Divergent: [genericon icon=star color=gold repeat=3 size=2x][genericon icon=star color=grey repeat=2 size=2x]
I don’t always (often) pay attention to commercials, but I saw the ones for Divergent and thought “Hey! Chicago!” and then noticed “based on the novels by…” so I went and downloaded them.
They were semi-predictable, in that way a teen book is to someone in her mid-thirties. The plot wagon was followed nicely along, and I liked the conclusion of the trilogy better than the one in The Hunger Games trio. As it turns out, my wish is that the first book had spent more time in setup. One thing Hunger Games did really well, and why I really liked that first book, was they set up everything quickly, efficiently, but completely.
By contrast, Divergent gives you the history in fits and drabs, looping back around and rewriting what was fact into doubt. As a story telling goes, it’s fun, but it had the side impact of never really making me too invested with Tris. By chapter three she’s special, and by chapter four she’s made her massive choice that will change the world. Oh and let’s not get into a clumsy heroine again.
Is the book good? Yes. Tween Mika would have loved it. Teen Mika would have ripped it apart. Adult Mika was entertained and read all three over a weekend. And thankfully, the books were not “And everyone lives happily ever after.” For that alone, I give it a thumbs up.
These books are more adult and realistic than Harry Potter, certainly. Aimed at a slightly older crowd will do that. There’s young love and it just avoids sexual abuse entirely (though there is child/spousal abuse) by avoiding pretty much all of sex. I mean, people have it, but it’s pretty circumspect. I thought a certain couple had sex way earlier than they actually did, which was interesting in it’s own way. Nice to see a perfect couple/soulmates not shag all the time (Twilight, I’m looking at you and your last book of smut).
Speaking of that, the characters aren’t perfect. They’re flawed in realistic ways. The main character is a bit of a Mary Sue, but it’s clear she’s not the Chosen One, just the Chosen Because She’s Handy Right Now One. In fact, it’s sort of more that the Bad Guy is the Chosen One, which is fun to watch.
Still, I wish they’d spent more time before the whole “And now you’re special!” part. I don’t feel like I got into the character enough before being thrown into her new world. And I’d absolutely love if heroines didn’t have to do the whole stupid butt pose so we’d know “She’s a chick!” because… we kinda knew.
Well. At least I got to go “Hah! They blew up Chicago!”