Monday, October 22, 2012
Divergent (Abnegation's the new Puritan)
This book was getting a lot of talk and piqued my curiosity. Young adult dystopian scifi? I could get behind this. I feel mildly conflicted on this book as a reader. It was a spectacularly fun read and I ripped through the book, but now that I've had time to mellow on it and think, I'm a little more subjective. The concept is phenomenal and the world is very fascinating with a clever new dystopian society. Beatrice as a character is who I feel conflicted about. She seems very detached for a lot of the book. Despite her romance with Four, she leans towards an emotionless response to things. While I can appreciate her struggles to stay strong, sometimes I felt a little lacking for internal reassurance that she's not so prickly. What I will say though is that her fights throughout everything make her a badass and that is something that kept me wanting to read along.
Dauntless be crazy #1: From the beginning of the book, we get the gist that these Dauntless folks are crazy mofos. But when they say they're daring, what they mean is they're pretty much Tyler Durden level nuts. Not that it doesn't make an entertaining read, it definitely does. If you aren't tough, you soon learn to be, or you die. Beatrice/Tris starts off strong, jumping off the roof first. Since she's from boring ol' Abnegation, she has to prove that she's tougher than the rest even though she's a slip of a thing. And these kids get brutal.
Dauntless be crazy #2: While Tris stayed in the middle ranks during the physical stuff, its the mental initiation where her Divergent juju really sticks out. During these simulations, its about addressing fears, but the Dauntless initiates are fully immersed. Except for the Divergents. They have the unique ability to realize they're in a simulation, a la The One style in the Matrix, and they can therefore manipulate their surroundings. The Divergent thing becomes more and more dangerous in this highly regulated government where things are supposed to work perfectly because people are supposed to perfectly fit their factions.
Dauntless be crazy #3: The problem with perfect dystopian societies is that they don't exist. Hence they all come crumbling down. The Erudite are crafty bastards (shocked, anyone?) and decide to take out the factions that they don't like. The Dauntless mental initiation? Zombie juice to take over all the Dauntless and use them as soldiers. Only issue with this plan are those pesky Divergents.This is where Tris and Four as well as all the other Divergents reveal themselves, because they won't mindlessly walk in to slaughter all of Abnegation. Tris turns into a badass and the remaining people in Abnegation rise up to fight against the Erudites.
Regardless of any qualms I had, the end of the book picks up in such a phenomenal way that its incredibly addictive and worth the read. The romance between Tris and Four is really engaging and I love the way they bond together. I'm definitely looking forward to the next book.