Where do I start?
Sometimes I watch “honest trailer” on YouTube, and the guy who does them, also did Divergent. He said that this was written by someone who read The Hunger Games and thought to herself “Hey, I can change that a bit and make tones of money.”
Well, pretty much.
Though I would probably say the author thought to herself “I could mix Harry Potter and The Hunger Games and make tons of money.”
Basically, I don’t care if a book/movie is similar to another one, because usually they have something different to offer. With Divergent, I wouldn’t be so sure. I felt like it was trying too hard. But that’s the least of the problems here.
Okay, so let’s get to the chase. You probably know it already, but I guess it should be done, anyway.
So, the novel takes place in Chicago, where society was divided into 5 factions, all named after a sophisticated word I’ve never heard of. So, if I want to look on the bright side – I learnt a few new words. Hurray for me.
So, the factions are:
- Amity (the kind ones) – they are the nice ones, who love peace and hate any sort of war, and take a lot of “peace serum” (sort of like …. pot?). They work as farmers or artists. They’re basically hippies. Hence, they’re my favourite.
- Erudite – (The smart ones) – they are the inventors, scientists. Also, they’re the evil ones, apparently. Because… knowledge makes people cranky.
- Okay, there’s really no reason.
- Abdegnation – (the Altruists) – they are the ones who sacrifice themselves to others. They don’t celebrate birthdays, don’t wear make-up or pretty clothes, and they generally have dull lives. And they rule the government. Somehow. Still, they’re not the bad guys.
- Candor – (the truthful ones; okay, I may be the worst liar in the world, but even I don’t ALWAYS tell the truth, cause, well, I enjoy being alive) – they have no secrets, and they can tell when someone’s lying. And they’re lawyers. Because generally lawyers have always been known for being truthful.
- Dauntless – (the brave ones) – they work in sort of “police”, or army, as you may, and they jump on and off moving trains. And they’re stupid and reckless. And cruel. And I hate them.
If you don’t fit into any faction, you’re factionless, which means you have to do manual work (like be a bus driver) for food and clothes, no money. Being factionless means “fate worse than death.”
Basically, the book is a dick to manual workers.
I mean we all need the manual workers. Someone has to drive our buses, make our pizzas, and fix our plumbing. Why would any society make these jobs “fate worse than death”? I mean yes, they are looked down upon by higher classes, but the villains in this book want to get rid of them completely. And the villains are supposed to be the smart ones. I mean, COME ON.
Oh, and there are Divergents, which means you have more than one of the 5 personality traits.
Because… that’s just fucking unheard of!
Anyway, we have a protagonist, Beatrice, later called Tris, who was born in Abdegnation, but wants to be Dauntless. When she turns 16, she takes the test like everybody else her age. The test will tell you who you are. But… the test doesn’t really matter, cause you choose whatever you want.
The point of taking the test, then?
I’m not sure, maybe it was tracking down Divergents? Which our Tris of course is. Which means she possesses more than one of the above mentioned features of character, which means now she’s in grave danger for it.
She chooses Dauntless, and begins the training. The training is ridiculous, IMHO; it involves jumping off a moving train – because that’s SO COOL, and jumping off a roof, because that’s EVEN COOLER. And if someone dies in the process? Well, that just meant he wasn’t cool… oops, I mean, brave enough.
I was eye-rolling a lot during reading this.
So, to cut this short(ish) – the first book consists of a lot of training – too much, IMHO, and Tris’ first love. The protagonist is totally unrealistic, cause from being an underdog (but of course!) she transfers to being basically the best at practically everything, so everyone envies her. To the point of trying to kill her. And does anybody report this? No, why would they? Somebody just tried to kill me. Oh well, that’s okay.
The “real” story starts to evolve at the end of the first book, where we learn more about this world. It still doesn’t make much sense, though. I was sort of hoping it would be more understandable in the third book, but no. The explanation for all this was just too random and senseless for my taste.
Maybe at this point I should stop talking about what was wrong with this series (and I could find a lot; like why the power was given to just one party – any party?; or what Candor does?; they can’t all be lawyers, no city needs so many of them; and why exactly are Dauntless so reckless and why nobody checks what they’re doing underground, and why exactly do they live underground?). At this point, though, I think I should answer the question of why I never stopped reading this. I mean, I’m not a person who wastes time on book she doesn’t enjoy, as I already pointed out. So I must have found something enjoyable.
And I did. Firstly, there is a lot of action here – great fighting scenes, and something is going on all the time. Though I didn’t think it made sense, it was actually pretty interesting. Somehow, I wanted to know what was gonna happen next. Secondly, there were some characters I liked. Not The Perfect Tris or her Even More Perfect Boyfriend With a Terrible Name ‘Four’, but the background characters, like Al, or Caleb, or Christina. Characters that were more human. Another good thing I might say – there is a love thread, but no love triangle. Surely, I didn’t fell connected to those two at all, but I’m done with love triangles, so this was refreshing.
What would I say if someone asked me if I recommend it (except for – “Read The Hunger Games instead)? If you’re not overthinking this, it may actually be fun to read. The key to enjoying this book is: being tolerant to some occasional bad writing (not that bad as in 50 Shades of Grey, of course, cause then I wouldn’t have finished it); being tolerant to a premise that doesn’t make any sense; and having low expectations.