No spoilers, but mostly written for those who’ve already read the books.
For some weeks around August/September my brain was working at half-steam. Nothing was processed, sentences we were read endless times. So I want to wholeheartedly thank Veronica Roth and audio narrator Emma Galvin for showing me that not all was lost and I could still appreciate a good story.
To be honest, I still don’t know if I’d have enjoyed Divergent as much as I did if it wasn’t in the worst stage of my first trimester and my dad hadn’t died recently, but the fact remains that, as Carol says in As Good as It Gets, “What I needed, he gave me great”.
It was fast paced, the world-building was intriguing, the heroine not too annoying, the hero had the right amount of caring and brooding, and there was enough tension to keep me completely submersed in the story. Lots of violence and gore, but the sex stops at the tension, which I guess it’s the YA norm, but can often leave the reader a bit frustrated.
Be ready for a certain amount of YA clichés, but also expect to be thoroughly entertained. It’s the perfect escapist book.
It’s been many years since I’ve immediately picked up the next in the series after finishing with the previous one. No matter how much I love a book or how teasing the cliffhanger, I’m all about literary pleasure postponed. But it happened with Insurgent.
Unfortunately, we didn’t connect as much as I was expecting. It was still enjoyable and fast-paced, but I often preferred watching yet another old episode of Project Runway.
So now I’m in doubt whether the second book wasn’t really as good as the first, or if I was just getting out of the static brain zone I found myself and that, ironically, Divergent helped with.
The action was still there, as well as the world-building and knowing more about the other fractions was a real highlight, but some of the elements that were just right before went a bit overboard. I’m mostly referring to the romance. Oh the angst! Oh the same fumbling and kissing ad nauseam! And this time it’s not only the readers that get frustrated. Clearly the characters are feeling the stress as well, as they become over-emotional and tense to a point where what made them so great before becomes secondary. As does their world crumbling around them.
I think a lot of readers appreciated this focus on their relationship (that seems on repeat in every.single.conversation.), but I just wanted them to get organized, develop a clever plan, and find out what’s beyond the wall.
Also, while in Divergent Roth seemed to predict my doubts about the way her world works, in this one I found myself thinking “riiiiight” (skeptical eye rolling) at several stages. Mostly around the evil plan of the Erudite, who still haven’t proven to me just how brilliant they are. I can think of an easier way or five to seize power, not to mention their unconvincing motives for wanting it.
I’m still invested enough in the series to look forward to the third, though. It’s the least I can do for Veronica Roth.