Divergent

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Post Tue Jan 22, 2013 2:37 am

Divergent

Anyone else here read Divergent by Veronica Roth, or the sequel, Insurgent?

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 :rofl: ). 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?
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather boast in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

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...

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Post Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:47 pm

Re: Divergent

Ooh! Nice review, Aubrey; thank you! :) Very indepth. I haven't ever read it, so it was interesting to read the review.

It sounds like an interesting read, however I have never liked books written in first person present tense. I agree it can be well done, I just can never get into the writing style. It's probably not something I'd go out of my way to read because of that. :)
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Post Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:59 pm

Re: Divergent

1st person present tense is very tricky. If you were going to read a book with that tense, this would be my recommendation, as it's the most effective use of the tense I've seen. (Even in The Hunger Games, what I read of it, the tense felt a little stilted in places.)
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather boast in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

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...
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Post Sat May 25, 2013 4:47 pm

Re: Divergent

I ended up buying and reading the spin-off short story Free Four. It was actually a remake of a scene that's in the book, rewritten from Four's POV. Short but cool, and a very neat promotional idea that I might try with my own books. I enjoyed it. :D

Still haven't read Insurgent yet, even though I bought it at HalfPrice Books. :roll: In other random fan-news, the cover and title (Allegiant) of book 3 have been revealed, and they're apparently making a movie of Divergent! :D
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Post Thu Jun 20, 2013 4:47 pm

Re: Divergent

Didja all know they're making a movie? I'm skeptically curious as to how this book will translate to film, but I remain optimistic. They posted some stills on the Facebook fanpage for the movie ( https://www.facebook.com/DivergentMovie?fref=ts ) recently. I think they captured the characters well, but I'm not sure what to make of the costume in the first photo. (Warning, some of Tris's shirts are low.) It doesn't look like anything described in the book. It's gonna be hard for me not to play book purist with this one...

Here's the link to the actual article from Entertainment Weekly with the photos: http://www.ew.com/ew/gallery/0,,2064793 ... l#21347889 Almost makes me want to read Entertainment Weekly for the first time in my life, lol!
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Post Sun Sep 29, 2013 11:45 pm

Re: Divergent

I've only read the first book. I found it challenging, fascinating, and interesting. It is not a novel to be compared to the Hunger Games. It might be dystopian, but it's a completely different story. I didn't find the romance that problematic (though maybe that's because I was more interested in the story than the romance). But Tris refusal to have sex could hint toward something, or maybe not.
I think Tris has been set up for a character arc. I think she will really progress (her and Four) to a point where she's not so seriously flawed a character.
An interesting thing I found out was that Veronica Roth is a Christian. Any thoughts on that (since this is a forum about Christians writing Fiction)?
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Post Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:44 am

Re: Divergent

I noticed how she thanked God in her acknowledgements and was interested by that. The book wasn't blatantly Christian fiction, which can actually be a good thing. We need more Christian fiction that promotes our values and works Christianity into the story naturally, rather than blatantly or in the form of a sermon. I don't remember there being hardly any religious references in the book at all, though. I think there might have been a few disconnected ones. Not that the book needs religious references to promote Christian values (the opposite would be equally great to see), but I'm curious to see if that surfaces as the series progresses.

On a more personal note, it did bother me that a supposedly Christian author handled the romance in that way. That is based on my personal convictions, so I won't judge, but it does make me wonder. We'll see where the character arcs go, though, like you said. I'm not sure right now where Tris's arc is headed, so that will be fun to watch as it happens.
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Penoaks Publishing: Independent Publishing, Professional Quality
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Post Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:02 pm

Re: Divergent

I finished Insurgent! It was good. Anybody else read it?

Oh, and the ending? Well played, Ms. Roth, well played.
My aim is to live out Christ-like peace in a violent world.

Jesus said give to those who ask. So we become people who ask for nothing.

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Post Sun Jun 29, 2014 4:44 pm

Re: Divergent

I saw the "Divergent" movie and liked it, then read the book. I'm waiting on "Insurgent" from the library, though there are dozens of people ahead of me. I bought the book Divergent in the movie tie-in edition and want to wait till they have those to purchase the other two.

It has its good and bad as others have pointed out - the sexual part, I would've toned down - it seems obligatory these days in YA from mainstream publishers, unfortunately. :-( First person narrative, which also seems de rigeur in that genre, was not too annoying - I would love to see YA authors get away from it, though, because adolescence can be a self-absorbed time in a person/character's life, so the distance and objectivity of third person would bring balance, IMO.

I have the copy of "Allegiant" (3rd book) from the library, it already came in - I peeked, but can see that so much has gone on that I'm holding off, would prefer to read the books in order. So I'll leave it there for now and add a second post when I've had a chance to read the entire series.

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