Monday, August 12, 2013

Reflections: Divergent

Adam C. Zern sounds off on Veronica Roth's Divergent:

"To begin with, I cannot think of a single compelling reason to read Divergent.  Essentially every element I can think of in the book has been presented in other books and in a better way.  True, there are no truly unique stories, but that's not Divergent's issue.  Divergent's issue is that it is not only painfully derivative but it also doesn't do anything better than the books that inspired it.

Set in a post-apocalyptic backdrop of sorts, the reader will immediately see similarities to the incredibly popular Young Adult series The Hunger Games.  Again, this is not an inherently bad thing.  The problem is that The Hunger Games does everything better than Divergent.  In fact, I found myself laughing out loud at elements of Divergent that were most definitely not supposed to be funny.  Divergent presents a society fragmented into separate factions which fulfill separate but equally important roles.  The Dauntless faction are the warrior/defender class, the Abnegation are the selfless servants and political rulers, the Erudite (one of The Thousander Club's levels of accomplishment!) are the intellectual class, and the Candor faction are the straight-talking truth-bound class.  (There is also group of factionless individuals, but they matter so little to the story they’re not really worth mentioning).  Veronica Roth obviously had to find ways to present the attributes of each of these factions but the ways in which she does is so superficial it's somewhat comical. (The Dauntless faction, for example, jump off of a moving train as they travel from place to place to show bravery.  Nonsense).  The subsequent conflicts and struggles presented in the book become very generic and strangely predictable.  There was literally not a single moment of shock or surprise while I was reading Divergent

Divergent comes fully loaded with a love-story sub-plot that is full of teenage angst and longing.  Gratefully, Divergent does spare the audience the seemingly ubiquitous love-triangle conflict of many other Young Adult stories, which was one of The Hunger Games trilogy's more irritating attributes.  Yet, Divergent doesn't present a love-story that is unique or interesting in any kind of way.  It's just there because, apparently, it's a pre-requisite of writing a Young Adult fiction book. 

Divergent is not a good book.  It's extremely derivative and totally forgettable.  It's currently being adapted into a film, but that must be because it mirrors in so many ways the incredibly popular The Hunger Games trilogy; I have no idea why they would adapt it based on its merits.  I have read and largely enjoyed The Hunger Games trilogy, but I will most definitely not be reading the rest of the Divergent series.  One was definitely enough."

Other Topics of Interest:
Bedtime Stories with Adam & Sarah - Young Adult Fiction
Reflections: The Hunger Games


  1. Honey, people will always ride the gravy train until the wheels come off and they're on to the next fad. Critics of The Hunger Games have pointed to a novel written by a Japanese author as the source for the American version. Maybe?

  2. Interesting point of few...not that I was particularly keen on reading this series, but it seemed like something I had to look into, given the media buzz around it. On second thoughts, I will not waste my time...thank you for the honest review.

    1. Thanks for giving it a read and for joining The Thousander Club! Good to have you.

  3. Right on. I lol'd at times when people started randomly making out as well as dying. The reviews on Amazon for the rest of the series were hilarious.