Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Book Review: Divergent

By Veronica Roth

I was very surprised to see that Veronica is only 25 years old! What an amazing accomplishment to have not only one book, but a trilogy published! I was impressed with Divergent and am looking forward very much to getting stuck back in to the story with Insurgent and Alligent afterwards!

I chose to read this book second to The Secret Scripture with the idea that the former would take a lot longer to read than Divergent. How wrong could i have been?! After creasing the un-cracked spine and working through the first few chapters, i quickly found myself through a good quarter of the book before brewing the essential pot of coffee! What ever the weather, coffee and my book are like shampoo and conditioner, cake and cream, bra and knickers. They compliment each other and belong together. Unless your feeling quite daring and decide to ditch the knickers and go commando for the day. In which case, hurrah!!! But it is officially Autumn now here which means colder, wetter and windier outsides :-( and PJ's, hot drinks and baggy jumpers inside :-D. Any excuse really. 

So, after breezing the first twelve chapters and finding myself totally engrossed in Tris's world, i was eager to keep the pages turning. This quite surprised me at the time, however since fantasy is my favorite genre, i don't know why i was so surprised! It reads so easily to me and anyone like me will know how easily it is to become lost in these worlds. Zuzana and i have had lengthy conversations and debates over the Mortal Instruments. A series i would also highly recommend! Were fantasy geeks!

Divergent is the first of two, with the third installment 'Alligient' released in 6 days on October 22nd 2013. 
I loved several elements of this book. For the first book, the detail in creating this futuristic world was great. Descriptive enough to be able to construct a clear image and sound a understanding of how things are, yet concise enough to not bore or overload me. I also loved how quickly the story got off the ground and pressed on with the events crucial to the plot. I was told this book was like The Hunger Games and i can see why this has been said. The factions, the young age that characters are made to risk life, the heroine and hero, the family associations etc. But in equally as many more ways, it really wasn't. This story had a strong plot and a good foundation built in the opening chapters to allow it to stand independently of any further comparison to The Hunger Games. I loved the story.

Another aspect i really liked was the focus of fear and bravery. We can all closely relate to these two emotional elements in both day-to-day life and more challenging situations pressed on us. I like the way the author has identified and seperated the five qualities that make up the factions and what they stand for. We all may believe one may be more important than another, but this story takes it to the even further and has created a world in which the factions swear to live by the single quality they believe superior

Bravery. Selflessness. Honesty. Peacefullness. Intelligence. 

Despite being so violent, especially for 16 year-olds, i thought the initiate training was excellently created. It exploited all aspects of the Dauntless and what they stand for. The imagination behind this, i was impressed with. 

The relationship between Tris and Tobias. What can i say? There were moments where i really loved the relationship forming between them. Tobias is a strong character both physically and emotionally. These are  qualities that i find really attractive in a man. Confidence! I also really liked the way that Tobias would shift his behavior dependent on the company he was in (obviously for the protection of himself and Tris). The strength of character to do this is admirable, something which Tris didn't have! At times she really was pathetic! A typical 16-year-old with a crush. Ill spare you the rant as i already feel the need for the vom-bucket at her pathetic behavior towards Tobias. I loved it when she punched his square in the jaw though. That made me giggle!

The secondary characters in the book were well thought through, all with different, yet equal importance to the plot. They were all very different in character and thus each added their own extension to the story. This really allowed the story to branch out and make you feel informed amd connected with more than just Tris and Tobias.  It further highlighted the various qualities and characteristics of each faction

The few things that did niggle me about Divergent weren't aspects i can criticise about the book in any way. Only on a personal level. It irritated me how small and delicate and petite Tris is. I'm more like Molly, so of course it annoys me. The fact that Tobias had been living in the highly impulsive Dauntless faction for two years and is mega hot, yet still a virgin. Really? Going on then to have "The two virgin ideals", 'saving themselves for each other' almost. So Annoying that i'm pulling my nose up even writing this! (But i have to think about the target audience. We cant be having teens reading a "50-shades of grey" version of Divergent! Although it would certainly put a smile on my face!). These aren't flaws of the book, just personal distastes

There was only one thing that outright annoyed me about the book. The ending scene. I have to remember that the audience is 'Teens'. And i am not one. But the whole "catching the train, riding into the unknown wrapped in each others arms, almost defeated but back together again" crap and admitting to each other embarrassed and clumsy that they are "in love" with one another really did make me want to vomit. They've known each other for four weeks, have kissed once and haven't even slept together! Thankfully this was a small part of the finale chapter, but it was there never-the-less and thus dampened my overall rating of the book. . 

Overall, Divergent was a fantastic story which i very much enjoyed reading. It was so easy to read and to fall into this story without feeling taxed after a few hours of reading. The story was uncomplicated and easy to follow yet kept me gripped for what was coming next. It filled my head with a brilliant construct of their cities and how they work both independently and together. Despite not being the main theme of the book, it also got my mind working to think about what's beyond the gate?! Is this the setting up of Book 2? Or Book 3? 
Thanks to Zuzies book haul, i have the second installment of the series, 'Insurgent' in my bag waiting! I cannot wait to get started on it! I really hope i'm as excited for book three upon the end of Insurgent. I agree with Zuzie when she thinks sequels have a great tendency to disappoint. Look at Harry Potter and the chamber of secrets and New moon!

The rights were sold to Summit Entertainment/Lionsgate and the movie adaptation of Divergent is due to be released in the UK on Friday 21st March 2014. 
Heres a list of the cast:
Tris- Shailene Woodley
Tobias- Theo James
Jeanine - Kate Winslet
Caleb - Ansel Elgort
Christina - Zoe Kravitz
Peter - Miles Teller
Marcus - Ray stevenson
Eric - Jai Courtney
Tori - Maggie Q

I think this will be a strong cast and has the ability to create a fantastic representation of the book (being that the script-writer hasn't gone crazy, or cheesy, or Hollywood. I'm fed-up to my back teeth of Hollywood-ised movies, played down with the most important dialogues and scenes missed out. All in the name of hitting the most profitable audience (Teens).) I am preparing myself for disappointment, its seems unavoidable. The cast are good representations of the characters i imagined with the exception of Eric. I always imagined he'd look like Skirllex. No offense Skrillex!

There aren't many quotes, as usually features at the end of my reviews, for one reason. I read this book and enjoyed it! It didn't have many moments where i felt i needed to stop to reflect. I connected and i could relate to many aspects within this book. B ut for me, it is a book to simply enjoy

A few quotes:

"Selflessness and bravery arent all that different." 

"It must require bravery to be honest all the time."

"There is power in self-sacrifice"

"A brave man acknowledges the strength of others"

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