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Posts Tagged ‘divergent’

Caitlin Irwin – Livesonline

BSc (Hons) Psychology

Divergent Review: I didn’t want to like it, but I did

Friday, January 9th, 2015

I bought this book about a week ago, in the ‘teen fiction’ section and have read it in no more than four days (surprisingly quick, for me). I watched the film first, as I always do, and decided to read it. I enjoyed the film, so I was expecting to love the book, as the books are nearly always better – but in this case, I found the opposite. My reasoning is that the book is distinctively for a younger audience. Sounds obvious as it was in ‘teen fiction’, but unfortunately ‘teen fiction’ is not all that simple. This book seems to me to be for a very specific age of around 14-17 (just, 17). Some themes are far too much for an under 14, and others, far to childish for anyone over 17. This is my problem with teen fiction, I am a huge fan of ‘The Hunger Games’, as I think many people are, reaching into their twenties and beyond. I find this also to be true with ‘Twilight’ (although I hate the twilight series myself – but not because of the same reasons). Yet, these are both also classed as ‘Teen Fiction’, and their audiences span much further. It’s impossible to define what age range a teen fiction book will apply too, as some are directed towards younger teens 12-15, others, older, and others just a massive mix. But anyway, my problems with the teen fiction genre are for another day, I’m here to talk about ‘Divergent’.

divergent

I found this book an extremely easy read, a mixture of both good and bad writing, and as much as I found some of it ridiculous and stupid, it still entertained me. I’m going to start with the negative things. My problems started when I began to find little flaws, things not well explained, which I didn’t seem to notice in the film. Gutted. My first problem came with the character ‘Peter’. He is from Candour, the faction which whole-heartedly believe in the truth, and telling the truth, so much so that you have to take lie detector tests to get through their initiation. It’s clear why Peter chooses to be in the faction of ‘Dauntless’ instead, his cruel nature, and the fact that he lies. The character of Christina, also from Candour, makes reference to this early on. Saying that, he used to start fights with people from other factions, then when people would come, he would say they started it, and because he was Candour people believed him. Sounds logical. Except the fact, I’m sure other people from Candour would find out, and know he was lying. Especially considering it later says that people from Candour are trained early on to tell when people are lying, I mean, they can tell when the main character Tris is lying. So, you would logically have to assume, that people from Candour knew he was lying about the fights. It’s also made a point of that people from Candour struggle to keep their mouth shut, they always say what they are thinking – honestly, too. She knows about the fights, so other Candour people must. Why did nobody from Candour ever say anything to the teachers or whoever stopped the fights about his lying? Especially considering they can’t keep their mouth shut. It just doesn’t make sense to me. Further more, you have to assume his parents know he’s lying – how could he keep his brutal, lying nature from them? Maybe he didn’t. But then, the plot falls apart again. Tris says numerous times that most parents don’t go to visit their kids on ‘visiting day’ if they transferred factions. Yet, on visiting day, nearly every Dauntless transfer’s parent is there? WHAT?! Even more shocking, Peter’s parents. Candour parents. People who believe being truthful is the most important thing, parents that aren’t supposed to like transfers. Considering most parents wouldn’t go an visit their children if they went completely against their faction, and were lying their arse off in candour, why do his come to visit him? It doesn’t really make sense to me. Unless they support their son. But, then they are going against their faction. Why is nobody bothered about this? I just find the whole thing a little unexplained and unbelievable.

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Despite this, I still enjoyed it. Although I found it hard to let go of at times through reading it. I also had many cringe worthy moments when she starts to ‘fancy’ Tobias/Four. This part of it read to me as particularly teen-fiction and childish. To the point I found myself rolling my eyes, for such a strong and brave female character, she falls at the last hurdle – of course, she’s completely infatuated by a boy that she thinks is being totally cruel to her? I mean, he doesn’t turn out to be this way in the end, but thats what she thinks at the beginning. Her opinions of him, and relationships are utterly childish, and I found struggled sometimes with these parts of the book. I would say, well what more can I expect from ‘teen fiction’, I feel that the same childish opinions crop up in ‘Twilight’, but I think they can be avoided. I didn’t feel the same way reading ‘The Hunger Games’, for example. Totally not because I’m a die-hard fan. 

So anyway, why will I be reading the second book? Because despite this, parts of the book are very well written. Fight scenes, tense moments, Tobias’s past comes out just at the right time, and she does it in a clever way, showing Tris through the simulation. It works well, as he strikes me as the kind of character that wouldn’t just say. But the main point is, I want to know what happens. Despite all the faults, some part of me must care about what is happening because I want to read the second book. The first book finishes on a cliff hanger, and with everything up in the air, I just have to know what happens. What will the Erudite do next? Did the Abnegation members get safely to Amity? What’s in store for Dauntless now. My link is less with the characters and more with the story itself. I really didn’t want to like this book, but the truth is, I did enjoy it on some level. Personally, I would rate it at three stars, whether it will get better, or worse – I do not know. But, I will be reading on.

Peace,

Caitlin x

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