that I immediately flipped to the acknowledgements of the other books to see if she continued.  I also began to look for Christian themes and messages but found very little, unless you count the Abnegation who were my favorite faction by far.  This may come as a relief to some, but it was slightly disappointing to me.  Still, I really liked the fact that the author was open about her faith.

What I Didn’t Like:

Here’s where I’ll get down to business…

The character development was just not up to par for me.  I didn’t feel any sort of connection with any of the characters.  In fact, by the end of the third book, I was so fed up with the main characters that I really didn’t care what happened to them personally.  I was more interested in the society as a whole.  The only character I really liked got the short end of the stick, Uriah.  Uriah was so mistreated in the series that it was frankly upsetting.

In line with a lack of character development was the lack of their relationship development.  None of the relationships seemed genuine or believable to me, especially the one between Christina and Tris.  The author seemingly went out of the way to make it look like Christina was untrustworthy and put their relationship on edge for no reason.  It just didn’t pan out in the rest of the books.  I kept waiting for the betrayal that just never happened.  Also, the rushed and seemingly foundation-less relationship between Tris and Four was kind of annoying.  They were all over each other at the most inopportune times but couldn’t communicate at all, even when they finally decided that they would be completely honest with each other.

The main problems I had with the novels were with the characters, and the author seemed to really focus on them.  My interest dwindled throughout the series as it focused more on Tris and Four’s insecurites and less on the grand scheme of things.  I wanted to see what was happening in the rest of the world or at least the rest of the country.  I would have even enjoyed seeing what was going on with the negotiations and fights inside the city during Allegient rather than get the back stories about who loved whose mother.

One last thing… The set up of how Allegient was told really gave away what was going to happen in the end.  I would have preferred to be caught off guard.

You can purchase this book series on Amazon here.

This book series is being adapted into a movie, you can watch the trailer below.

Author Bio: 

Veronica Roth is from a Chicago suburb. She studied creative writing at Northwestern University, and wrote DIVERGENT (Katherine Tegen Books, May 2011) and INSURGENT (May 2012). The third and final book in The Divergent Trilogy, ALLEGIANT, will come out on October 22, 2013. In the meantime she will spend endless hours browsing Wikipedia in her pajamas as she eats corn flakes. (Or some other kind of bland breakfast cereal.)

Author Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Tumblr

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