Divergent - Veronica Roth I am aware that YA books have to be written in a certain style and that specific elements that appeal to a great many readers of some age (teens, here) will always be a part of this genre's grand scheme.

But, come on, Veronica Roth, you could've done better than that.

See, I think you have potential. Want to know why? Because you were able to create a dystopian world from scratch, you are capable of good writing and you're fairly good with first person narration. Before I'll start on any of the good or bad traits of this work here, here's this installment's summary.


The future isn't bright in this dystopian world. The population is classified in five factions, each of them dedicated to the cultivation of a particular human virtue: Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Every year, each sixteen year old has to go through a separation process, where he is forced to chose a faction in which he will live the rest of his life, and hold true to the values it preaches. In order to chose, you are tested. But some of the kids don't respond well to the test, and the supervisors can't tell them what they're supposed to be. They're called "Divergent". They don't belong to a single faction, because they have traits from more than one choice. They are both intelligent and honest, both peaceful and selfless. Or, like Beatrice Prior, this series' main character, selfless, brave and intelligent. She is one of the most frightening things that happened to their world - she has no faction, so she must be confined, but they don't know that yet. She makes a choice, when she pours her blood over her future faction's bowl, at the ceremony, and that choice doesn't hurt just her. It sets her free, but at what cost? After she arrives at the faction's headquarters, initiation begins, and she has to fight to be ranked first, so she can pass the tests. Her Divergent side fights with every rule, but she is still a kid, and doesn't know how to handle herself. Will she learn what to do with the information she finds?

Sounds good, see? Until now, this world looks pretty good to me. As ever, with a dystopian setting, you tend to believe even the unbelievable if it's handed to you, because it doesn't necessarily need to be possible. It all, somehow, makes sense, and dystopian writing is unique in this way.

By writing standards, this is not bad. It's not a delicate, intricate piece of art, but it's written in a fashion with which the reader can immediatelly connect. It's nice to let stories gallop through your head, at times.

I don't know if it has a real name, but I call this kind of writing the "jogger". It doesn't stop, rather it has different tempo's and stillness periods. For someone with a reading disorder, this kind of book is poison because you know, you know for sure, that you can cram in another fifty, sixty, maybe seventy pages before going to bed... and suddenly it's four a.m. and you're still awake.

Heroin books. They're not good, man. Not good for your health.

At the same time, the writing is thin and pretty much emotionless. The whole book looks more like a script, it's written in a suprisingly impersonal way for first person narration. You do get rushes sometimes, and wouldn't let the book down for anything, but Roth manages to majestically fuck up some scenes with greater potential.

I'm about to adress the bad parts. Bad part, more like it.

The main character.

Beatrice Prior is as stupid as a trash can and seems about as emotional as a bed post. I can't find it anywhere in me to believe in her, to give her a vote of confidence and let her do her thing. There's nothing credible in her aura, her personality is as entertaining as an elderly slumber party and she is so so shallow. Some of her actions, they don't seem plausible, and in a dystopian work I will accept anything that seems implausible until it touches the character. The world can be completely fake, completely fucked up, but the character has to be genuine and true and I have to be able to relate to it. I couldn't, considering that Tris' thought process was about as complex as my cat's!

Anyhow, these are my opinions after the first book. I have already started the second installment and I'll review all three of them, with the last one a more comprehensive look at the whole series.