Wednesday, December 11, 2013


*  How To Write A Real Page-Turner, Part I
*  Interview with author Scott Tarbet
*  Book Review:  Divergent by Veronica Roth

Veronica Roth
Ages 14-17

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.


With all the buzz surrounding the upcoming release of the DIVERGENT film, I thought I ought to finish reading the series before going to see the movie. I listened to both Divergent and Insurgent via Audible on my Ipod.

Fans of The Hunger Games are probably going to be drawn to the Divergent series. There are many similarities due to the dystopian genre and the high level of violence and action, and many parallels can be drawn between the characters. Tris, the protagonist in Divergent, is tough as nails and is drawn to the Dauntless faction by her talent for weapons and combat.Tobias is aloof and strong, yet fiercely loyal to Tris. But what left me feeling a bit disappointed is the absence of powerful emotional connections and an overarching grand theme.

What I loved about The Hunger Games trilogy is that Katniss is thrown into the arena out of her devotion to her sister, Prim. She willingly puts herself between danger and those she loves. Love is the motivating force between everything she does. Tris has no deep, emotional driving force. She is, instead, searching for her own identity, her own place in her society.  There is nothing wrong with that, of course.But I mention this here because the fact is the two series are being compared.

Also, The Hunger Games managed to weave contemporary concerns and issues of government control, the value of life, and class inequality into a very entertaining speculative fiction tapestry. Having finished Insurgent, I haven't yet seen any themes that can be easily applied to our own real society. Again, nothing wrong with that. The book is completely exciting and action-packed. And I enjoyed it. But where The Hunger Games still has me thinking about it and wanting to go back to read it again and again, I am not feeling the same about Insurgent and Divergent.

Okay. Having said all that, and putting the comparisons aside, Insurgent is a worthy follow-up to Roth's first book. It has all the intensity and suspense and action I expected. Not a lot of surprises, but it kept me interested all the way through. I will finish the series with the newly released Allegience, and then treat myself to some popcorn at the movies.

My overall rating of Insurgent:


Profanity:  None
Sexuality:  Mild
Violence:  High

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