December 26, 2014

Divergent, Insurgent, & Allegiant (+ Four)

Divergent pulled me right in. It pulled me in so far that I had to go out and pick up the sequel, Insurgent. So I decided that I would focus on the trilogy for a bit and just keep updating this post. I hope that works for you guys. :-)

So who knew that a utopian society could turn dystopian so quickly? Turns out that separating society into neat little factions doesn't solve all the problems of the world. In fact, trying to put people into neat little boxes creates an oppressive regime that is bound to spin out of control when members try to assert their individuality. The main character, Beatrice (or Tris if you will), is compelling and instantly relatable to the reader (at least to me she was). I found myself turning the pages as quickly as possible to find out if Tris could persevere and overcome the seemingly insurmountable obstacles in her path. The end of Divergent created a need in me to explore more of this world that Veronica Roth crafted. I hope you guys will travel on this journey with me...unless of course you're not interested in young adult dystopian fiction then I guess you'd better wait around until I've finished this series. Either way, I'll be seeing you on the other side. :-)

I have to admit that this one took me a little longer to get completely swept away. This does not mean that this book was in any way inferior to the first. Actually, I think the problem was that I had an idea of where I thought the characters were going and it didn't quite jibe with Veronica Roth. :-P That being said, by the midpoint in the book I was hooked again. This book was darker than the first (believe it or not) because the fight is not just about factions but about secrets. Those in the highest level of government know a secret and Abnegation was prepared to tell the entire population...until Erudite decided that it was too dangerous. That's what prompted the fighting (and Jeanine Matthews wanting to wield control over everyone). The Divergent, in particular, are impacted by this information but we won't know exactly to what extent until the next book in the series. Here we go again!

This book brought a major change in formatting as the author started to alternate the narrative voices (if you're a longtime reader of the blog you know how I feel about this narrative device) between Tris and Tobias. Because I had grown accustomed to reading things from Tris's perspective it was difficult for me to get into the rhythm of Tobias. For the majority of the book, I wasn't fully convinced that Roth had a good grasp on his 'voice'. The reason for this shift in formatting became clear as the action of the story was divided between the two characters and to stay with Tris would mean missing out on half of the picture (which would have made it impossible to flesh out the ending of the series). This series reminds me of Harry Potter in that as the books continue the story becomes gradually darker and the maturity of the characters is accelerated due to some (or many) struggle(s). That should give you a hint as to how this series ended. I don't want to give it away but I will say that I charged through the ending hoping that I had somehow misread what had happened or that some kind of sci-fi scenario to occur which would then fix everything. Did it? Well, I guess you'll have to read Allegiant to find out.

In my review of Allegiant, I mentioned that at first I didn't feel Roth had a grasp on Tobias's 'voice'. I didn't feel that way after reading Four. Would it surprise you to learn that Divergent originally started out from his point of view?  Four is a collection of stories which helps to explain just how Tobias Eaton transformed from a lanky teenager in Abnegation grays that no one noticed to a Dauntless front runner who couldn't be forgotten. I, for one, really enjoyed this quick read (clearly as I finished it in one day) and I felt like it delivered exactly what Roth promised: a glimpse into the mind of a character that kept all his cards close to his vest. I especially liked seeing the scenes from Divergent with Tris through his eyes. If you're a fan of the Divergent series, I think this is worth picking up and giving a whirl.

A/N: I'm going to start fresh with the next blog post as I want to keep this one strictly about this series. I'll be posting that within the next week. :-D

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