Published on May 22, 2015
I know that this review is a bit too late considering that the book series had been published years ago. The Divergent series didn’t appeal to me at first because I felt like this is just another dystopian tale just like the Hunger Games trilogy. But after watching the movie version of Divergent in cable TV (I still haven’t seen Insurgent), my curiosity was piqued which prompted my husband to buy the book series for me.
The book series is comprised of Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant. In Divergent, Roth gave us a view of a city that is divided into 5 factions. Each faction is defined and motivated by a strong virtue of its residents - Candor for honesty, Abnegation for selflessness, Dauntless for bravery, Amity for peace, and Erudite for intelligence. Each faction is assigned to a specific role in the society, and the people of each faction is somehow boxed and limited in accordance with their faction’s virtue. But apparently, Divergents are a group of people that have the ability to possess more than one strong innate virtue. And with the constant struggle of power, some of the twisted leaders consider them as a threat to the faction system. The first book is a very interesting read. After reading the first few chapters, I was convinced that this is not another Hunger Games as the book got to focus more on the vulnerability of human nature. It may look as a typical dystopian-themed novel, but I find Roth’s analysis of human nature quite deep and fascinating. The strength of the female protagonist, Tris, may be comparable with Katniss, but I have to say that I got to like her more. She may be hardheaded, but I like that she’s firm with her decisions. Katniss can’t even choose between Gale and Peeta! Hahaha! She also has the perfect blend of innocence and fierceness. Her love interest, Four, oh my God, Four!!! I immediately fell in love with his character! He is strong yet deep inside him sleeps a sense of helplessness brought by his dark past. Roth actually did a great job building all the characters. She made me love the good ones and hate the bad ones. Peter! I hate Peter! And Marcus, too! Also, her style of storytelling kept my eyes glued to every page of the book. The ending of Divergent (which is different from the movie version, in case you’re curious) was a nice cliffhanger that made me immediately start reading Insurgent.
I liked Insurgent more because the pacing is faster and the twists are more exciting. The questions left behind by the end of Divergent were finally answered, with more questions surfacing. When Roth was writing this, she was probably telling herself, “Oh, so you think you already know everything about the story, well, you’re wrong!!!” More conspiracies were born, and the struggle for power became more intense with the introduction of new characters, specifically the factionless who wants to revenge being left behind by their old factions. And once again, the ending made me look forward to reading Allegiant right away.
Unfortunately, I have to say that Allegiant is the “weakest” book for me. No wonder that the last installment got the lowest rating in goodreads.com. Roth finished the two books both on a high note, but I felt like all the twists became too strange to handle. It was as if all the anticipation that Roth built in the first two books were just thrown out of the window because of the weird connections established in Allegiant. I felt like the twists were too “forced”. Though the first few chapters of the book still kept me hooked, the succeeding chapters became too dragging. I was like, “Seriously, Roth? Genetic whatsoever? Behavioral experiments?!” The ending was something I didn’t expect for. Yes, a book with an unpredictable ending is good. But it gave me the same disappointed feeling after reading Mockingjay. I think 90% of the characters died. Probably half of the remaining 10% ended up either injured or depressed! My husband actually got shocked because I threw the book after reading it. (He didn’t mind me because he thought that it was just my pregnancy hormones acting up, haha!)
On second thought, there are few similarities between Divergent and Hunger Games – the restrictive environment, never-ending struggle for power and the very depressing ending. Haha!