I know we have a lot of YA fans who read this blog, so I imagine the vast majority of you have read the first two novels of Veronica Roth’s Divergent series, Divergent and Insurgent. I’m not an overly huge fan of YA in general, but I love me some dystopia, so these novels were right up my alley, especially since I heard about them right after I read The Hunger Games.
There were a couple of things that I thought upon first reading Divergent and, later, Insurgent: first, that I liked Divergent better than The Hunger Games; second, that although the insistence upon romance in YA novels tends to annoy me, Four is hot enough that I’m okay with it; third, that I enjoyed Veronica Roth’s writing style; and finally, that the plot was incredibly well-thought out and well-told. A year later, here are my thoughts on those four things.
First, I liked Divergent better than The Hunger Games. This remains true. The world of Divergent is much more self-contained but no less colorful, and I liked that we get details about all of the factions whereas in The Hunger Games, we only get specific details about a few of the districts. I think I also like Tris more than Katniss. Even though Tris has annoying martyr-ish tendencies, those are better than Katniss’ outright abrasiveness/obvious blindness to the fact that two boys she’s known practically since birth have been in love with her...practically since birth.
Second, Four is hot enough that I’m okay with sappy YA romance. Yup, definitely still true. While I’m not into tattoos at all, and can’t honestly see myself being attracted to someone throwing daggers at my face regardless of how brooding and strong and silent they are, something about Four just makes me SWOON. Although he annoys me when he gets all secretive and annoying in Insurgent, I think I could find it in me to take him back.
Third, I enjoyed Veronica Roth’s writing style. This one is where I don’t agree with myself as much. I still think Roth writes better than Suzanne Collins, the author of The Hunger Games, but I found the style much more “meh” than when I first read it. The present tense annoyed me slightly more than it did initially, but I guess I can live with that. That’s not to say she can’t tell a kickass story, because she can, and I’m looking forward to seeing how her writing develops as she grows into an established author. But I do definitely think she has a lot of room to grow in that department. (Not that I can talk, really, but...)
Finally, the plot was incredibly well-thought out and well-told. Still agree with myself here. The idea of factions fascinates me and you can tell it fascinates Roth as well. She explores all of the different viewpoints of her characters, and they are all believable. Especially when they talk about the Divergent, and some express concern about their “loyalties,” because they could belong in any number of factions, whereas most people in the society are cut out--and therefore loyal to--exactly ONE faction. And while you, the reader, is like, “Duh, of course Tris can be trusted,” you can also see from that other character’s point of view. And that’s where things get twisty and complicated and AWESOME.
The bottom line here is that if you haven’t read Divergent and Insurgent yet, make sure you do it before this fall when the third and final book comes out. There’s no title yet, but there is a release date: October 22, 2013! I was going to wait until a bit later in the year to reread Divergent and Insurgent, but I decided I didn’t want to, especially since I hadn’t read them back to back yet. That’s definitely making a huge difference in me remembering important plot points and who people are. But that’s neither here nor there. The point is, you should read Divergent and Insurgent and then the third when it comes out in October, because they are awesome.
Thanks for the recommendation - I like dystopia, YA, *and* serials! I've put these on hold at the library!ReplyDelete
I've read Divergent but haven't made it around to Insurgent yet.. I've heard it's not quite as awesome as the first one. Either way I'll still read it and I figure I'll read it shortly before the release of the final book in the series.ReplyDelete
I don't normally read YA or dystopian, but I've seen the Roth books everywhere that they're always in the back of my mind. But I don't think I would ever care to read Hunger Games, but might at some point when I have nothing left to do and have already washed my hair I just might watch the movie.ReplyDelete
Great post, I really like the points you're making. I would say that I like Divergent better than The Hunger Games (book 1), but Insurgent kind of lost me a little and I loved Catching Fire. So I guess I'm going to have to wait for book 3 before I decide which series I like better.ReplyDelete
And I loved Four so much more than I loved Peta or Gale. Brooding isn't normally my thing, but I love guys with tattoos :)
I'm definitely in agreement that Divergent is better than The Hunger Games. I devoured Divergent and Insurgent one weekend :)ReplyDelete
I really loved Divergent, but I wasn't totally thrilled with Insurgent. I thought it moved so slowly and not much happened! Maybe I'll have to give them a reread before the last one comes out ... maybe that'll excite me for the series!ReplyDelete
I liked Insurgent because there was a lot of exposition, which is something I love. World-building is something I don't generally have a lot of patience for in fantasy novels, but I love it in dystopian books because I like knowing what the impetus was. I agree it moved slowly though, and felt like there wasn't a lot of major action. (Lots of minor action, though.)Delete
I agree with you on all fronts! I immediately liked Divergent better than Hunger Games and I loved Tris and Four. Four is still one of my favorite book boyfriends. :-) I loved Veronica's writing style and how well written the plot was. I have read both books twice too.ReplyDelete
I really liked the way you broke down your initial reactions vs. your re-read reactions--though I find it interesting that while I really liked Divergent and loved Insurgent, I'm the opposite on some of your points. I don't know if I *like* Tris more than Katniss as a character, but I will say that she annoys me less, which is surprisingly not normally the same thing when it comes to book characters for me. I liked Katniss' characterization and Suzanne Collin's writing better, I think--I found it more subtle, whereas I enjoyed the action of Divergent more and felt the plot moved forward faster. Though I love Four/Tobias, I have to say I'm still very partial to Peeta.ReplyDelete
I haven't read it yet!! AAHH! So excited to, though. I also don't like it that dystopians require a romance. No, they don't! So annoying. But I still like hot guys XDReplyDelete
I love these books! I am so looking forward to all things V.Roth this fall and next year with the movie. This is the book I recommend to everyone, YA readers, or not. :)ReplyDelete
I agree wholeheartedly with everything you said! I haven't re-read either book yet but I'm incredibly fuzzy on the details so I'll definitely need to read Insurgent if not both books before the third is released.ReplyDelete
My friends have reprimanded me for liking Divergent better than THG but seriously, it was way more interesting for me! They aren't having any of that though. Though I agree the romance was so incredibly cliche, Tobias is the bomb dot com (!!!) and I love him forever. Again, my friends don't see how I could possibly love this guy, but then again, what do they know? ;)ReplyDelete
Totally agree with all of the above. Hunger Games were my first dystopian and I do love them but I read Divergent straight after and they defo were the reason I fell in love with dystopian and YA and them combined.ReplyDelete
OMG! I love Divergent so much!!! I'm in Love with Four/Tobias. He is my dream man!!! I recommend reading Divergent and Insurgent before the movies come out. Don't get me wrong, I liked The Hunger Games, but I got really bored by like the third chapter in the third book. Please read Divergent and Insurgent!!! I promise you wont regret it! Tris and Tobias FOREVER!!! <3ReplyDelete