Sunday, March 9, 2014

DIVERGENT book review

I've been especially excited to review this book, since I've been dying to read it for some time now. So here it goes:

Book: Divergent, the first book of three in the Divergent Series
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre Sci-fi, Action, Dystopia fiction, Teen Fiction

Plot: Beatrice's world is formed by five factions, groups of people who specialize in a certain virtue. Her faction, Abnegation is the selfless, while Candor is the honest, Dauntless is the brave, Amity is the peaceful, and Erudite is the intelligent. All teens are made to choose the faction they will live in when they turn sixteen. Surprisingly everyone, she chooses Dauntless and her life completely changes. While training, she must deal with many discouragements. Everyone sees her as weak and she has a lot to learn about her new faction and ultimately, her identity.

What I liked: Beatrice, who renames herself 'Tris', is an inspiring character who could relate to anyone. I loved how she handled the bullying and the new lifestyle without feeling insecure about herself. She was very brave and had a confident side to her that was very influential. Apart from that, she struggled with being selfless and her own sins so she was a relatable character.

Roth is a professing Christian and I could definitely see some Biblical influence throughout the story. To start out, the factions themselves were Christian values, but she showed that they can be used for evil if they don't have the right motives. Two characters, who are shown to be a Christians, sacrifice themselves for Tris without fear.  Despite getting revenge on her enemies many times, once she remembers God, she is thankful that she didn't murder someone who tried to kill her friend. The story itself was interesting and had been stuck in it. Even though the book wasn't full of tones of plot twists and surprises, it kept my interest the entire time.

What could've been better:
Often Tris would think of something her dad told her that was right, but she wouldn't take up his advice, leaving me unsure what to think about it. Tris got revenge by hurting people aand again, I wasn't sure what to think of it. In the Dauntless training, the boys and gives fight each other one-on-one. I wasn't a big fan of that. I mean, I know I'm a Hunger Game fan, but they had to do it to defend someone. I got the impression though that was wrong, but I didn't get a clear enough message about it. Making it worse, it was co-ed.

Tris and her boyfriend, Tobias got touchy at times. They kiss multiple times and touch. They never have sex, but it got so frequent to the point where at times I felt like their relationship's main motive was physical. I mean, it was sweet how they protected and helped each other, but I got sick of the kissing scenes. Tris has a 'dream' where he tries to pursue her to have sex with him. Though she is tempted, she refuses. They talk about the dream later and it is revealed that they are both virgins. Tobias definitely isn't pursuing her for her body. That isn't bad, but  Tobias suggest that  they may have it someday if she wants. It is mentioned that they lay in his bed for two hours. kiss, talk, and eventually doze as she says. (Thankfully, it is only a small paragraph, but that doesn't excuse anything)

Content: Violence is definitely a issue. A boy beats Tris. Similar things happen, but not in graphic detail. While changing her clothes, she is joined by three bullies, two boys and a girl. She barely has time to cover herself by using a towel. One of them pulls it off, letting them see her uncovered backside. Tris later gets revenge by beating the girl up in training. He doesn't do anything bad, but a character is shown drunk for a scene.

Six or seven uses of the h word, but that is far as the profanity goes. A boy makes a joke about her breast. Tris rejects the joke clearly.

I've heard a lot of good things about this book from Christian reviewers so I was excited to read it. It definitely stood out from a typical teen sci-fi series. The Christian influence was clear, but because of Roth's professing Christianity, I expected it to be cleaner than it was. The violence didn't bug me as nearly as much as the sexual stuff did.

Apart from that, I was inspired by this book. Tris was a brave character who can relate and influence anyone. I especially liked what she did at the end. The love of a traditional family is promoted, not discredited. (Though the values of commitment and purity remain unclear) Even though Tris chose Dauntless, selflessness still remains a part of her. I was unsure about Tobias at first, but I learned to like him and when they weren't being sexual, I adored their relationship. One of my favorite quotes from the book was from Tobias when he said that bravery and selflessness should be the same thing.

So while this book was very interesting and thrilling, I can't recommend it to anyone. Maybe the physical part wasn't a big part of the story, but it was enough. I wish I could because, like I said before, I've been really excited to read this book for a  long time. I liked it too, but when it got near the end, I started doubting. Since I've seen the movie trailer, I expected the kissing, but I didn't expect them to talk about sex. Not only did they lay in bed together, but they also hinted towards going farther next time. So while this book was great in some areas, it horribly surprised me in others.

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