Friday, June 29, 2012

Divergent Book Review (with writers in mind)

Normally I don't do book reviews, but this book was such an enjoyable read that I wanted to praise it, as well as see what made it so great in order to apply to my own writing. I'm sure you've all heard that you should read like a writer, and that's exactly what I (tried) to do. So here it is my thoughts on Divergent.

Plot Summary according to Goodreads:
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.

Characters: Our main character Beatrice/Tris is interesting and is constantly dealing with her inner struggle between what's right and wrong. She's a bit of an underdog and sometimes her niceness is viewed as a weakness by herself and others. Although I liked her, sometimes she felt a tiny bit flat. There was just something niggling at me about her, but I don't know what exactly.
What I took away from her character:
-Give the MC honorable traits ( Tris's niceness, and humility)
-Let them screw up and go against their honorable traits (Whenever Tris did this my heart sped up a bit and I hurried onto the next page. I wanted to see what would happen because of that choice.)
-Everyone roots for the underdog
-Develop them a lot. Don't skip out on their character
-Make them relatable
-Make them exciting/do exciting things (People read to escape from reality, and every time Tris was about to do some daredevil stunt I was drawn into the story more)

There were lots of characters that were managed surprisingly well. If you have a large cast of characters for whatever reason (for this book it was because of the competition) choose a few to center in on and give them all very different names so there is no confusion on who's who.

The love interest. He needed his own paragraph. He was great! I may have a tiny character crush on him, tehe. What I learned:
-He wasn't perfect and love interests shouldn't be
-It didn't focus a ton on his appearance except when Tris and him were making out and that gave depth to his character (fyi this book had a few PG-13-esque scenes. Not so much that I felt like I should stop reading it, but it was there, just so you know.)
-He had back story and was relevant to the story in more then just the love interest role. It got me thinking about it in terms of "If the love interest wasn't the love intere
st would he still be needed in the plot of the story?" The answer should always be yes.
-They were good together, not on again off again. They made each other better. There wasn't constant drama between them.

Originality: Wow. Completely original and I didn't feel like I was reading something I've already read. A bit info-dumpy in the first few chapters, but that was quickly forgotten. What I learned:
-When creating so much don't info dump. Only tell the info if they absolutely must have it. It's better to just let the story go on and let the reader figure things out as they go.

Plot: It was amazing. Subplots and twists and turns were great. Ending felt a tad rushed. What I learned:
-There should always be a subplot(s)
-Take the time to think the plot out and drop hints/set up for the ending
-Don't introduce new characters that have never been mentioned before in the ending
-Use scenes that are important to the plot to develop character, don't just have scenes that are specifically for character building (or have very little)

Writing: Thinking back, I don't remember a thing about the writing itself, I just remember the story. What I learned:
-The words you use and writing style shouldn't distract the reader from the story. If the reader notices your writing style then you should consider toning it down a bit
-However that being said sometimes writing style will get noticed because it adds to the story (think Shatter Me or Blood Red Road), if in doubt obt for the going unnoticed, though

Ending thoughts:
If you liked the Hunger Games you're sure to like this book.
I would say age 15+. Maturity of the reader taken into account though, I would say at least in high school is the aimed for audience.
A book doesn't have to be incredibly deep, moving or lyrical to be entertaining. This book was pure fun!



  1. Hey! I noticed you visited my friend's blog :)
    If you're interested in writing blogs, check mine out! :3

  2. Awesome review (: I LOVE Divergent. I like this blog so far; I'll make sure to check back now and then!

    1. Thanks so much for the encouraging comment! Have you read Insurgent yet? It's pretty great as well. I'm trying not to read it too quick, so I can enjoy it longer:P


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