Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
The Divergent series by Veronica Roth has recently become a rather popular motion picture event, but the question is, should you read the books?
Individual Rating: Divergent 4.5/5
Let’s start with book one, Divergent. To be honest, I flew through the entire book one and book two, but I staggered off and had a hard time finishing book three. So book one is actually rather interesting. The reader is set up with Beatrice Prior, the protagonist of the novel whose point of view you are presented with. The society is dystopian, an alternate future of the United States. While that is not quite clear until sometime later, to put the world of Divergent into context, the setting is meant to be what was once the great city of Chicago. Now, this society is split into what are called Factions: Dauntless, Abnegation, Candor, Erudite, and Amity. Being the type of reader that I am, I looked up all these words, and low and behold, each faction constitutes people of that particular nature–unless the person is divergent. The leader of Erudite, the scientific and mathematical faction, finds divergence to be a threat to the society that they have built. Book one mostly focuses on Beatrice (Tris) and her fight to become a Dauntless, also focusing on the romantic interest of Four. That is all this book is: becoming Dauntless, finding romance, and then the big whammy at the end: the world Tris and Four knows explodes into the world of nonexistence.
Individual Rating: Insurgent 3.5/5
Book two, Insurgent, I find not quite as interesting as book one. Once again, the entire book is presented in Tris’s point of view. This time, they are hiding from the clutches of Erudite, who are seeking to destroy the divergent’s to keep their society in order….or to maintain power, either one. A war between the remaining factions and the factionless, led by Four’s mother, ensues. There’s not much more to this book, really. Events are bland. Tris eventually gives herself over to Erudite, the Romeo and Juliet cliche is used to fake her death, and then Four saves her. In the end, they leave the city to find out what is out there based on information her mother was hiding from their society, information such as their whole city was an experiment. Okay, that sound’s interesting and all, but when you read it, it’s really bland.
Individual Rating: Allegiant 3/5
Book three, Allegiant, is a giant textbook of genetics and biology, and as predicted, the movie was absolute garbage. It didn’t even end the way the book ended, which was a major disappointment. They tried, they really did, but by the third movie, I didn’t really care about the characters anymore because there was no more character building. The last of that really stopped in the second book.
SPOILERS FOR ALLEGIANT
So basically, the crew finds the facility that is dedicated to fixing the genetics of the United States after a great genetic war. This “Purity War” involved some kind of genetic damage which the nation is now trying to fix. Those who had damaged genes were a threat to society, unable to commingle without using violence. Here we learn that Four is not divergent and viable, like Tris, and is therefore useless in the fixing of the United States because he is genetically damaged. The society tests being done around the nation was to bring divergent people to the forefront, to create a future where genes are once again original and unhampered, making divergent’s extremely important to society. Moving forward, Tris dies a rather cliche death that is likewise predictable. In book three, chapters alternate between Four and Tris, which was not done for the first two books. This indicates the author may not have that protagonist to tell the story later. Horrible give away. Roth should have done alternate points of view throughout the series to avoid that immediate giveaway to critical and analytical readers who will notice that sort of thing right away.
So, should you read it? I would say give Divergent a chance and keep going from there if you wish. Like I said, it took me a long time to get through book three, and I absolutely LOVE genetics and such, so that’s saying something. It’s the exposition of the book that really killed the story. Sometimes the death of a main or even a title character is acceptable and worth the sacrifice (Star Wars: Rogue One is a perfect example), but since I could foresee the death of Tris based off of Four having point of view chapters, it was anticlimactic, predicted, and made me feel like reading the series was a waste of time, even though the future was secured for the United States. Basically, you SHOULD read the first book. It really gets you attached to the characters and gets your head around the magnificently created dystopian society, but, read the second and third only if you wish. I would NOT recommend them.
Individual Rating: Four 3/5
A note on Four: Four is a collection of short stories placed in Four’s point of view in places mostly throughout events in the first book. While his point of view was interesting to an extent, it was all predictable information and didn’t really feel like it added to the story. I would suggest skipping out on this one.