In a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.
I finally read this. After all the hype, I expected something amazing. The adventure, the romance, the suspense just composed the next YA movie franchise. Though the cover just screams “The Hunger Games” in my face, I can’t even say both stories differ too much in terms of formula, strong girl as the protagonist, handsome lover from the same “faction”/ “district”, semi-dystopia, and manipulative simulations. It was a book hat was almost impossible to put down. Every time I took a break, the story would gnaw in my brain until I went back to it, almost like an addiction.
Veronica Roth has conjured up a plot that had be tingling even after the last word was read. However, I found that her characters often turn into a jumble. Perhaps it’s a structure issue, but there are times I have to do a double-take to find out who exactly does “He” refer to.
Character development is lacking, I am still not sure what any of the characters look like aside from some being buff, Four being handsome (I went through half of the book before realizing he was only 18 since I assumed initiation “leaders” would be at least in their mid-twenties) and Tris being shorter than everyone else…and not pretty. SPOLIER ALERT FOR THE NEXT SENTENCE: I do have to give it to Roth for building up the suspense with Four revealing himself as Tobias though as it was completely unexpected granted I forgot that Tobias was even mentioned.
Aside from fleshing out characters, it was also hard to grasp what was going on, especially in Tris’ first fight against Peter. Perhaps it’s because Tris is in a confused daze, that within a page, she goes down.
With that said, I appreciated the multiple dimensions in Tris, the conflicts between Dauntless and Abnegation, her rebellious attitude that comes off as realistic even though she can be a jerk at times. Though unlike most protagonists, her strength is not in her fighting ability, but in her character. Tris never turns into a brilliant fighter, but her mental strength shines through. It is hard to root for a character is such an action-filled novel who is still a “weakling” who only has a bit of speed under her belt. She is hurt so often that you almost give up on her.
Around three quarters, the story turns slightly bland with Tris still in the middle of initiation, it makes you wonder when a climax will occur, and I don’t think it really happened unless I count the fiasco rushed near the end.
The romance, I still think is pure infatuation. I never felt the chemistry between characters and all of a sudden they turn into a couple. For a sixteen year old, they kiss way more than they talk. The ferris wheel being the start of their relationship didn’t seem to be fully developed. I am not sure a “leader” is supposed to run off in the middle of strategical planning. Tris climbing a ferris wheel despite her severe injuries was too much of a stretch, and when it was revealed the ferris wheel could move, I was disappointed. I read the last few pages about her climbing up this thing, only for her to hit the floor without doing anything? Also, the entire capture-the-flag incident was so brisk, it felt superfluous.
Nonetheless, I love the book’s hidden message, which I am still analyzing the more I ponder. The diversity in human character, the cause of wars, and the limits of virtues.