By Veronica Roth
I only checked out this book because the author (on her blog) seems like a really nice person and the book is being made into a movie.
The book starts off as a cross between the Harry Potter Sorting Hat Ceremony and the Hunger Games. But then it really takes a Hunger Games turn when the kids have to fight each other. But it’s not as brutal (to me) because they’re not fighting to kill. Also, they’re only fighting to be accepted.
About 75 pages into it I guessed who the main boy character (Four) was (I mean, who he REALLY was – cough cough). There were very little surprises in this book. Everything was expected. But, it was a page turner. Though, I will admit to skimming because, well, it wasn’t that entertaining. You can pretty much read the first and last sentence of each paragraph and get the idea with this book. It’s not complicated stuff.
Granted, it was more fun to read than the Hunger Games. Though, I don’t think it will make for a very great movie (I really liked the Hunger Games movie).
Why won’t it make a great movie? The world building is kind of bland. It was hard for me to picture – she relied too heavily on making me use my imagination to decorate her world. Although, I really hate it when people bog down their stories with too much world-building. Really, she might as well have said “This setting is kind of like in the Hunger Games. Dystopia, but less Rococo than the Capitol. Done.”
Because that’s basically what she did say. She spends more time describing the uniforms of the fractions than the actual world. Though, I don’t know if that’s a bad thing.
(Can you tell that my passive critique is actually me having very little ‘feelings’ about this book? That should tell you something about the story itself).
Now, as I said, it was a good book to skim – so simple just to glance over. I even skimmed the romance parts – which were really the only things holding the book together.
There were too many dream and dream-like sequences – I lost count toward the end, but who wants to be taken from “reality” THAT much?
On the Factions: The message of the book is more like a pro-con list of human traits. Each human trait has its limitations and gains. I guess the moral of her story was that you can’t and shouldn’t be “one” thing – humans are more complex than that. You shouldn’t go after knowledge for the sake of knowledge or strength over the sake of strength. I get it. And I certainly think her target audience (16 year olds) would get it too.
Because her message is so clear it makes the story itself platitudinous.
If I had any real beef with the book, it would be about how all the boys like Tris (the main character). You could even argue that one boy commits suicide because he can’t be with Tris.
Despite even her boyfriend admitting Tris isn’t the prettiest girl in the faction, she gets a lot of action. But, overall, I’m glad there wasn’t some Twilight love triangle in the center of the book.
And Four (the main boy character) is VERY MUCH older than Tris (who is 16) She’s not even legal, yet they make out and touch each other a lot. This is book pretty much gives underage girls the OK to go after older guys. But boy are they going to be surprised when said older guys are NOT as abstinent as Four.
IMO, they should have just had sex and gotten it over with – it would let girls get their ‘fix’ without letting them think such romance is attainable in their own lives. I think I would have respected the book more then. Otherwise, the characters’ relationships are little more purposeful than Twilight’s.
6/10. The book was average, but didn’t change my life. The world doesn’t need more kids-hurting-kids dystopias. I don’t really care about what happens in the next book, so I won’t be reading it. However, this first book, here, wasn’t a total waste of time. Could have used more jokes, less action, less dream sequences. This book only appeals to young girls, which I don’t like because now I won’t be able to talk about this book to my guy friends.