I admit I have been struggling a little to keep up with this of late for a couple of reasons, one I have been super busy and two I have found it a little hard to finish my current book. This is strange because I usually enjoy this author and I am not quite sure what I am not connecting with.
So I decided to take a break from reading and talk about a series of books I read earlier in the year that I was somewhat disappointed by. I was already wanting to write about this series (particularly after seeing the movie) and then I read a post titled 30DBC Day 08: Most overrated book check it out it’s really good and really got fired up about it again. So here we go…
Book Series: Divergent Universe
Author: Veronica Roth
DTB rating: 2.5/5 stars – it loses .5 of a point for the ending
Let me start by saying that I really, really wanted to like this series. It had such promise, perhaps that jaded me a little – who knows, what I do know is I was disappointed.
There were some really good parts of this series, I was lucky enough to read the books all in a row so there was no time between them and the story was a lot more seamless that way. I know of others who have read them as the books came out though that could not keep track of who was on what side and who was betraying who – there was a lot of betrayal and fence jumping and general spy and sly behaviour going on. Sometimes it felt a little jumbled – for me to say that is a big thing because I have no trouble keeping the Song of Fire and Ice series straight and that should be a lot more complex 🙂
I did enjoy most of the characters in the book in general. Although I was disappointed at times in the relationship between Tris and Four in the second and third books, this is YA Fiction and what this quite famous series tells YA about relationships is that it is okay to deceive and betray your significant other under the guise that you are either protecting them or going to do something incredibly stupid, but only if you apologise later. If you apologise then everything is okay and that is healthy. It is only (I think) quite a bit through the third book that they kind of go… wait maybe this is not an okay thing to do in a relationship – then technically Tris does it again anyway by sacrificing herself for her terrible traitor brother who had previously tortured her.
Which brings me to the ending… what was the point of killing off the heroine? I have no problem killing the protagonist – I really don’t (hello Game of Thrones fan here), but I don’t agree with it when it has no meaning to the plot. In this case it just meant instead of celebrating we had 20 pages of Four being depressed and thinking about erasing his memory, he only refrained from erasing his memory when another character guilted him out of it. To be honest I felt like Four looked more selfish across these pages which was really frustrating to me when I had just been so proud of the growth the character had shown in dealing with his parents. If you’re going to kill Tris then sure have some despair, but make him quickly realise that he needs to make her death worth something.
Personally I would have had her survive the bullets, but be paralysed. This physical restraint on her would have forced her to stop being so reactionary to situations and would have helped her character grow and mature into perhaps a leader for a bunch of people who would be very scared and very lost at first. Instead of fast forwarding two years to see Four only just starting to get his life back together and scattering Tris’ ashes. I truly hope they change the end of the movie so that she either ends up like Professor X or she lives (less awesome end if she lives, but still way better than the way her death was played out).
Also can I just say that there seemed to be a lot of unnecessary death for a YA series! For instance there was really no reason plot wise for Tori to be killed off and then to find out a couple of pages later that the brother she though Jeanine had killed was still alive and well. It did not advance the plot at all, it just seemed cruel.
I actually basically enjoyed the movie, I think the changes they made from the book in general were necessary to advance the plot appropriately. I think the changes to the ending made sense because you needed that show down Boss style – which I am sure was difficult for Kate Winslet while six months pregnant so good for you love!
The casting in general I thought was quite good, Eric was surprisingly good – when I read the book I pictured him differently, but they chose really well. Tony Goldwyn did well as Andrew Prior and almost made me forget that he killed Patrick Swayze in Ghost and then tried to move in on Molly/Demi, Ashley Judd as his wife Natalie was also lovely – some things were changed in her storyline particularly just before she died and I am interested to see how they adapt the rest of the storyline in the follow up movies to compensate. Kate Winslet did very well in her first “Baddie” role kudos to her. Shailene Woodley showed a great emotional range and I think did justice to the character – my god that girl has a lot of hair! Miles Teller as Peter did really well, the only problem was that because of some of the stuff cut out of the story you didn’t really understand how much of a psychopath Peter was so when you found him awake at the Dauntless compound it didn’t really make sense, you also weren’t really aware that he was one of the people who tried to kill Tris. One of the pleasant surprises in the films was Christian Madsen as Al, he was really good. I was quite impressed with his portrayal – this was the first time I have come across his work, but I am very interested to see what else he has on his resume. Particularly the last scene you see him alive… just perfectly played 🙂
Aside from everything I just said about the movie though I absolutely have to mention this as all through the movie it jumped out at me… apparently there are no blood transmitted diseases in that world because they were sharing needles all over the place! It was so noticeable to us that my co-watcher started saying things like, “here’s a little hep C for you, you want some too? Here you go sir, enjoy that hep C won’t you”.
It really doesn’t matter who wins the Divergent war if they are all going to die of bloodborne pathogens.