Review: The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth

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D  I  V  E  R  G  E  N  T
Divergent 
is one of the best dystopian books out there. Tris was so refreshing and determined, she didn’t whine about her situation, or second guess. She knew that Dauntless was where she was meant to be. The world was fascinating, and it was easy to imagine how the world would be divided by personality traits. Everyone loves the idea of sorting themselves, whether it be in a Hogwarts house or a District, so to have Factions was really cool for fan involvement.
The romantic relationship didn’t overpower the book. Tris and Four seemed to complete each other…to begin with.
The villains were villainous. Like, actually evil. I just wanted to cower away from Peter while reading it. And what about Eric? That guy gave me the creeps, especially when he forced Christina over the edge of the cavern. The rest of the Dauntless faction were a fun bunch too, a lot of the room for moral dilemma.
Divergent was filled with action: the capture-the-flag style game is one of my favourite scenes. And, everyone loves the underdog, so watching Tris go from a weakling to a fighter was amazing. I really cheered her on the whole way. But, Dauntless was about more than physical fighting so how unforgettable were the simulations? I still can’t stop thinking about when Tris had those birds clawing into her mouth, and it’s been two years since I read the book!
What made it even more successful was the idea that there was something going on, on a larger scale. What the heck was Jeannine up to? Why were the Divergents such a threat? It meant that the sequel had a lot of potential.

I  N  S  U  R  G  E  N  T
Insurgent 
definitely suffered from second-book-syndrome. I think this is mostly because it wasn’t as memorable as the first book. The battles were spicing up and they did a lot more…battle. And running. We can’t forget about the running.
It was definitely a good plan for the team to go to Amity. Getting to learn more about the ins and outs of each faction, and discover that things aren’t always as happy as they seem was great, because you started to wonder just how flawed the faction system was. Giving a voice to the factionless worked in the same way. Who was really better off?
But then we had Caleb who created the biggest ‘can-I-trust-you-just-because-we’re-related’ complex ever. Seriously, this guy never sorted out his priorities. And his priorities should have been with the Priors, am I right?! (Ahaha, that was too easy.)

A  L  L  E  G  I  A  N  T
But Allegiant on the other hand…I don’t know how to feel about it. I love the risk Veronica Roth took with the direction of the story. Realistically, it was the only way it could have gone, and aligned with her character’s personality. It was unexpected and fresh. The two viewpoints were new too, but I found the Tris and Four’s voices became indistinguishable.
There was a lot of unnecessary death in the last two books, some were sad and others were just…emotionally fodder. There doesn’t need to be so much death to build impact. But, the most disappointing was the explanation of the divergent phenomenon. I’ve previously stated that genetic experiments are my least favourite way to clarify a dystopian story, and I think the root of that dislike lies in Allegiant. 

My length and strength of my thoughts in indicative of how I felt about the series as a whole. I can 100% see myself re-reading Divergent but the other books in the series…well, not so much. Still, I think it’s a triumph that the progression of the series doesn’t stop me from wanting to re-read the first book. It’s still a gem and always will be.

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T5W: Most Frustrating Characters

This week, we discuss the characters that make us want to jump inside books and shake their shoulders! There are quite a few (unfortunately) so let’s get to it!

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1. Tris Prior

Tris, overall, is an excellent character. She’s strong, she’s determined and she’s practically capable of anything. But, there’s one thing she’s not capable of: communication! Actually talking things out with Tobias is her downfall. They’re so willing to sacrifice themselves for each other, which is endearing, but frustrating when they won’t tell each other what’s going on!

2. Prince Kai

It seemed like the lovely prince was the only one out of the loop in The Lunar Chronicles. Scarlet knew about Cinder. Cress knew about Cinder, Levana knew about Cinder…everyone on Earth and the moon knew her identity. Having to read Kai’s chapters in the books was frustrating because I just wanted to dive into the council room and catch him up on all the action. Thank goodness he’s part of the team at the end of ‘Cress’, otherwise I don’t know how I would have coped.

3. Sydney Sage

Don’t get me wrong I love Sydney! She’s intelligent and sticks to her morals no matter what other people tell her. She’s also really good at evaluating right from wrong, but how she handles the Adrian situation had me ripping my hair out! I know you come from a background that pretty much hates vampires, but you shouldn’t care about that if you love one! Sometimes she just needed to listen to her heart instead of her head.

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4. America Singer

Girl’s got two really sweet guys wanting to be her boyfriend/husband/prince. She spends most of the books in regretful turmoil over each, and struggles to come to a conclusion until the final book. America needed to accept her fate much sooner, and to stop comparing herself to the other contestants for Maxon’s heart! He was looking at her all along!

5. Wells Jaha/ Ruby / Juliette

All three of these characters are classified as juvenile delinquents. All three of these characters share the same weakness: they’ll classify themselves as monsters. Whether it’s because they’re keeping a secret or hiding their powers, Wells from ‘The 100’, Ruby from ‘The Darkest Minds’ and Juliette from ‘Shatter Me’ all have what I like to call ‘The Monster Complex’. If they only realised the potential they held, I would be much less frustrated with them. Embrace the power, guys. Please.

Christmas Recommends

As the Christmas season is upon us, and those of us that are enjoying the toils of school are soon to be released into the world of holidays, we thought it would be good to recommend our five favourite Christmassy reads (in no particular order!)

let it snow1. ‘Let It Snow’ by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle
This is a super cute collection of short stories that are all linked, like ‘Love Actually’. The authors’ writing styles really compliment each other and all the characters are so well developed in a short amount of pages.  My favourite story in the collection was probably Maureen Johnson’s, the first in the anthology, and I hope to read more of her work soon!

My-True-Love-Gave-to-Me2. ‘My True Love Gave to Me’ edited by Stephanie Perkins
Basically, this in another anthology filled with short Christmas stories written by everyone’s favourite authors. They’re so sweet an quick to read, perfect for falling in love, as the tag line says. These really get you into the Christmas mood, without a huge commitment to 400 pages as they’re not all interlinked.

dash and lily3. ‘Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares’ by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Christmas just seems to be the season to read collaborations. The book is set in a wintery New York and is about two unsuspecting teens finding romance. What’s not to love? Again, this is a quick read, but full of laughs and anecdotes, you can’t help but feel cheerful the whole way through.

Fangirl4. ‘Fangirl’ by Rainbow Rowell
I chose ‘Fangirl’ because I think there’s a real emphasis on the importance of family and communicating with them, which is a great message for the Christmas season. All Cath is in a completely new environment, her family and love interest offer her comfort and security. A tear-jerker, but the most adorable and relatable book ever written.

divergent5. ‘Divergent’ by Veronica Roth
This might seem like an odd choice because there’s nothing Christmassy about it at all. I mean, a war between factions, with murders, conspiracies and battles? Not exactly all merry and bright. However, I think it’s the perfect book to take you somewhere completely new. It will absorb your whole mind and make your heart race – something to keep you completely occupied on a Christmas afternoon.