Tris has to come to terms with killing a friend, and losing her parents, while trying to form and keep new alliances with The Factions (and Factionless). But nothing is black and white anymore…
I checked back, and it’s been two years since I read Divergent – high time I read Book Two, I thought, and I had some summer time reading space and went for it.
Despite the gap between the stories, I didn’t feel lost as to what was going on in this book. It’s almost self-contained, with enough back-story reminders to keep you on track. There’s a nice sequel hook at the end so you come back for Book Three to see how it all works out.
Roth sketches her world in rough outlines, with shades of grey and rain the predominant colours and weather, but despite that, you get a solid sense of place and are very grounded in this world and its characters.
I commented in the first book there didn’t seem to be much chemistry between Tris and her instructor, Tobias (now her lover). This time it seems more developed and the relationship more concrete. There seems to be more of a need for each other now.
Roth doesn’t hang about in this book. Her pacing is relentless; there aren’t many pages where the characters aren’t moving forwards to the next event. Tris is shifting locations constantly in this book, from Amity orchards to Candor confusing corridors. The pacing is almost too fast, and sometimes the action blurs into one.
Tris also changes alliances as her whims take her. I’m not sure I would Tris with my back in a fire-fight: She might decide the people we were supposed to be fighting have a better deal for her. It does make her character and the dynamics of her relationships more interesting though. Tris is a woman in conflict, with everyone around her and herself.
I will be coming back for Book Three…maybe in another two years.
I’ve just finished Insurgent and ‘Hmmmm…’ is the overwhelming thought in my head. There is something with this series I just don’t feel, and I think it’s because I find Tris difficult. There’s also the ‘faction thing’ for the people within the system: I find it hard to believe that they do not question a system that would seem to want you to be a particular way, but then encourages divergence by allowing the movement of people between the factions (nature / nurture…If they want pure, faction-matched people, why would the system allow movement…?) The conclusion of the book did go some way towards alleviating my issues there, in that it gives you an answer to the ‘why’; but it doesn’t explain why people inside the system should not see it as a flaw in their faction system to allow movement from one to another.
I’m not a Tris fan – I find her reactions to things too variable; she veers from being ultra-logical and self-aware to being obtuse and reactionary. Even with her ‘divergent’ brain I find it difficult to believe in someone so wildly erratic. It’s almost as though she switches from one faction stereotype to another, without a natural blending of the various faction natures coming together. Maybe I’m wrong and she’s like this exactly because of how she’s been raised and so she cannot blend the various elements together, just use one at a time…if that’s the case, there’s some logic to that, but I find it difficult to believe as a true reflection of human nature.
There are characters I like in this series: I like the Dauntless banter and passion (with people like Uriah) and I’m OK with Four; Christina I also like, just as I did in Divergent. And the books are well-written, so that you get a feel for the environment…but I find I’m just mildly ambivalent with the book as a whole.
Overall 3.5* – I found this book more interesting that the first – although it is reasonably long and I could walk away from reading it, so I know I wasn’t gripped. Seeing more of the other factions was good – Divergent was too much Dauntless training for me, with not much of interest until the end of the book. But Tris is not my cup of tea and I find that because I don’t relate to her, I empathise less.
Am I missing something with this series??