Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Book review : Divergent Trilogy

Hello Beauties!

I asked you if you would want to read my thoughts on the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth, and you said yes. So here it is. :) It's going to be a LONG read, folks, so get some coffee and a snack before you start.

Here's a quick background of all three books . In the first book, we are introduced to Beatrice Prior, who is the narrator. Now, if you know me, you know I absolutely hate reading novels in the first person. This trilogy is written in the first person. >.< But this is just a personal preference and you shouldn't let that influence your opinion on the books!

Anyway, back to Beatrice. She's a sixteen year old girl who lives in a fenced in dystopian city, which we find out is Chicago in Allegiant. They don't know what's outside the fence, but they fear it. In the city, there are five factions. Erudite, who value knowledge, Dauntless, who value bravery, Candor, who value truth, Amity, who value peace and Abnegation, who value selflessness. Beatrice hails from Abnegation.

When we meet her, she's preparing to chose her own faction. In their sixteenth year, teens from all of the factions get to chose to which one they want to belong for the rest of their lives. They can chose to stay in their faction of birth, or they can transfer to any of the others. If they don't chose, or if they don't make it through the initiation process of the chosen factions, they become factionless, people who live on the streets and Abnegation's charity. This is something they all want to avoid at all costs.

Beatrice doesn't quite fit in. She never has. Though she has some of the qualities they look for in Abnegation, she isn't quite as selfless as they require. So she doesn't know what she'll do when we meet her. She hopes the aptitude test will clearly show her what to chose.

She and her brother, Caleb, both take the test and it turns out that she's somewhat of a special case. She's Divergent, which means she has aptitude for more than one of the factions (in her case, three of them; Dauntless, Abnegation and Erudite). In a society where people are forced to conform, this is an extremely dangerous and life threatening thing, so she must hide it.

After some struggling with it, Beatrice chooses Dauntless on Choosing Day and her brother choses Erudite. It's a pretty rare thing that both children switch factions and most parents break all bonds with their children if they do. So this move is a massive blow to Beatrice's dad. It's obvious from the start that she and her mother are close, but Beatrice isn't sure if she'll ever see her mom again when she leaves for Dauntless.

Now, the Dauntless crowd's slightly crazy. They value bravery above all else, to the point of stupidity in my opinion. These folks jump on and off of moving trains, dive into dark and scary holes from rooftops and all kinds of similar things.

So when they reach Dauntless headquarters, they have to jump into said dark hole in a roof, not knowing what they'll find at the bottom. Beatrice decides to jump first. When she falls into the net below, she meets Four, who might well be one of the coolest characters I've ever read, and her love interest.

Right there and then Beatrice drops the 'Bea' and becomes just 'Tris'.

For the sake of not giving away the entire plotline, it's going to get pretty general from this point onwards. :)

She goes through a massive amount of training with the Dauntless (who keep the city safe), which I won't get into here. She makes some friends and enemies, has some setbacks and victories, ans ultimately, remains in Dauntless.

She gets some tattoos and falls in love with Four, who is also originally from Abnegation and Divergent.

They realise that the leader of the Erudite faction, Jeanine Matthews, is up to something when it is too late, and the Dauntless people are drugged and used as an army to wipe out the Abnegation leaders.

After a huge struggle and a lot of events I don't want to spoil, Tris, Four and Caleb, end up with the factionless. (End book one, start of book two.) Here, they realise the factionless have united under a leader and are building an army. Their goals are to destroy the factions and have everyone live in peace together.

Tris isn't sure if she wants this. She doesn't trust the factionless leader, and this fact creates some friction between her and Four. The two of them can't live without each other, but also can't seem to just be honest with each other either. So the lying starts and continues throughout book 2 and 3.

In the second book, Tris struggles with herself a lot, because she was forced to kill a friend in the first book. So she's kind of on a suicide mission from the get go. :) She allows herself to be taken by the Erudite, who want to experiment on Divergent and find out what makes them different. Four is really upset with her and ends up a test subject too.

In a pretty exciting (but kind of predictable) turn of events, Tris and Four manage to escape the Erudite headquarters with some help.

At this point, she learns that the Abnegation were safekeeping information that the Erudite didn't want the other factions to know and that was what motivated the slaughter of her people. She's kind of inclined to believe this, but Four isn't. Aka more strife. :)

Without giving away too much, at the end of this book Jeanine meets her fate and the factionless take over. But, right at the end of the book, they all watch a video together, telling them the answers they seek are outside the fence.

In the final book, Tris and a small group of people set out to find out what's behind the fence. What they find is a government controlled facility, from where they constantly monitor what's going on in Chicago, amongst other places. Think Big Brother.

Here we find out that the government had been tampering with people's genes and this tampering had led to mass bloodshed and warfare. To fix the genetic mutation, they dumped the affected people together in cities and thought it a good idea to constantly watch them on massive screens. :) Their goal was to see if the mutation could be fixed with some good breeding and time, and the result was the Divergent (which means that the mutation is fixable. Yay!)

Outside the fence some people are genetically fixed and some aren't. The fixed ones run the show and the broken ones don't like it. This just shows that no society is a perfect one. The broken ones attack the fixed ones and a lot of things happen, which I really don't want to give away. *see someone with really big and curly hair here, saying in a British accent 'Spoilers!'*

OK. Now that all of that's out of the way, my thoughts :

Divergent hooked me quicker than even I had thought possible. In spite of the first person narration, I could not put the book down by page 15. It's a brilliant read, with believable, relatable characters. The elements of mystery in the world and characters like Four, just adds to the book on so many levels.

The idea of factions appealed to me greatly. The world is thought out so well, that I felt I could walk in its streets on many occasions. Tris is a great character and I enjoyed reading her. All of them really! You hate the villains and love the others, which is always a good thing.

Insurgent was a good book. I didn't enjoy it quite as much as Divergent, but I still liked it a lot.

What put me off somewhat was the sudden disfunction in Tris and Four's relationship. I get that she was dealing with stuff and he was dealing with stuff, but when you're in a relationship, the whole point is dealing with stuff together. They didn't, instead sticking to lying to each other. At the end of the book they promised to stop with the lying, which they did to an extent in Allegiant (if you don't count the withholding of information or bringing it to the table late) and it's obvious that they still don't fully trust one another for a while (into the near end of book 3).

The political bubblings in Insurgent was written really well, leaving the reader uncertain what to expect next. Between the political leaders, you never really know which one is the liar, even though you know one of them is lying through their teeth. You wonder what the heck is going on outside the fence and I couldn't wait to read the last book.

Allegiant was also a good book. It was slightly better than Insurgent in some ways, but I have to admit that I was disappointed by the whole genetic mutation thing. It seemed to me that the whole thing could have been fleshed out more and made more intricate. I still enjoyed it thoroughly, I just wish there had been more to it.

I thought it was good that this world outside the fence was an imperfect one. No world is without flaws and that's reflected in these novels constantly. I would personally be pretty upset if they labeled me as 'genetically damaged', and I thought it was good that the people in the book felt this way too. I would have rebelled too!!

I was glad that Tris and Four had finally sorted out their drama, because goodness knows the book would have sucked otherwise. You'll have to read it to make sense of that one.

All in all, a really cool trilogy and a read I'd recommend! I'd read it again!

Veronica Roth's style is pretty cool. She manages to pull you into her world effortlessly and describes it so well that you can almost feel it. I love it when I have such a visual experience in the books I read. It's always awesome to be able to imagine every aspect of a world, from its people to its streets.

The Divergent movie..? I DID NOT LIKE IT. There was nothing wrong with the actors, effects or visual stuff (like the world, clothing and so on). It's just that it may be one of the very worst adaptations I've ever seen. I mean, they pretty much changed some of the biggest events in the novel to 'hollywoodize' it. I guess that if you cast Kate Winslet, you write in some scenes for her. :P

And that's my thoughts for today. My fingers hurt now! :P Come back tomorrow for a less text-heavy post! We're looking at my favourite Emmy looks for this year.

Stay beautiful and be kind to animals,


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