Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Divergent's a little...Hungry?

Welcome back after the Snow-vasion! You might have noticed that we had no post last week. This has nothing to do with a lack of free time to create said post and everything to do with the utter lethargy that comes from having an entire city shut down around you, coated in snow and ice. Especially when it's the one or two snow days every three years you get to take advantage of.

But now, it's book review time. No, I'm not going to be reviewing that favorite, Snowpocalypse 2014: Scenes from Inside Your Car. Neither am I going to be discussing the tried and true Gotta Get the Bread and Milk.


My sister in law got me "Divergent" by Veronica Roth for Christmas. We had been discussing it earlier, especially in light of the movie that is coming out. I had heard of the books also from my cousin, but upon seeing the trailer for the movie, wasn't impressed. It looked like every other angxty teen romance with the mousy little girl and the tattooed bad boy. But I was encouraged that, while a little odd, it was a good book.

We'll not speculate much about the movie. But I have my negative suspicions.

I started "Divergent" with an open mind, but the first thirty or so pages were about what I had expected. A book following the wildly successful "Hunger Games" trilogy and trying so very hard to be a teen romance version of the same story. A dystopian society that divided in order to have peace, resulting in various 'factions' (instead of districts) where everyone belongs and has a certain characteristic: bravery, peace, love, service, knowledge, truth. And then there's this one loner girl who doesn't quite fit in who is forced to make a decision that radically changes her life, by swapping factions...sound familiar? She's also a 'Divergent', which means she fits into more than one faction and is considered dangerous. Why? By whom? Who knows. But apparently they'll kill her if they find out. Oop.

So the beginning was awkward and a bit cliche, especially the Dauntless faction, who are the brave, the courageous. Because apparently to belong to the brave faction you have to get tattooed and pierced and wear black and be an adrenaline junkie. Hmm.

Needless to say I wasn't really feeling the burn to finish the book. But the Snowpocalypse did do one thing for me-- it gave me a chance to read. So I spent one night burning the midnight oil reading "Divergent"...and then the early morning oil...and then I read about 3/4 of the book in the space of one night. Finished it clean off.

It got really good. The book, despite its small weaknesses, pulled me in and I couldn't put it down for an instant. I really wanted to know what happened, and so I finished the entire novel off in almost one go.

The characters grow stronger. Where they maybe start off one-dimensional and middle-schooler-ish, they flow into their allotted spaces and expand. The tension and difficulty of Dauntless initiation, of joining a new faction, is intense. Many do not even survive. And the relationship between the 'mousy girl' and the 'tattooed bad boy' is not at all what one would think. It has actual...*gasp*...depth! The characters have brains and know how to use them. Instead of being a little girl with a small-dog complex, Tris, the main character, actually listens to advice on how to protect herself, even if it means acting weak and small. Four, the love interest, isn't always brooding and dark. He opens up and acts, you know, human, and he does this more often than not. His brooding behavior is actually a symptom of shyness and introversion.

Luckily, my sister in law got me the second one for Christmas as well. I'm only missing the third. It's not going to take me long to need it.

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