the wonderful world of veena.

13 March 2014

book review: divergent [veronica roth].

Well, after months of resisting, I broke down and read Divergent, the first book in a trilogy by Veronica Roth. I initially put it off because I figured it was just another dystopian, teeny-bopper trilogy, and I had been-there-done-that.

But then.

But then I went to see Catching Fire in the cinema, and of course they had a trailer for the upcoming Divergent movie, which releases next week. And obviously it looked amazing, so then I realized I had to read the books. I know, I know, woe is me.

Earlier this year I was wasting time on Amazon, as I do, and I came across the Kindle version of the first book for super cheap, so I bought it on a whim. And then promptly forgot about it as I tried to make progress on a few other books.

And then a few weeks ago I got an email from Amazon asking me how many stars I would give to Divergent, and I suddenly remembered I hadn't read it yet. I was just finishing up Creating Room to Read and wanted a quick time-pass book, so I decided to give it a go.

My reaction was pretty much as expected. Even though I knew parts of it were slightly ridiculous even as I was reading it, I couldn't stop, often staying up late into the night - and early morning - to read "just one more chapter", which usually led into another. And another. And sometimes another.

Obviously I loved it, even as I was aware that I was being sucked in. It was predictable at times, as all these books are, but that didn't stop me from eagerly anticipating whatever was coming next. And the characters did pretty much what I expected them to, but still I got excited or nervous or happy along with them. So I guess that's a mark of good writing and good storytelling on Roth's part.

And it did have some good messages in it. As Four says as he reveals his tattoos on his back [which look super hot on the movie poster, by the way], we should all strive to be selfless and brave and kind and smart and honest at the same time, rather than breaking those virtues up into separate factions. They need each other to survive, and separating them means that none of us are whole. I thought that was quite poignant. And rather spot-on.

Overall I really liked it for what it was, but at the end I thought Roth jumped rather super suddenly to the next storyline. I knew it was coming, but I still felt there could have been a transition chapter in there to not make it feel so abrupt. And I obviously did not like the fate of two of the characters, but I'm guessing those will be explained further. And that's how they hook you in.

Since the movie is releasing in a week - even more excited about it after I saw Shailene Woodley on The Tonight Show yesterday - I'm going to hold off on reading the other books until after I see it. With the Hunger Games books, I've read the books and seen the movies one at a time, so I'm yet to read the third book, but with this series I think I'll read the second and third books in between other books and finish out the trilogy this spring.

Have any of you read the full series? What did you think?

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