Last year I was unreasonably thrilled when I heard about the Divergent series that was doing the rounds. I’m usually quite excited about young adult novels, and felt the same way towards this book series. What added to my secret joy was the fact that this was about a dystopian, post-apocalyptic universe – a theme that I quite like.
I was fresh out of the quagmire of emotions that the Hunger Games series had put me in, and felt like I was ready for a similar experience. Don’t ask me what gave me the impression that the Divergent series would be remotely like the Hunger Games. Nothing did. I just let myself think that.
To be honest, the first book had all the makings of a good post-apocalyptic fiction. It had drama, enough suspense, and a dash of the story telling that takes you back and forth between the near past that the characters have left behind and the present that they are chasing. It gave us a character (protagonist) who had a good amount of guts and sensibility about her head.
Then the clichés started rolling in (like it happened in The 5th Wave). There were friendships forged on moving trains, a love interest that is ever-ready to save the damsel (whenever she is in distress), and a goal that takes shape within a few pages of the book starting – telling you where the book is headed.
This however does not take away from some of the creative elements that Veronica Roth has brought into the book – like the factions and the principles on the basis of which they are formed. While the suspense around the Divergent is quite gripping, the revelation about the why was kind of predictable. Nevertheless, Divergent made for an exciting, fun and easy read.
To me, it felt like Insurgent was a book that could have very nicely told its story in less than half the number of pages that it took up. Meetings with past ghosts, attacks from new ones, and deciding which is worse were all essential elements – however, they did not have to be spread over as many pages as they were. No. Definitely not. The story started slipping right about in the middle of the book.
Allegiant was a whole lot of noise. By the time I reached this book I had long since abandoned my “this is so gripping, I can’t wait to flip over to the next page” attitude. I traded it in for a “oh come on already, just get on with the story, I can’t wait to flip over to the next page” attitude.
I know this blog post seems more like a rant than an impression of what I felt after I read the book. But that’s honestly how I felt. I waited for a good long year before I even ventured to write this review, and this is exactly how I feel. And it’s only fair that I’m honest about it here.
Redeeming fact about this series: the anti-hero does not fall in love with the female protagonist.