Joined: Sun Sep 27, 2009 6:28 pm
Are you a published author?: Yes
Age: 21 Dec 1994
I saw Divergent on the shelf at the library and checked it out because I had the nagging feeling that somebody recommended it to me (although I couldn't tell you who ). I just finished it this morning.
To be honest, I'm torn about it.
On one hand, it's brilliant, both in general and as dystopian fiction specifically. As dystopian fiction, the world is fascinating, unique, and well-rendered. As general fiction, Roth is one of the best writers I have encountered in awhile. The book is in 1st person present tense, a touchy POV, but she uses it smoothly and competently. The plot is virtually flawless from a technical standpoint, deftly woven with sharp and startling twists, and the characters are vivid and varied. From a technical standpoint I had no quibbles worth mentioning, which is definitely saying something coming from me , and as a reader I found the narrative incredibly engaging. I flowed into Tris's POV seamlessly, feeling her emotions and sympathizing with her motivations even though on the surface she doesn't seem a thing like me. My pluse speed up with hers many times, and I could intimately understand her actions, even when both she and I knew deep down that she was making the wrong choice. That's intense power in the hand of the author, which could be used either for great good or great evil depending on where Tris's character arc goes.
So as an example of dystopian fiction and masterful writing (especially in regards to 1st person present tense), Divergent is a gem. Unfortunately, however, I can't fully recommend it because of the content. There is a fair amount of edgy and sexual content that was unnecessary, if not out-of-place. Things like the fact that the initiates--boys and girls--all sleep together in a room with no privacy. Tris is attacked and taunted by her rivals, and several times their actions tread the line with sexual abuse. And then there's [spoiler!] the romance with Four... It was extremely sensual, focused on feelings and touches and kisses. Although they never have sex, it comes chillingly close, and it is referenced several times; one of Tris's fears is apparently getting physically and emotionally intimate with people, and the Dauntless training focuses on driving her to overcome her fears, never mind she's only 16. You get the idea.
It made me wonder what Roth's true purpose in writing the book was. Was she really writing dystopian, or a romance? She has talent, so I shall be watching her future books and hoping she uses her gift to write something other than sensual romance.
What did y'all think of it? Anyone looked into the sorta spin-off novel she wrote, Free Four, that's from Four's perspective?
Nessa- She's given up the veil, the vows she'd sworn, abandoned every effort to conform. Without a word to anyone she's gone her way alone, a dove escaping back into the storm.
Nolan- And though I don't understand why this happened, I know that I will when I look back someday, and see how you've brought beauty from ashes, and made me as gold purified through the flames.
Azriel- And who do you think you are, running round leaving scars, collecting your jar of hearts, and tearing love apart? You're gonna catch a cold from the ice inside your soul, so don't come back to me. Don't come back at all...