Okay, so YOU probably haven’t been waiting for this review. But I’ve certainly been waiting a very long time to finish this series and post my thoughts.
Oh dear, dear Veronica Roth. You are amazing. And you suck so terribly. But alas, so amazing.
What I love most about the series is that the entire trilogy is one long story. None of them can stand alone. With The Hunger Games, the first book is awesome, but you can’t read the second without the third and vice versa. With Harry Potter, each book has a beginning and and end, but yet they’re all connected. Even with The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy, there’s a beginning and end to each book, but you still can’t’ read the second without the third. Not so with Divergent. You can’t read one without the other without the other. And she weaves such a beautiful story throughout.
There are a bazillion different things I could write about. Like I could post the summary, but chances are you’ve already read it and don’t care. Or you haven’t read it and won’t read this post in case there are spoilers. I could compare this book to The Hunger Games trilogy. But I’m guessing you could find a million of those posts all over the interwebs. I could also write about the this whole Utopian/post-apocalyptic theme that’s running in YA literature. But that’s another post for another time (and another website.
Instead, what I’m going to write about are the characters.
Because, oh man, these characters.
I’ve written before about how I’ve found the best characters in 21st century literature. But I’m going to have to amend that statement by saying that Celia and Marco are the best characters in ADULT literature. Because I have learned that Tris and Four are the best characters in YA literature.
First, I have to commend the author on the amazing job she did on making an entire dystopian world so very real. The second I started reading I felt like I was Beatrice, I was living in her city, and I would’ve left Abnegation to go to Dauntless, too. And then throughout her entire initiation process I felt like I was also a Dauntless initiate. And I cried at the end of Divergent–which made my students look at me weird–and I audibly gasped aloud saying, “OH EM GEE” at the end of Insurgent–which also made those students look at me weird–and I bawled my eyes out at the end of Allegiant–which made the husband roll his eyes.
What I love about Tris and Four are their chemistry. But not they’re lovey-dovey, can’t live without each other, let me stroke your jawline chemistry. More their motivations for leaving Abnegation and their determination at being Dauntless, and their sense of protecting each other and their loved ones. They’re insightful, well-rounded, well-developed characters hardened by their past, their present, and their future. They take on the world just the two of them because that’s the only one they have and the only one they trust. (And for good reason. There are some whacked out characters in this series.) The two of them steam off the page and tell their story in front of my eyes.
But even if Tris and Four weren’t so steamy, their individual characters would be just as palpable. It’s a case where the two are certainly better together, but even a story about just one of them would get me reeling and wanting more. They’re strong and mature and don’t take things lightly. They’re also a little juxtaposed throughout the story. Tris wants to leave Abnegation in order that she might figure out who she is. Four has spent so long ignoring his old life that he has created a persona of himself, and it isn’t until he finds Tris that he realizes he hasn’t grieved his past and that he doesn’t know himself as well as he thought.
I think most people could argue that this book is all about mindsets and points of views and what happens when one group of people think themselves higher than another. It could almost be a reflection of today’s society. And I’d agree with those people. But I think more than that this is a book about identity–another common YA lit theme–about how events and people shape who you are and how your choices can define you.
And that ending, oh my gosh that ending. It was so wrong and perfect all at the same time. I loved what she wrote and hated that she did it. It was so appropriate and just reinforced the entire theme of making choices that will define you as a person, that no one is ever who you think they are, and that it takes more than just one person to tell a story.
If you haven’t read this trilogy yet, DON’T! At least, don’t start until you have access to all three books. I started it before Allegiant was published, and then was number 110394320 in line at the library to get it after it came out and it drove me bonkers. So if you don’t plan on purchasing all three right away, then wait until you can get it easily at the library. Because once you start, I promise you won’t want to finish.