“Divergent”—A Book Review

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“I am Divergent. And I can’t be controlled.”

 

Divergent by Veronica Roth: I finally got around to reading it! I wanted to wait until the third and final book was released before I started the series, and I’m glad I did. Fans of books like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Matched by Ally Condie, and The Pledge by Kimberly Derting are sure enjoy this series.

Most of you have already read this book, or know what it is about, so I’m just going to give you a very brief summary:

Typical dystopian setting, people are crazy, so the area around Chicago has divided itself into five different factions. Each of these “factions” hold a characteristic to be most important: Dauntless=bravery, Erudite=brilliance,  Amity=peace, Candor=honesty, and Abnegation=selflessness. With each faction upholding a certain characteristic above all others, the societies can cohabitate. Or so is the theory.

Belonging to one of the factions is the most important thing. If you fail to become a functional member of one, you are kicked out and are forced to live a life of the factionless, roaming the boarders, belonging to no one.

 

“To live factionless is not just to live in poverty and discomfort; it is to live divorced from society, separated from the most important thing in life: community.”

 

Upon your 16th year in school, you are administered a test that tells you which faction you would function strongly in, and you are given the choice to stay in the faction you were born into, or pick another.

 

“Faction customs dictate even idle behavior and supersede individual preference.”

 

Beatrice “Tris” was born into Abnegation, but never quite got the hang of being selfless and quite. When her test results are inconclusive, she discovers that she is something rare—she is Divergent. This means that she holds too many strong characteristics to belong to just one faction. Warned that she must keep this a deep secret, or people may try to harm her, she chooses to become a member of the Dauntless community.

 

“Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it, that’s the point.”

 

Tris quickly learns that people aren’t always what they seem. Everyone has a hidden secret. Can she keep her secret hidden, and can she make it through the Dauntless initiation alive?

 

“I am deeply suspicious of people in general. It is my nature to expect the worst of them.”

 

I give this face paced read four out of five stars. The characters were strong, the messages were clear, and the story was intriguing. The only reason I didn’t award it five stars, is because it almost feels like it’s been done before, just with a different setting and different names. I was seeing a cross between Vampire Academy combat training, The Hunger Games districts, and every other YA novel implication of “there is something special about you, main character.”

Looking forward to the movie and the next two books in the series 🙂

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“In The After “—A Book Review

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In The After by Demitria Lunetta is a superb debut. Fans of Rick Yancey’s The 5th Wave are sure to love this apocalyptic survivalist novel.

 

“Nothing this broken can ever be fixed.”

 

Amy’s world completely changed the day They arrived. Both of her parents were out when Amy saw the story on the news. A spaceship had landed in a park. Vicious green creatures were now running rampant through the streets, consuming any human in their path in mere seconds.

Lucky for Amy, her mother was a paranoid researcher for the government, so their house was incased in a tall electric fence. And her dad just so happened to be an environmentalist and had equipped the house with solar panels that kept the fence, and everything else in the house, running.

After the days/weeks of self pity and wallowing, survival mode finally kicked in. With her food supply dwindling, Amy ventured out into the night (because the creatures are drawn to the light and can’t see in the dark) to pillage local food store’s canned good aisles, careful not to make any noise that would alert Them to her presence. For even though they have crappy sight, their hearing is superb, as is their speed when prey is within reach.

One night, while on a food run, Amy found a toddler stuffing her face with rotten food in an old supermarket. Amy took her home and quickly discovered that the young girl (given the name Baby) had quickly adapted to making zero noise in the After. Together, the girls learned how to communicate through signs, and how to live and pillage in the After.

After three years of surviving on their own, the girls are rescued and taken to a government research compound. This is where the novel transitions from “The Hunger Games” to “The Giver.” Everything is controlled and monitored. Everyone has a certain job, working together to create a fully functioning, self-sustaining, society. But with such strict rules, many freedoms are taken away. Can Amy blindly push aside her instincts and give complete trust to these “saviors”? Or is there something deeper at play?

“Doesn’t he know there will always be someone out there who wants to destroy good?”

Heart pounding and thought provoking, I give In The After five stars. This book is definitely worth the read.

Delirium Trilogy – A Book Review

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 The Delirium Triology (Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem) by Lauren Oliver is an excellent dystopian tale fans of The Hunger Games and Matched trilogies are sure to love.

In the future, love is considered a disease, known as amor deliria nervosa. According to the new bible (The Book of Shhh), the “disease” affects your mind so that you cannot think clearly, or make rational decisions about your own well-being.

The solution to keeping America safe from this horrible disease, known as love: The Cure. When citizens turn eighteen, they have a procedure done that will remove their ability to fall in love. This procedure leaves a three-prong mark behind the ear, so that others will know you are cured.

The downside of the cure (though some consider it an upside): not only is your ability to love removed, but other strong emotions disappear as well. The Cureds basically float through life in a zombiefied state. People for the cure argue that the cure allows you to think rationally, eliminating the irrational and haphazard emotions that love brings to the table.

Quoted from a cured person:

“We are not the evil ones. We are reasonable and compassionate. We stand for fairness, structure, and organization.” –Requiem

However, the cure doesn’t always work for everyone. And there are also many people who are part of The Resistance: those who don’t believe in the cure, and want the freedom to choose love. Most of the Uncureds have fled to The Wilds—the areas of the world outside of society’s boarder fences— living like animals, scavenging for food and shelter; but they are free. These people are known as “Invalids.”

Some of the Invalids have rallied together and infiltrated the society, sporting fake procedural marks under their ears. These emissaries, collect information, make fake documents, and plant false information within the cured society, in hopes that The Resistance can take back the control of the world.

Lena’s father died when she was young and the procedure didn’t work on her mother—she went crazy from the deliria and threw herself off a cliff. Thus, since early childhood, Lena has been under the care of her very strict, rule-abiding, aunt. Lena cannot wait to be cured and is counting down the days until her procedure. She is afraid she will go crazy like her mother and wants, more than anything, to be normal.

Then she meets Alex.

Alex shows her his procedural mark under his ear, showing Lena that he is safe to be around: he has been cured. As Lena starts to hang out with Alex, she finds herself drawn to him. He doesn’t act like the other Cureds…he seems to still have that life spark that leaves most people once they have had the procedure. And Alex doesn’t seem to want Lena to get the cure, loving her fire:

“Everyone is asleep. They’ve been asleep for years. You seemed…awake.” Alex is whispering now. He closes his eyes, opens them again. “I’m tired of sleeping.” –Alex

The closer Lena gets to Alex, the more afraid she becomes that she is susceptible to the disease. But she can’t love Alex and he can’t love her, he’s been cured…or has he?

Lena must decide if falling in love is worth the risk: leaving the protection of an unfeeling society behind and fleeing to The Wilds so she can be with the boy she loves.

“I’d rather die on my own terms than live on theirs. I’d rather die loving Alex than live without him.”—Lena

This compelling series will have your heart sprinting as you cheer for this young couple’s future together, and having you yelling out loud at the absurdity of the society’s rules. While the writing is a bit slow and tedious, the overall story totally makes up for the lackluster prose. I give the series four out of five stars!