I’ve recently been having a massive book binge- more on this to follow tomorrow- and I have been quickly working my way through the Divergent series. I recently fell in love with the film and my review of the first novel was extremely positive. I fast become a bit addicted to the Divergent series and I quickly picked up the second novel, eager to continue the magic. But it all went terribly wrong and while I still felt invested in the second book, I was left feeling largely disappointed. It felt like all the things I had loved about the Divergent series were gone and I wasn’t really sure how I felt about it.
I finished the second book and was ready to give in, to move on to the next book on my shelf but out of pure compulsion I continued with the to the final book in the series – Allegiant.
So to recap. The Divergent series is a trilogy of dystopian-style novels set in the Divergent Universe. The books are categorised as young adult fiction but the first book is written in a style that will no doubt be praised by universal audiences alike. The first novel in the series – Divergent – is set in a post-apocalyptic version of Chicago and follows Beatrice “Tris” Prior as she explores her identity within a society that defines its citizens by their social and personality-related affiliation with five factions; erudite, dauntless, amity, abnegation and candor.
These five factions are said to keep the peace because each has a different role in society based on their traits. If any of you have liked my facebeook page then this might make sense of a recent post and do let me know which faction you would be!
Its major plot device, the division of society into personality types, is one used in other science fiction works. Beyond its literary context, Roth’s open declaration of her religion as a Christian has brought commentary from Christian communities both endorsing and challenging the novel. I have to admit that I find the faction system to be an amazingly completing idea, one of those good in principle not in practice kind of ideals, but one that gets you thinking nonetheless. Yet as Tris’ instructor Four so rightly comments, we should be aiming to posses qualities from each of the faction and not just one.
So what happens when you don’t fit in to only one faction, what happens when you can’t be labeled at all? This is the divergent.
Similarly to the first novel the second book finishes on a cliff hanger and even if you have lost interest (as I had) you immediately feel drawn to read the final instalment. I mentioned last time that I have a particular bug bear with books that have huge gaps in between them because a lot can happen in a year and it feels naive to write the characters as exactly the same as they were in the initial book.
This book is set in the aftermath of a massive battle and while the second novel saw the utter collapse of the faction system and the release of some powerful and life-changing information, the third book see’s the exploration of that data.
It’s hard to offer my opinion without giving to much information away but the third book has a really complex plot, something that the earlier novels avoided. I found it incredibly hard to follow and as a result it was a difficult book to read and hence lost the ease of the earlier books in the Divergent series. As can only be expected given the scale of the momentous change that we see in the second novel the third book is remarkably different but I couldn’t help but feel it had lost everything that I loved about the original series, the plot had changed beyond recognition and I wasn’t overly keen on the new story.
I still love Veronica Roth’s style and substance, so it’s a shame that I didn’t love the final two books but she is without a doubt a massive literary talent. It’s only fair that she joined the plethora of other female dystopian writers that have joined the bestseller lists over the last few years. Again I was left disappointed but I am excited to see what Roth does in the future and I would definitely read more of her novels.
Have you read Allegiant?