This is my second post in what I hope will become a semi-regular book review. This is a popular series so I know people will have strong feelings. I promise I will still like you if you don't agree with my review (maybe).
Basic Review- no Insurgent spoilers, but there are Divergent spoilers:
Tris lives in Chicago in the near future where people are split into five factions based on their strongest personality trait: Abnegation (selflessness), Amity (peacefulness), Candor (honesty), Dauntless (bravery), and Erudite (intelligence). When children turn 16, they take an aptitude test to determine which faction they belong to. Tris, who grew up in Abnegation, tested to have equal aptitude for multiple factions (Abnegation, Erudite, Dauntless); this makes her Divergent, but she was told to never tell anyone because it is dangerous. She chose to switch factions and join Dauntless where she quickly became used to the Dauntless lifestyle.
After Tris' old faction Abnegation was ruthlessly attacked by Erudite using mind-controlled Dauntless, she travels with other refugees to Amity where she hopes to discover the reason behind the attack.
In Amity, she discovers that Abnegation, which runs the government, was about to release some top secret information that Erudite didn't want known. Tris does her best to find out this information while making the Erudite pay for their violence towards her old faction.
Tris also has a hot, moody boyfriend.
I want to like every book that has a strong female lead that appeals to all genders, but I couldn't get into this one. My biggest problem is with the world; it's so annoyingly simplistic. There is only a poor explanation for why factions exist and there's super advanced technology like mind control and aptitude tests that take place in your mind, but they're still using old timey trains (that never seem to stop), few people have cars, weapons are the same as present day, and students learn out of paper textbooks.
Also, Tris runs to trouble for the sake of it, which would be fine if she didn't manage to escape each and every time (there's a third book out, so I don't think it counts as a spoiler to find out that she lives).
Recommendation: Was it entertaining? Meh. If you really feel like you're missing out on this pop culture phenomenon then just read "Divergent". Instead I recommend reading some other dystopias: Shades of Gray by Jasper Fforde, House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer, and Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood.
Now with SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS:
I wish Tris would stop obsessing over the whole Will thing. Yes she can mourn him and yes she can feel bad that she killed him, but oh my god, he was about to kill you with a gun and he was under mind control. You did what you had to do. Stop thinking that it could've gone another way.
Like I said above, how does Tris manage not to die? Let's recap some of the crazy situations she managed to get out of alive: she walks straight into Candor where she was arrested, she goes back to warn the other divergent people with just a pocket knife while the Dauntless traitors are inside, she eavesdrops on Max, she gives herself up for execution to the Erudite, she sneaks into Amity with Marcus, and she infiltrates Jeanine's private lab. I get it, if she dies there is no story. BUT STILL, it could be a little bit believable.
But, my least favorite part: THE ENDING. I thought it might be heading towards the city in the bottle trope since their world only occupies the Chicago area, but it felt like the Roth ran out of twists and threw this on last minute.
Do you disagree? Tell me why! What were your (least) favorite parts? Are there other things you want to talk about, like how sexuality is portrayed (I'm looking at you AdamAntoinette)? I wanted to keep the post short-ish, but I'd love to discuss more in the comments.