Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Bon's Book Club: DIVERGENT


Welcome to March's book club, babes!


 (If you link up I'd love you to slap this image on your post somewhere.  Please and thank you!)

2014 Book Club Schedule:

January: The Husband's Secret by Liane Mortiary (January 30)  Discussion here.
February:  I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai (February 27) Discussion here.
March: Divergent by Veronica Roth (March 27)
April:  Night Circus by Eric Morgenstern (April 24)
May:  The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman (May 29)
June:  Matilda by Roald Dahl (June 26)
July:  In Cold Blood  by Truman Capote (July 24)
August:  Brain on Fire:  My Month of Madness by Susannah Cahalan (August 28)
September:  Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (September 25)
October:  Z by Therese Ann Fowler (October 23)
November:  Wonder by R.J. Palacio (November 20)
December: My Story by Elizabeth Smart (December 30)




BOOK CLUB QUESTIONS
You are welcome to answer any or all of these questions.  Or none of them.  Do whatever you want, people.  I'm not your English teacher.  I answer some of them, not all of them, and I jump around and do whatever I please.  Feel free to follow suit.

+ Who is your favorite character in the novel and why?
+ Did you like Tris as the main character?  Why or why not?  Do you see her as a strong female lead?
+ What did you think of the ending of the book?  Was it satisfactory to you?
+ Did you like the writing style?  Why or why not?
+ What was the most surprising or shocking thing in the book for you?
+ How do you feel about Tris and Four's relationship?  Could you tell that Four liked her before Tris figured it out?
+ Anything else you want to say, add, admit, confess?  Now's your time to shine!


First off I would like to open with a big, fat whopping disclaimer.  I know a lot of you really like this book.  And I really wanted to really like this book.  I found the author's blog, and she is awesome.  Her writing is witty and hilarious and she's so down to Earth.  (She even tells how she got lined up with an agent, a how she signed a book deal, etc.  Fascinating!)

And so, I really wanted to like her book. I tried to like it. I hated the first half and then I started to like it (mostly the make out scenes) and I thought, sheesh, I'm going to end up liking this book!  Then my homegirl (can I call you homegirl, Veronica?) went and totally massacred the ending and now I don't like the book at all.  I will not be reading the second or third book, but I am interested enough to look it up on wikipedia to see how it ends, so I suppose there is mild interest there?  Also, I will be seeing the movie the weekend, so I guess somewhere in me I liked something about it?

My other disclaimer is that I listened to the first half of the book on tape and whoever they found to read the book for their tapes is THE WORST.  She had the most dramatic over the top voice.  I couldn't handle it.

BEING "DIVERGENT"
The main reason I didn't like this book is that I felt it was flawed in its very premise.  The whole idea of the book is that everyone can fit into one of five categories based on their interests.  But then Beatrice goes to take the test to sort her (also it was too much like The Giver, Matched and Harry Potter with the whole sorting process) and OH MY GOSH SHE HAS MORE THAN ONE INTEREST/ ABILITY.  Now she's this huge anomaly in society and she's do dangerous because she doesn't clearly fit in to one of five very precise boxes.  This whole foundation of the book is flawed.  It would not be that unusual at all to be "divergent".  It would be very common in fact.  Human beings are complex, we are multi faceted, and on any given day with any given person there are tons of elements at play.  To pretend like Beatrice was unique or special because she was divergent just wasn't a strong enough reason to me to make her complex or unusual.  Now, if she could talk to snakes, that'd be something special... (Yes, I love Harry Potter.)

THE IDEA OF CHOOSING FACTIONS
The whole system of the factions seemed extremely flawed to me.  When they are choosing their factions everyone makes it seem like it's this big, happy deal but basically if you leave the faction of your parents you are disowned.  So if you are naturally different in your interests from your parents, then you will be shunned from society?  Even for a flawed society like Roth was trying to create, that didn't make much sense.  There's one part in the book where Tris goes to visit her brother and she says "I'm not allowed to love him anymore."  What?!  Now that's a faction rule?  You can't love your brother if he has different talents and abilities than you?  The idea of  "factionless" didn't make much sense, either.  So if you make a mistake at 16 when choosing your faction, then you have no specialty and have to be a bum for the rest of your life- "Factionless."  I didn't feel like Roth thought out the dystopia enough- it just felt haphazardly strewn together to me and like she was making up rules as she went.

DAUNTLESS
I could not handle Tris' initiation into dauntless.  To start with, how stupid can a group be?  All they do is jump from trains and hang from chasms.  I didn't feel like that was brave at all.  I though it was moronic.  If a 16 year old student told me he had to jump from a train to get into a group I would tell him that he is an idiot.

The other thing that drove me crazy about the initiation was ALL THE SIMULATIONS.  Oh my gosh so many!  End the simulation madness!  Half of the book I spent in some lame simulation in some lame scenario that wasn't even real.  I think she could have gone way way less on this.  Also, as far as the simulations go, I didn't feel like there were clear rules established.  I don't like plot holes, and I felt like there were a lot holes here.  Tris mentions several times that she feels pain, but they are simulations.  Aren't they supposed to be fake?  And if the pain is real then the simulation isn't really fake there now, is it?  Pain is a very real fear so fake simulations with real pain= real simulations.

WRITING STYLE
I know I'm a total book snob, and I'm sorry, but sheesh.  The writing in popular books these days is getting worse and worse.  I didn't expect no F. Scott Fitzgerald when I cracked the book, but at least pretend like you are trying with your writing.  This book feels like it was written at a third or fourth grade reading level.  The sentences were SO short and they always followed the same pattern.  The paragraphs were short, too- there was little development throughout.  In a way I was almost insulted that she didn't work harder with her writing.  I know she can write with a lot more voice and skill than this book because her blog entries are terrific.  I read on wikipedia that she wrote Divergent over her winter break from college so maybe she was just way rushed?  I don't know, but the writing sucked.

EXAMPLE:  p. 442: "I feel like someone breathed new air into my lungs.  I am not abnegation.  I am not dauntless. I am divergent.  And I can't be controlled."  SO much of the writing is like that- short, choppy sentences that follow the same pattern.  Drove me CRAZY.  Also Tris is always having some big revelation that she is... DAUNTLESS.  Or she is... DIVERGENT.  It got pretty old pretty quick.

Lastly, does anyone know why authors seem to be writing in present tense more often?  Hunger Games was written in present tense as is Divergent and it drives me crazy!  I just never feel like a book can reach the beauty or depth or complexity in present tense that it can in past tense.  To me it is a lazy way to write and I see it as a trend in popular writing today.  Is it easier for people to read?

PREDICTABILITY AND (NOT) TRUSTING THE AUDIENCE
I guess when it comes down to it, I was a little bit insulted when I was reading this book because Roth was SO obvious with where things were going.  The second Four was introduced I knew it was Marcus' son and that he and Tris would end up together.  It was just too obvious the way she laid everything out.  When Tris' mom came to visit it was so apparent that mom had been dauntless before, but then it's supposed to be this huge reveal at the end of the chapter, "My mom was... DAUNTLESS."  Yah, duh.  Figured that out forever ago, sweet cheeks.  I just felt like Roth didn't trust me enough as a reader to draw my own conclusions, she had to tell me for me.  She spelled out everything to me.  There were no subtleties.  I just needed to feel like she trusted me as a reader to understand what was happening and where she was taking me, and I didn't feel that at all.  I felt spoon fed. The whole time.

EXAMPLE:  P. 330- She mentions several times before the chapter starts and in the beginning of the chapter that she wonders why Four is nicknamed Four. THEN Four says she is going to find out why he is named Four.  THEN, after they end his simulation she says, "Those were your worst fears?  Why do you only have four..." My voice trails off.  Only four fears...  "Oh."  I look over my shoulder at him. "That's why they call you--"

Yes, Veronica, we got it.  Next time make it more obvious, I about dang near missed it there!

THE PART(S) I LIKED

For me, the strongest part of the book was the middle, which was interesting because this is usually where I lose interest.  I loved her developing relationship with Four and I thought their romance was pretty sweet.  Also I just love kissing scenes, so that was awesome.  (Greg says I'm a perv.  I say books just need more kissing.)  I liked Al's suicide- I thought that was unexpected and really helped to show how far dauntless are willing to go.  I liked some of the initiation.  I liked when she escaped and saw her brother.

I also really enjoyed thinking about the different factions and their possible flaws.  I guess, anything, even when it is something very good, can turn bad if it is not done in moderation.  It was interesting to think how such great qualities as intelligence, bravery, kindness, even selflessness can be a bad thing if used to their excess.

With about 100 pages left in the book there was some hope for me and I thought, by golly, I might just like this book yet!

AND THEN IT ALL GOT RUINED FOR ME.

What the crap was with that ending?!?  Someone answer me now!  Probably the worst ending of any book I have ever read.  So let me get this straight... you are going to make me read 400 pages of initiation into dauntless just to turn every person in dauntless into a mindless robot?  WHY DID THEY JUST GO THROUGH THAT INITIATION?  WHAT WAS THE POINT OF IT?  Nothing!  Because Erudite had the serum to brainwash everyone!  MWAHAHAHAHA.  So why didn't they just do that on pg. 25 and I could have saved myself 400 pages of reading?!  I felt like I just got totally hoodwinked, being forced to read about the development of these people and their faction and then in the end everyone's a zombie conducting a senseless genocide on abnegation!  Oh, it was the worst.  The absolute worst.

And why were they killing abnegation?  I never felt like that was really answered.  They just wanted to kill all the faction because they thought they had too much power?  There was no build up whatsoever to the genocide.  I feel like if you're going to have some big crazy fight, then at least lead up to it, build suspense, tension, fear.  All of a sudden everyone's killing everyone.  The end.

Also, all the fighting was with these mindless dauntless robots.  It wasn't even real fighting.  So lame.  Give me a person who can think, feel, react, not Tris going ape on zombies.

Perhaps the part that bothered me most was the senseless killing of Tris' parents.  It kind of felt like, "Oh, I haven't made this book sad enough... quick, kill mom!  Now kill dad!"  Ta dah! End of book!  The parents didn't have a big enough of a role in the book for their death to mean much anyway, it more felt like it was supposed to mean something.  Now, if mom and dad had been in the book at all it might have meant something, but they were such underdeveloped characters that their slaughter was meaningless and pointless.  It did not have the effect at all that it should have had on readers.

Alright, I know I was a bit harsh, and if you liked Divergent I'm sorry if I just insulted everything about the things you know and love.  Please tell me why you loved it.  Like I said, I wanted to like it.  And I do like Veronica Roth. A lot. I want to be friends with her!  I just couldn't do Divergent.  Forgive me.

If you wrote your own post, link up you fools! If you don't want to write a whole post, leave a comment in the sections.  I will be responding to ALL THE COMMENTS because this is my favorite post of the month!





78 comments:

  1. I laughed so hard while reading this post because everything you said is true! I totally understand why you didn't like it. I loved it though, and I think it's because I read differently. I'm not sure if that makes sense, but when I read I jump into the world of the book and just except it instead of analyzing. I'll finish my post tomorrow and link up, and maybe my post will better explain what I'm trying to say :)

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    1. My husband's the same way- he says he can just totally be entertained and not have to analyze and worry about holes or writing style or anything like that. In a sense he turns off a certain part of a brain and turns on another than allows him to just totally enjoy the book. Wish I had that skill!

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    2. Ya it makes reading fun, but it's probably why I didn't do too well in my English classes when it came to analyzing books.

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  2. THANK YOU. I actually didn't finish the book, but I did Wiki how the series ended. Tris drove me absolutely nuts and Four reminded me of Edward Cullen from Twilight. I HATED Edward's character right from the first Twilight book. So, since I hated the main characters, there wasn't much hope for me. I'd like to see the movie, mostly because Kate Winslet is in it, but I'm hoping that I like it enough to make me want to revisit the book.

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    1. AMEN on Twilight characters. I don't know how authors makes us love their characters, but I definitely didn't love Tris or Four very much. Some readers here have commented that the movie was better than the book so I suppose there is that hope although the movie didn't get that great of reviews from critics...

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  3. I didn't like the book either for the reasons you mentioned. However, I did read the second and third just did something to read and she does address some of your complaints (not well by any means...) the nice thing is that the movie is awesome, and it changed parts of the book for the better... Like things that didn't make sense in the book, the movie comes up with reasons for. I would see the movie again in a heartbeat.

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    1. This makes me excited to see the movie!

      And I have heard that she kind of tries to resolve questions in the second or third book, but to me you have to cover your holes at least enough to make readers willing to go to a second or third book. For me, at least, I'll never see the explanation because she didn't lead me on enough in the first book.

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  4. What a breath of fresh air! I'm getting so sick of the new dystopia fad. Publishers are putting trashy novels through just because they fit the trend. Honestly, whatever happened to quality literature?

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    1. Agreed! I don't think I can do another dystopian novel for at least a year or two. My sister, though, who works a bit with publishers and agents said that they won't even read a dystopian novel now. I guess it is past its prime. On to something new. It definitely goes in fads- vampires, dystopias, what's next?

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  5. She leads up as to why being divergent is so taboo and uncommon in the 3rd book, because everyone is an experiment and all the faction people are genetically unpure and damaged, so tris being divergent she has pure genes, stupid. I know.
    Also with not being able to love her brother anymore is because "fraction before blood" is a common practice because you should devote your life to your faction, the 2nd book gets more into detail with that when Tris's brother helps with her death because he is Erudite and is loyal to Jeanine.

    The 3 book is not worth reading I can't even tell you what has happened and I am still reading it. Roth decided to switch from Tris's point of view to Tobias's point of view FROM CHAPTER TO CHAPTER. So not consistent with the 1st 2 books. Just another corrupt government to fight against and try to be free but they never are because their genes are "damaged". She kills everyone in the books and it pisses me off.

    I just don't like the 3rd book yet I am still reading it because I just need something to occupy me during work & I just need to see how she wraps up this poorly done book.

    Ps the movie is pretty good, I enjoyed it. Better ending than the book, I think.

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    1. My comment is poorly written, I didn't proof read. Oops... But you get my point, didn't enjoy the books.

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    2. I would hope the ending in the movie is better because the ending in the book was so bad, no one would want to watch that!

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    3. Interesting what you say about genetically damaged and how they would be naturally inclined to choose one faction over another. See, that's all I needed right there. A little explanation in the first book so that I understood WHY Tris was special. But then it also kind of books me because now they're basically saying Tris is special because of her genes, not because she is actually an awesome person who works hard and is brave and all that stuff. She just happened to get pure genes? I feel like Roth saw there were some holes after the first book came out and tried to cover them up in the second and third, but didn't really think through it very well when that first book was published.

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  6. I liked Divergent for the entertainment factor...I'm a total sucker for dystopian novels. However the writing was seriously SO awful, and the 2nd and 3rd books just get worse in my opinion. I read all 3 books relatively quickly but felt no real attatchment to the characters, even Tris. I like to feel an emotional attatchment to the characters of a book and Tris, Four and the gang just didn't do it for me. Give me Harry and Ron and Hermione, give me Katniss and Peeta, give me anyone other than Tris.

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    1. Interesting that you said that even after three books you didn't feel an emotional attachment to Tris. I wonder why and what makes us attach to some characters so much more than others. Must study this further....

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  7. So so pleased I wasn't the only one who struggled with this book. Its interesting that you mentioned Veronica's blogs as I totally agree that they are so much better written than this book. Have added my link in the link up box - lets just hope next months book fares better!

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    1. Right? Her blog is killer! There is so much voice and fun in her writing and I don't know what happened with her book, but that didn't translate at all over to Divergent. Such a bummer. Can't wait to read your post!

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  8. Wow I didn't really think about half these things as hard as you did! As for the whole everyone fits into a faction thing, you kind of have to read the rest of the series to understand why society is like that. Really most dystopian books don't make sense because society always moves backwards in them instead of forwards and does things that actually make life more difficult.

    I did like the book, but I kind of agree with the one comment I see here that I didn't really feel the same connection to the characters in Divergent that I do to characters in other books.

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    1. That's the problem. I try to not think about those things are hard, I just can't enjoy the book because those things get in the way! I get that most dystopian books don't make sense but they at least have to make sense in their not making sense. Make sense? (WOW!) Like hunger Games at least makes sense why they have the hunger games, why there are different districts, etc. She at least has her world explained while I don't feel like Roth did that.

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  9. I actually didn't "read" the book, rather I listened to it on my Iphone while running. Honestly, it made her choppy and somewhat simple writing style a LOT easier to bare. What would have bothered me immensely, if I was actually READING the book, actually helped keep my attention while running 10 miles. (Since if sentences are longer/more complex I tend to daze a little while running). I agree with a lot of what you said. I also wondered why it would be so darn common for everyone to fit into distinct factions, but then I thought, maybe it was just a natural evolution of humans. If continuous generations lived in separate factions, learning ONLY one way of thinking and living, I could entertain the idea of how our minds could become so segregated into what we believed to be the "right" way to live and think. It's a weird thought, but if you REALLY think about how susceptible humans are to outside influences, it isn't really impossible to see how this could happen (in a fictional future of course. haha)
    Besides that, I honestly found Tris and Four's relationship to be a bit dry. Besides the few random make outs there did not seem to be any real passion or connection between the two! I'm now listening to book two while running and it's quickly losing my interest. I just feel somewhat committed now to see if through to the end!

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    1. See that's so interesting that you enjoyed it on tape because it wasn't until after I stopped listening to it and started reading it that I enjoyed it more. I really struggled listening to it... but I also have listening problems. I'm much more of a visual learner. I love your idea about it being a natural evolution of humans after having learned only one thing, and I think if that is what Roth was going for then she should have explained that more. But then that doesn't really explain how your brain would test into a different category and how you would be looked down upon and disowned if your brain did do that. I guess it just seems pretty out of someone's control to receive so harsh a punishment as not seeing your family anymore. Those are really two separate issues, though.

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  10. I had high hopes for the book(s) (since I ended up reading the whole series), but I agree with you that the author just had a weak foundation to begin with and it just crumpled as she tried to add to it. It's a shame, because it kiiiind of had potential. I'm seeing the movie this weekend, and I am so curious how they will make the other movies as the story falls apart. Not to mention the ending which definitely doesn't fit into Hollywood's happy perfect ending that everyone wants.

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    1. To me the ending didn't bother me because it wasn't happy or wasn't what I wanted, it bothered me because it was totally out of the blue, random, and basically had nothing to do with the first 400 pages of the book.

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  11. I've been trying to read this book since like November and still haven't finished. I agree that it's just not well written enough for me to be interested. I do want to see the movie tho and see if it's any better!

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    1. Wow, since November! I think it's time to call it a day!

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  12. I felt like the death of Tris' parents was a bit much too...I was honestly really bummed about Tris' mom dying right after Tris realizes who she is (which I agree with you on the whole "I must spell this out for you in case you don't get it" that Roth does in the story). It would have been a interesting story arc for her mom to survive and maybe delve into her past a bit and then help Tris with her current situation.

    I did really enjoy the book, as for the writing style, ANYTHING is better than Stephanie Meyers writing style in Twilight (sorry if you like that!)...

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    1. Totally agree with you on both accounts. Twilight writing is absolutely horrible. I love your point about the potential in Tris' and her mom's relationship. I would have loved to see Roth develop that more and THEN if she wanted to kill off the mom it would have actually meant something and been a meaningful and sad death, not just some pointless and random death.

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  13. I liked the book, but after reading your thoughts I totally get why you feel the way that you do!

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    1. Now I feel bad like I dashed everything you know and love!

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  14. LOL OMG YES.

    I like the series, yes. I love Tris and Four, I think they're super cute. I also like some of the idea of the premise and all. But honestly- I can't argue on ANY of your points here. They explain a bit about the whole faction thing and everyone being sorted into them in the third book, but it's a pretty weak explanation. And the ending of the trilogy is THE ACTUAL WORST. It honestly almost made me not want to see the movie because I was so angry. So as to not reveal spoilers here, feel free to email me and I can tell you why I think it's so awful.

    However, I can't wait for The Night Circus next month. It's one of my all time favorite books ever. I'm listening to it on audio right now - but don't do that your first time because it would be SUPER confusing! I might then re-read it in an actual book if I have time... lol.

    But for serious, email me about this series so I can completely vent about the ending of the trilogy.

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    1. Yes! I want an email explaining why you hated the end of the series. I will be interested to see how she ended the whole thing. And I agree, the premise of the story had potential, but then it got ruined. Also, I didn't mention in my post but i felt like it was just a rehashing of others' ideas. The sorting, the love story, the corrupt government, all borrowed from different books and thrown together. There was really nothing new or original brought to the table.

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  15. THANK YOU, this book was terrible. So glad you wrote this, lol.

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    1. Ha! I do what I can. :)

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  16. I read it and, like you, will not be reading the next two. I had to force myself through it and kept calling it "a poor man's Hunger Games." Come back to us, JK Rowling.

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    1. Yes, please! We need you JK Rowling!

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  17. I also kept thinking about other books I have read during this. I, however, loved it. :) check out the link for more of my opinion.

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    1. I can't wait to read it! I'm so glad that some of you who liked the book are speaking up in defense of it!

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  18. I am very easily entertained and not analytical at all when it comes to what i am reading, so i loved the first two-I HATED the third (you know why) and also felt like it was so unnecessary-it was like the first two books were for nothing. I am hoping they change that it in the third movie. The movie was really good-not enough make out scenes for me though!! Theo James (who plays 4) is just so so attractive!! Great post, I love reading these!

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    1. "Not enough make out scenes"- a girl after my own heart!

      Your point where the third book made the first books unnecessary is exactly how I felt about the first book. Why did I read so much about becoming dauntless if she wasn't going to be dauntless? Hundreds of pages about initiation FOR NOTHING!

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  19. I read this book and couldn't quite verbalize why I didn't like it. You did it, beautifully, though. Everything you listed above bugged me to no end.

    I'm surprised I don't have permanently sprained eyes from rolling them at the poor writing and even worse story. I just could not like the characters or relate to them in any way; I find that I just did not care what happened to them. Oh, and I could have told you the 'big twist' about their city within the first few chapters. So predictable there. I found myself thinking 'what is the point of all this' so many times. And don't even get me started on the end of the book. Just no.

    I did go on to read the second book, in the hopes some of my questions would be answered. Sadly, that was not the case. I can't bring myself to read the third, because I already read the plot and spoilers.

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    1. I read the plot and summaries for the second and third book, too. I wanted to know what happened, but like you, couldn't bring myself to suffer through the writing. Sounds like I don't miss out on much. Mostly it feels like to me she started writing not really knowing where the story was going to go and then, voila, look where she ended up! I definitely don't feel like she had a good idea the whole time of where it was going.

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  20. Also for anyone who will continue to read or has read, there is a reason for the last book to bd told from two points if view. The book would end with no conclusion if it didn't. If you've read it you'll understand. I haven't yet read it but I've heard the ending and that must be the reason. The story must continue. ?

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    1. I read the spoilers for the third book so I know how it ends. My opinion is if something in the story is going to require you to have more than one point of view than you should be doing that for the whole series. That's why I say that it feels like she was just kind of winging it... figuring it out as she went. It you want two POVs then fine, but do it the whole time, not just for one book.

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  21. I'm so glad you mentioned that about the voice of the woman who reads this on tape! I listened to it in my car also and her voice really bugged me. It was like too raspy and sometimes I had to listen to it really loud to understand her. It was strange. I liked the book and got halfway through Insurgent before kind of losing interest. The movie does not do a good job of developing the relationships between characters which was disappointing but it was still entertaining.

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    1. Oh my gosh, the worst right? I'm impressed you at least delved into Insurgent. I spent five minutes reading the summaries online and I feel totally satisfied now. I'm a cheater :)

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  23. I thought I liked this book, but now I'm doubting my own judgments. ;) I read it more than a year ago, and some of the details are fuzzy. While it is nothing compared to Harry Potter or even The Hunger Games, it isn't the worst dystopian I've read (don't get me started on the Birthmarked trilogy!). I want to see the movie, but I don't like Shailene Woodley as an actress so I'm a little hesitant.

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    1. I feel bad- like these comments have just turned into a bashing session. I think it's great that you liked it! I definitely don't think it was the worst dystopian I've read either- I guess my expectations were too high given all the hype around the books and movies.

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  24. I'll warn you - the movie is drastically different than the book. But, in my opinion, not in a good way! If you think the genocide popped up out of no where in the book than it REALLY popped up out of nowhere in the movie!

    I thought the book wasn't good but still entertaining - kind of like trashy TV (Bachelor, anyone?). But this post that talked about Tris' lack of beauty and focus on bravery made me think there was something deeper about the book that I missed on first glance. I'm curious to here what you have to say about it! https://bellejar.ca/2014/03/23/you-dont-have-to-be-pretty-on-ya-fiction-and-beauty-as-a-priority/

    I joined the link up and am looking forward to next month's book! :)

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    1. Loved that. Thank you.

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    2. Glad you liked it Casie! xo

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    3. Oh, man. I'm excited to see the movie this weekend and let you know what I thought of. Yes, I can hear you on the trashy but still good factor- some stuff you just want to be entertained by and not have to think. I couldn't do it with this book, though. That article won't pull up on my computer so I'll have to read it from home, but I would love to see it. I do love the idea of our heroines not having to be beautiful- although it was sort of nullified by the movie when they cast a pretty actress to play Tris.

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  25. I'm going to be the sore thumb...I really liked the series. Now I didn't like that it was in first person and I think if you didn't like the first book, then Tris's emotions in the two final books might be too much for you to handle. As I wrote on my blog though, I thought it was a nice change of pace that not everything is happily ever after. In HP barely any of the name characters died. Same with Twilight and Hunger Games. So for me, it was nice to see an author take a risk.

    I also listened to the audio book. I can see what you mean about it being a little dramatic. At the same time though it is a present tense novel, told through the eyes of a 16 year old, and so I thought she nailed the voice of the character.

    -Jackie
    http://ournashvillelife.blogspot.com

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    1. You're not being a sore thumb! I'm glad you liked the series. Very interesting point about not following the happily ever after pattern, and I agree I like it when author's take risks with their characters. At the same time, though, I feel like there is this mentality that there has to be death or someone close to the character has to die to make the book good or more poignant or something. In reality, not that many teenagers have immediate friends and family close to them who die so it seems weird that we feel like for the story to be "real" someone has to die. And if you are going to kill off main characters then I feel like the death should have a purpose or be meaningful in some way. Her parents' death just seemed so random and pointless.

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  26. I told myself that I wasn't going to read your post and your opinion on the book until I wrote my own post. I'm glad I did that because my opinion is completely opposite of yours. After I posted my post, I came to your blog. I LOVED reading the differing opinion that you have. You are such a great book critic - you find interesting points of a book that I'd never think to look for. And I agreed with so many of the things you said. However, I'm a huge fan ;)

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    1. Good! I'm glad you didn't read mine first then! I'm excited to look at your post and see why you loved it. And yes, I am way too much of a book critic. In another life I would have been a book agent/ publisher. But then, maybe I'd still be too critical :)

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  27. I liked Divergent but that's because I really like YA Dystopian fiction (no matter how done it is) and when I go into it not expecting much. I do think my favorite part is just Tris + Four falling in love but I also think he's better than her. To whoever said in one of the comments that Four reminded her of Edward Cullen -- definitely did NOT get that at all ... and I hate Edward Cullen. There are a lot of plot holes and even when you keep reading the books it's too much. I HATE YA Dystopian fiction because it always falls into the trap of having these characters be so one-dimensional and all good or all bad.

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    1. YES to the plot holes YES to one dimensional characters.

      I can't comment much on the Edward Cullen. I read the first Twilight seven years ago and never read more than that one book. I did see the movies, but I fell asleep a lot in them so I don't feel like I can accurately pass judgment on Edward's character. I do like Four as a character, though, and felt like he had a lot of potential for the next two books, if not some weird character inconsistencies.

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  28. I'm laughing because I had all the same reactions to the book that you did. I did like it, but I didn't love it and ended up reading the next two books. SPOILER ALERT: I hated them. What the heck. I felt like nothing ever got explained and the entire second book Tris was so freaking distraught over having killed Will and wouldn't shut up about it. I just wanted to be like CONFESS AND STOP ALREADY.

    Glad to know I wasn't the only one!

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    1. More than anything this comment just confirmed my decision to not read the second and third book, so THANK YOU.

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  29. This was so interesting to read! Okay, so I loved the Diveregent series (well, not the last one…) and felt I connected with the characters. The writing style I believe is geared to a YA audience, so I wasn't really expecting something amazing and could look beyond it for the story itself. A lot of your questions about divergence and the factions are answered in the last two books, but not really well. I'm like you, I loved Tris and Four and their relationship the best (romance!), and thought the sweetness of that overpowered some of the bad for me. I do refuse to believe the ending of the third book, though, and will pretend that it never happened. All in all I really like the experience of reading the book rather than the moral of the story itself.

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    1. LOL on refusing to believe the third book! I did read spoilers so now how it is supposed to end. I do think it's an odd decision, I'll say that much. I hear you on the writing style being geared to a YA audience, but I still think you can have better writing than that. John Green writes YA and he tries much, much harder with his writing than that and does a terrific job.

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  30. Okay so I actually liked Divergent and Insurgent. I agree with you on many of your critiques, though. It's not amazing literature. But listen, if you think the dystopia idea wasn't well thought in the first book, then you've GOT to read the third one. It was one of the worst books I've ever read. The "shocker" in the third book isn't even the worst part- it's so clearly obvious Roth had NO idea where she was going with the storyline. It made me furious.

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    1. I've heard the third book is terrible. I do know what the "shocker" is and I agree with you that Roth didn't have a clear idea where the book was heading when she started. Ah, authors these days!

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  31. i read half the book and went and saw the movie before i was finished... yeah, wasn't thrilled. i mean, its entertaining. i didn't hate book or movie, but it definitely was no harry potter. (which i feel like i compare all YA book series to, including twilight which was terrible. i'd say this was a step up from that.) i would also take hunger games over the divergent series any day!

    xo. jenn @ hello, rigby!

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    1. Harry Potter is my standard of measurement, too! Actually I started the series again last night after reading and writing about Divergent all day. I just needed to go back to the good stuff! I love Hunger Games, too, except for the third book which was incredibly weak in my opinion.

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  33. Hi Bon, I agree, I think the premise is flawed in the first book. However, once you complete the series, it makes much more sense what importance the factions have, and why being divergent is a big deal. =) If you can get through them, I would suggest reading on

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  34. I have read the first two books and I find them to be too similar. I haven't started book three because I feel like I'll just be reading the same book for a third time. As you said, the story is predictable and the writing not great.

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  35. Oh Bon Bon you made my heart hurt! I LOVED Divergent and its sequels! But then again, I knew it wasn't going to be Hemingway or anything. I loved it because I could connect with Tris and loved the love story, which helped me overlook a poor plot and choppy sentences.

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    1. But yes, I could tell Roth had no clue where her trilogy was heading when she wrote the first book. It's like it turned into a runaway train or something and BOOM we are at THE controversial ending. But then again, I like the ending of the trilogy because it makes sense. Selflessness is sacrificing yourself for someone who didn't deserve it. *insert Christ analogy*

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  36. I see a lot of your negative points about the book....but for some reason I still liked it! I didn't even question the things you questioned. I just mindlessly read along. I did read the second book and am halfway through the third book and I can say a lot of the questions you had above were answered. The two books really delve more into the "why" of the things that happened and give a lot more back story on all of the characters. But, if you hated the first book, I can imagine reading the second and third wouldn't be on your list of things to do, questions or not! It actually seems like all of the books should be one big, long one, but they split them up. The second book literally picks up at the next sentence after the first one ended.

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  37. I agree with you on so many points! This series has been all the rage, but I just never really got it. I read all 3 books, mostly just because I wanted to know how it ended, but I lost interest very quickly with the story line. I do think that some of the things you thought didn't make sense make a little more sense in the later books as the story develops. Like why being Divergent isn't super common, for instance. But overall I thought Roth should have focused more on plot lines she totally threw away, and ditched some that she made a huge deal. And I kind of ended up hating Tris and Four both by the third book as well. I definitely agree with you on the choppy sentence structure as well! That drives me crazy to read.

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  38. I was on the hold list for this at my library FOREVER, so when I got the alert that Divergent was available, I immediately went and got it.

    I completely agree you. For all the hype it let me down. I love to read and for certain types of books can turn off the analytical, but I couldn't.t for this. I enjoyed the beginning and even the initiation, but the ending was the worst. I read through it so fast, because I didn't care what happens. Absolutely hate when that happens when I read a book.

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  39. It reminded me of the feeling I had after reading Mockingjay... completely disappointed.

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  40. When I first began this book, I was really disappointed because I felt like I was reading a "hunger games" copy cat. But I trudged on because all the girls in my office were reading it and I wanted to be "in" with the cool kids. I actually ended up really enjoying the first and second book but the third book...someone should have gagged me. Not only was it a pain because I was reading it on my kindle, so I had to keep going back and viewing who was writing the chapter...but it was horribly sad. I hadn't realized that it was written from such an apocalyptic point of view. Never once through the first 2 books did I even think that it was Chicago and that it was the USA after a world war. I am a firm believer in humanity and the freedom that the US grants us as individuals in relevance to other countries. After seeing the movie this last weekend I was let down even more by the series. I didn't feel like 'Hollywood' did a good job at portraying the book really at all. There were so many things that were changed or altered and for the worse. The supporting actors all looked WAY to similar and was hard to tell them apart. They never went into the building of the characters....which make the whole series. You have to know the characters in order to understand how tragic everything is. In order to sympathize, feel empathy, joy, and relief....you HAVE to know the characters. The books did a good job at this, but the movie, not so much.

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  41. I agree with what you said about the book. I did enjoy it but I'm not as much of a "book snob" as you say. I thought book 2 and 3 explained the faction system a little better and why they were created, so there's that. But I'm SO curious what you thought of the movie???

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  42. I am not going to read all 50,000 comments to see if anyone brought this up, but the next two pretty much resolve all your issues with the first. Maybe it'd be worth reading them to find some resolution...?

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