quinta-feira, 18 de abril de 2013

Divergent & Insurgent by Veronica Roth

I've recently finished Insurgent by Veronica Roth and instead of reviewing just that book, I thought it would be more interesting to also talk about Divergent. I'll try not to spoil anything for those of you haven't picked up these books yet.


Divergent is a trilogy created by Veronica Roth and it's a young adult series that stars Beatrice - also known as Tris - Prior, a teenage girl who lives in dystopian Chicago. The city is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular trait - Candor (Honesty), Abegnation (Selflessness), Dauntless (Bravery), Amity (peace) and Erudite (Knowledge). Every year, there's a public ceremony where every sixteen year old has to make a serious decision - they have to choose to which faction they'll belong to for the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, this decision seems to be more than just about choosing a faction; it's about choosing between staying with her family or being who she really is.
She makes a surprising choice but also learns a secret about herself that could either save the ones she loves or destroy her ...

What Made me Start Reading this Trilogy

I read Divergent right after finishing the Hunger Games trilogy. I wanted to read more books that were set in dystopian worlds; I wanted to know what else was out there within the same genre and Divergent seemed like a logical choice and the fact that it got so many rave reviews definitely pushed me to buy it.
The idea that people lived in a city that was divided into different factions and that they would dedicate their entire lives developing a certain trait seemed quite interesting, not only from a world building perspective but also from the character's point of view. I wanted to know more about their lives, what were their traditions and how they carried themselves, how all the factions got along but also how they developed their virtues. I was also intrigued by their political system and what was expected from each faction as a contribution to society.

My Thoughts

Divergent: I didn't know what to expect from Divergent in terms of story and character development. I had read many reviews saying how great it was and how it was the perfect book to read after the Hunger Games but I hadn't read anything that would go into much detail about the story itself.

I liked the setting of the whole story and the factions but I wanted to know more about them; I was a little underwhelmed because there wasn't a lot of information about some of the factions but also because there seemed to be a lot of mystery about the world outside the fence (yes, Chicago is surrounded by a fence) but we were left without any clues regarding that matter.  Also, we were not provided with a much needed explanation about what had led to the division into factions and what was its purpose.

I really liked Tris' characters. We can see, from the beginning of the book, that she's quite special and that her personality doesn't fully convey her factions' beliefs; she belongs to Abegnation, where people are selfless and their main concern is to take care of other people's needs. She's determined, strong-minded and the fact that she questions a lot and is so perceptive made her seem quite smart and canny and I really liked that about her. This set her apart from the others because they seemed to be so shaped by their factions traits and the fact she wasn't - even though she was capable of selfless acts - made her a special character.
I also liked Four; he seemed rather mysterious at first but then we got to know a bit more about him and see how sweet and responsible he was, how much he cared for Tris and how coherent he was about his beliefs and ideals.

Divergent is a great read. Is fast paced and action packed, with well written characters that captivate us from the beginning. This was a great start for the Divergent trilogy and really left me wanting more! I gave Divergent 4,5 starts.

Insurgent (I'll try to give you my thoughts about this book without spoiling it for those of you who haven't read it yet): I was really looking forward to read this second installment of the Divergent trilogy and, I'll admit, my expectations were a bit high. The first book had left me with some questions and the way it ended seemed to promise a lot more story development. However and even though this novel had some interesting points, there were others that failed to meet my expectations and left me a little underwhelmed.

I liked the fact that this book was just as fast paced and action packed as the first one; it made the book a lot more engrossing and kept me wanting more. I also liked the fact that we got to know more about the other factions - how they were set out, their habits and beliefs and how they reacted to what was going on in Chicago. As for the characters, Four was, by far, my favorite in this book even though I feel that we didn't get to see that much of him - I was hoping for (just) a bit more.

However, there were some things that didn't please me as much. Tris was a little disappointing in this book. I get it, she had gone through a lot in the first book so she was expected to have a lot going on and to be a bit more self-absorbed and "depressed" but I think she went a little too far; sometimes she came across as somewhat selfish, childish and too inconsequent about her actions - I wasn't a big fan of the whole  "act first, think later" - and for that reason she ended up making some terrible decisions. I also didn't like the fact that there were still a lot of question left unanswered - what had led to the creation of factions and what was outside the fence. Yes, the end started to give some hints about it but I wanted to know more! Finally, I felt that the story didn't progress that much; in Divergent a lot happened and Insurgent seemed to just set the foundations for something big, that will only take place in the final book ...

Overall I enjoyed this book but I wasn't as impressed as I was with Divergent. Sometimes I would get a bit angry at Tris for acting a certain way but then, as the story progressed, I would let  go of those feelings and just enjoy the narrative and what was going on.  I'm really looking forward for the third and final book of this trilogy, which comes out this year, in October 22nd.

I give Insurgent 3 stars

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