Review: Divergent

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 “Dude, you need to read Divergent. It’s really good.”

“Just read Divergent, man! You won’t regret it. You’ll finish it in like two days.”

“You better hurry up and read Divergent before the movie comes out!”

Well, I read the damn book. I read it, and I may be the only one in America to dislike it.  I’d seen people carrying Veronica Roth’s best-seller at school for weeks. I’d heard the buzz about the big movie. My own mother had read and loved it, and I waited as long as I could to start it. Let me tell ya, I was a victim of word-of-mouth.

A while ago, my mom brought Divergent home from her workplace, along with a few other books. Later that night I was home by myself with nothing to do, so I picked it up and began to read. I read about 50 pages in one sitting with mixed opinions. I certainly wasn’t blown away, so I put the book back on the shelf without a second thought. This was all pre-movie deal and pre-ohmylordthisbookisah-mazing status.

When I sat down to re-read, I just kept thinking about how easily I was able to put it down the first time. A book that good should have captivated me until the end, right? Regardless, I gave it another try…and felt largely the same way.

I’m not big on YA novels. I loved  The Hunger Games and Catching Fire when I was in middle school, but I was only recently able to force myself through the mess that was Mockingjay. I just don’t like the way most YA writers write. Veronica Roth is no different. Her style seems broken and staccato, much like Suzanne Collins’s. This isn’t to say that I think YA writers suck and YA readers are idiots– I recognize that it takes a great deal of talent to write for that target audience– talent that I don’t possess myself. Obviously Collins and Roth are great at their jobs, their work just isn’t satisfactory to me.

The story had promise… It was kind of like the same old been-there-done-that dystopian tale, but with some redeeming original qualities I liked the idea of factions; everything was unique and it worked well to develop the society. However, I did not like the “we are grouped this way because of a certain trait.” Tried and true. True and stale. Despite that, the characters were all unique and I did enjoy getting to know them. Well done on that part.

I should say this now: Divergent never really held my attention. I read most of it because it was the only I could do on a 12 hour bus ride to New York (I’ll touch on my New York trip in a later post). I liked the story enough, but it wasn’t gripping like it should have been. I say all of that to say this: There was so much promise for the ending and she botched it BIG TIME. How ridiculous SPOILERS is it that one faction uses mind control to take over another one so the second faction can obliterate a third? WHAT? I was extremely disappointed by main conflict of the book. It.Was.Bonkers. Oh, and I also thought I was gonna make it out of the story without some shitty romance sub-plot. Ix-nay on that one, too. Tris and Four’s romance may appeal to some people, but I am most certainly not one of them.

I didn’t hate the book, but I certainly didn’t like it. I’m thinking it was much too overhyped and my expectations were set too high. Maybe that was it. I hope that was it. Nothing that I feel this badly about should be turned into a blockbuster movie. I pray that I’m misguided for America’s sake. Suffice this all to say I’m not continuing with the trilogy. One book was enough.

*I mentioned NYC earlier. I was going to cram details about my trip into this post, but thought it best to just hold off for a while. I’ll fill you all in; I might even add some pictures. I’ll also let you know where I stand on my writing career, and which college I finally decided to attend! I’ll try to post mid-week, but I make no guarantees because my schedule is hectic! Have a nice rest of your Saturday.

~Eric

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