Monday, June 18, 2012

Book Review #20: Divergent by Veronica Roth (Book One)

Suffice it to say, the realisation that Veronica Roth is only 23 years old and already a New York Times  bestselling author didn't make me feel better. Plus, she worked on it when she was in college... so what am I doing with my life again? Young, talented first-time authors aside, I'd like to say that I don't understand dystopian societies. Why would people allow themselves to live that way? Probably from lack of knowledge but why?

This society in a future Chicago knows why. Us 'ancestors' have somehow destroyed the world with our 'weaknesses' and now, these people are dedicated to not letting that happen again -- by dividing everyone into five different factions. We have Abnegation the selfless, Amity the peaceful, Candor the honest, Dauntless the brave, and Erudite the intelligent.

These factions take themselves to the extreme. For Abnegation where our protagonist, Beatrice comes from, they don't have mirrors, wear grey clothing, must always help one another, put somebody else's needs before their own, no fancy food (like hamburgers) -- basically, you must lose your sense of self. Be invisible. When you turn sixteen, you're allowed to choose the faction to live the rest of your life in and must commit to that faction, and leave your friends and family -- faction before blood.

First, what kind of name is Beatrice as a protaganist?! She changes it to Tris when she goes through initiation but seriously. It doesn't come off as a heroine's name.

Bad choice of a name aside, I have a list of YA books recommended to me that apparently will shake my very earthly foundations (lol what am I saying) and this is among them. I've been reading the YA genre because I deserve to read something simple during/after my exams (feeling entitled).

What can I say? I'm thoroughly sold. I can see why millions are smitten. The prose is clipped and to the point, almost too much because I find myself reading like a robot. I think a huge reason why people like this is because of Tris and Tobias' (who has deep set eyes, squeals) bonding; and the trepidation surrounding the classic question of: who will die?

The thing which irked me was that Veronica Roth keeps telling me that Beatrice is short. I mean, I get it. She is vertically challenged. She is fracking short. You have made your point, Miss Veronica Roth.  You don't need to tell me repeatedly in every couple of chapters. I hope the second book doesn't go all: "Because I'm short, I can't see past everyone's shoulders"... "I can't reach the target"... "I'm so short I can fit into this"... "I'm so short I can't do this". If it does, I'll explode.

Another thing which didn't do it for me was that the book is so hyped up -- which isn't the author's fault. The same reason why I didn't want to read Harry Potter and Twilight was because EVERYBODY was reading it and it was so celebrated. I, being the opportunist when it comes to unconventionality in pop culture, refused I read it. However, what separates HP and Twilight is that HP is universally acclaimed and loved so... I will read it one day. Twilight is... er, universally controversial so, no thanks. Anyway, what I'm trying to say so unsuccessfully is that I'm dampened when something is trendy because that exclusivity factor is gone. I still like it but I'm just lazy to fan the flames, so to speak. The hype surrounding Divergent gave me high hopes and while it was really great, like 99%, I was unfortunately expecting more of a 120%. So a bit of a disappointment there, my fault really. However if I omit things like the hype and the constant bombardment of Tris' height... this is a swell read. If you like living vicariously through someone else in action and romance, this is for you. Meanwhile, I'm getting sick of 16-year old female protagonists.

The movie is coming out in 2015, by the way. I'll have to wait three years before the world beyond readers and people around me react to Divergent like how they did The Hunger Games. NY Times said that Divergent lacks THG's opus. However, I beg to differ.

Genre: Dystopian YA, Action/Adventure, Romance
(487 pages)

No comments:

Post a Comment