It's been awhile since I've read anything dystopian. Libby read this a few years back, a bit before our blog started up, so my review will be the one to go up. I will say Im glad I read this book. I wasnt expecting much, but I was pleasantly surprised. It is enjoyable if you like the YA dystopian sub genre type book.
What I liked:
I thought the pace matched the book well enough that I wasn't bored for more than a chapter or two. Divergent follows the exploits of a girl named Beatrice, whom lives in an dystopian Chicago, where humanity has separated themselves in "factions" or personality based segregation. When a person turns 16, they go through a rite of passage, where their minds and choices determine whether they stay in their born faction, or choose a different one. The only thing is, once they choose one, they're not allowed to have strong contact with a past faction.
Beatrice or "Tris" is "divergent", a person whom is stuck between several, which is dangerous and can get one killed. I liked Beatrice. I think she had her faults, but she was much better and much stronger than many teenage girl MC. I think girls should be allowed to be sappy, and Mary sue's but there should be diverse strong ones too to even things out.
Being "divergent" isn't a super power or anything. It's just someone who cant be controlled. I liked how Tris wasn't anything overtly special,but she worked hard to overcome a lot of her physical faults. I liked that due to her choice of picking "dauntless", she was exercising and filling out her frame in a healthy way. Girls are either skinny or heavy, and it seems novels don't allow the athletic build to shine. I like that Tris promoted a body in motion, one who took fitness seriously.
The story had good back story, and it distributed it well, and in the places that best fit it. I liked the world building. Im in love with Chicago, and it seemed like a cool place to set a world like this. The world building was pretty good, I wont say that is was excellent or life changing, but it earned the point from me.
it's well edited and an industry standard, and the character descriptions are on point.
No insta-love. It seemed like it at first, but I wasn't aware until about 3/4 into the book, that'd they'd been training for about 6 months. I think that's enough time to fall for a guy.
What didn't do it for me:
There's not a ton of diversity. Any diversity is left for the reader to guess. Two characters close to Tris seem like People of Color, but she never explicitly says so. And even so, they were the only ones, and that's strange considering Chicago has some of the largest numbers of people of color in the United States. As of now it's only 45% White, and only 31% of that is non-Latino. Seriously? I know all the marginalized groups didn't die out. And where are all the disabled people and queer people?
Another gear that grinded for me? I can tell the author is Christian. This is not an insult to the author, and it is not anything against Christianity. But there is a large history of Christianity "conquering" for power, and it just so happens? Yea, Abnegation, the faction of "self-less" people are the only people in power, and decide all the other factions fates. Hmmm...that doesn't sound like history repeating itself at all. And yea, they're the only ones that believe in God too. Don't know how I feel about that.
The cover is just ok to me. And the concept isnt out of the realm of other dystopian books.
But I loved it. Tris is more like me than let's say a Bella Swan. I have the sequel, and I will read it once I get some other books out my queue.
Guinevere's Actual Rating: 3.75