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‘Divergent’ lacks complexity of other action-adventure novels

Jan. 16, 2014 |

By Molly O’Neil molly@thereminder.com I was expecting “Divergent” by Veronica Roth to be a fast-paced action-adventure novel similar to the “Hunger Games,” but it lacked excitement and the concepts didn’t require any complex analysis on my part. For people who want to spend the winter near a warm fireplace with an easy read, I recommend “Divergent,” otherwise, wait for the movie, which will be in theaters on March 21. The story is about Beatrice Prior, played by Shailene Woodley in the film. Beatrice has to choose a “faction” in society for the rest of her life. The test that determines where she belongs is inconclusive, a rare occurrence, so she makes the decision herself. I started to dislike the book by the end of the third chapter when Beatrice was tested. It was predictable that the main character would be unique and could easily create a hole in the system. I read a little bit more than half of “Divergent,” which is actually the first in a series of three works, followed by “Insurgent” and “Allegiant.” The setting was always descriptive, but the author neglected to put detail into other parts of the storyline. The inner reflections Beatrice had were sometimes simple comments that seemed like filler sentences. With the author so focused on a flawed society, it was difficult to read about any action. I?would have appreciated more effort with fighting scenes in order to be set on edge as a reader. The author constantly brought up the fact that people in their factions follow a strict stereotype: Abnegation are “selfless,” Candor are “honest,” Amity are “peaceful,” Erudite are “intelligent,” and Dauntless are “brave.” Beatrice was raised in Abnegation, but she chose to live in Dauntless. I found it difficult to believe that so many people in Beatrice’s society could be so simply classified as people are more complex than Roth creates in her novel. There were a few characters that had more than one of the categorizing traits for a certain faction. Beatrice could be in Abnegation, Dauntless, or Erudite, and it is later revealed that her mother of Abnegation was a former Dauntless. Divergent people are supposed to keep it a secret that they are as such. Of course, the Divergents will start a revolution in the dystopia. I’m still curious to know how “Divergent” ends. Hopefully the movie will be more entertaining than the book and I won’t have to stop watching it halfway through.

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