Friday, May 13, 2011

Review: Divergent

Synopsis: 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. 

My Review: I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book since it first started circulating with ARC’s.  The wait has been intense and my expectations were high.  I even went to buy it at Sam’s Club and then they told me I couldn’t buy it yet because it wasn’t the official release date.  I mean, hello?! It was on the freakin shelf! Anywho…All the hype was pretty on target.  I really, really liked this book.  Loved?  Not sure I’m entirely that hooked yet, but I’m positive the future books will be to die for.  

The thing I love about dystopian novels is that you are always thrown into a strange foreign world with incomprehensible ideas.  The shock effect is that it was once the world we live in today.  Divergent was no exception to this rule.  The factions were very unique and it was a truly brilliant idea.  Even in the world of dystopia, it’s getting harder to come up with something truly mind blowing that will suck people in.  From the first page I was hooked.  I loved all the author’s ideas and concepts that went into this novel.  What I felt was just a bit lacking was the world building aspect.  What truly makes a dystopian book fantastic are all the little details.  The slang, societal rules, physical appearances, the government, etc.  Divergent had the framework for an all encompassing futuristic world, what it lacked were the details.  Not a huge flaw by any means but in my mind this great book could have been phenomenal.  

I have rather mixed feelings with Beatrice.  The transition from Beatrice to Tris kind of bothered me.  While Beatrice is in Abnegation she is living a lie and is being someone she is not.  When she makes the switch to Dauntless she is suddenly an entirely different person.  Maybe it was the fact that she changed environments so quickly so I didn’t get a good feel of her character, but it was like a switch had been flipped.  I don’t mean that she was suddenly being herself and she was free from Abnegation’s rules.  I’m saying her moral compass suddenly went south.  Okay not quite so dramatic but she thinks things that don’t reflect well on her character.  It was like because she was now Dauntless she had to be a tough ass who didn’t care about being a kind person.  It wasn’t a hugely dramatic shift, but those little inner thoughts just bugged the crap out of me.  How easily disgusted she was when someone showed weakness.  How she blatantly ignored someone in their time of need.  Just those little things really made me question her moral character.  Don’t get me wrong.  I liked Tris.  She was tough as nails and I always love a kick ass heroine.  She had many redeemable qualities and was a good MC.  I found her inner strength very admirable.  I just couldn’t completely like her because of those minor flaws.  

I absolutely adored the romantic aspect of this book.  The whole novel was excellently paced and the author really did a phenomenal job with the development of Tris and Four’s relationship.  I have to say this tops the list of the best realistic relationships in a YA novel.  This is now my number one! It was just done SO well.  It was very gradual and very REAL.  I’m blathering, I know.  Just you have to read it because it was excellent.  Plus I found Four’s character to be very interesting and complicated.  He had depth to the nth degree.  I really just fell in love with his character.  And for those of you who have read this… I SO called who he really was right after Tris jumped into the net!  My prediction skills are just awesome!  

My only big criticism of this book was that I was not emotionally attached.  Certain people die.  People who are close to Tris in some matter, and when Tris didn’t feel anything, I didn’t feel anything.  Sometimes Tris just comes off with having a heart of stone.  Maybe it was simply the situation she was in during the times of the deaths.  Her life was at stake, she had people to save, it was all very hectic.  Still.  I expected a bit more grieving to be done. 

I really enjoyed this book and I’m sure the future books will be just as good.  Instead of a little summarizing statement I’m asking you guys a question.  What faction do you belong to?  Erudite, the intellectual?  Amity, the amiable? Dauntless, the brave? Abnegation, the selfless?  Or Candor, the honest?  For me it was pretty easy to figure out.  I’d be Dauntless.  Not that I have amazing hand to hand combat skills but I would fit in with that faction very easily.  Dyed hair, check.  Lots of piercings, check.  Tattoos, soon to come.  Thrill seeker, check. It would be a fun faction.  Now what’s yours! (cheesy grin)