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Divergent, Insurgent, & Allegiant (Divergent series) by Veronica Roth

26 Nov

Possibly you remember I’ve written in passing how great the Divergent series is! Since the final book was released about a month ago (sorry, been busy with my newly minted firstborn), I can finally review the whole series for you! Aren’t you lucky? ūüôā

First I just want to talk briefly about why I think they are great books and teens identify with them so readily. Being a teen means you’re facing a chasm where the gap of childhood doesn’t quite meet adulthood. Big major choices lie ahead and the future stretches out dark, unknown, and terrifying before you. College? Getting a real job? Leaving the safety and familiarity of Mom and Dad… Maybe a deep relationship and commitment? Your choices are all overwhelming and immediate and determine the entire rest of your life. This is what teens first identify with in Divergent, and the second is also just as important, that of finding out your own identity. The person you are inside that makes those choices. Let’s explore the series, but don’t follow if you’re a pansycake.

divergent series

Divergent

In dystopian Chicago, sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior is facing a choice that will determine the rest of her life, same as the others her age.They must choose one of the five factions which each favor a certain trait: Abnegation which values selflessness, Dauntless which values bravery, Amity which values kindness, Candor which values honesty, or Erudite which values intelligence. When Beatrice’s faction aptitude test goes awry, she finds out she is Divergent Being Divergent is dangerous in their society, and something Beatrice would be killed for. Still, she must choose between her family and what she feels is her true identity. However, the hard choices do not stop there as Beatrice becomes Tris and must overcome the initiation process into her chosen faction. There she finds friends, enemies, fear, strength, and love, but ultimately, her Divergent values will out and leave her in a fight for her life, her family, and her faction.

Divergent coming to the big screen March 2014. Watch the teaser here. First trailer here.

(It should be fairly obvious since I’m discussing a trilogy, but if you don’t like spoilers and haven’t finished the book, don’t keep reading! This is especially important after the review of Insurgent.)

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Insurgent

By ending the simulation control of the Dauntless at the end of¬†Divergent that leave Tris, Tobias, and their family on the run from the Erudite and Dauntless traitors, their main goal is to stop the Erudite from controlling and killing everyone to eliminate the Divergent. They begin their quest by trying to find allies with Amity and Candor but both are no help. They, and the true Dauntless, decide to make a stand themselves by allying with the huge population of factionless to stop Jeanine Matthews and her Machiavellian quest for control of the city. Our heroine, Tris, is still very much crippled by her hard choices in Divergent and grapples with the grief and survivor’s guilt that plague her but still affect every choice she makes. As with all choices, once made you can only move forward or stand still, and Tris is no exception as she struggles to come to terms with her parents’ sacrifice and her own sense of attempting to be both selfless and brave, worthy of both Abnegation and Dauntless.

(Remember, if you haven’t read Allegiant, don’t follow the periods after the review below!)

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Allegiant

In Allegiant, Evelyn and the factionless have installed a new dictatorship. Those who wish to keep their factions and form a new moral and democratic social order form the Allegiant. They also want to find what is outside their city and why the Divergent are so important. Tris, Tobias, Christina, Caleb, Peter, and Uriah are part of the group that go outside the city’s borders and discover The Bureau, a government group that is responsible for establishing experiments like the one in Chicago to attempt to create genetically pure people, the Divergent, and cure those who are genetically damaged. Using the dual narration between Tris and Tobias, we discover the secrets behind the factions, Tris’s family, and just how much love has the power to change. You won’t be able to put it down until the final battle wages.

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SPOILERS HERE!

It’s no secret that the ending of the Divergent trilogy is controversial for most fans. As with all beloved series, readers have their own hopes for the end, and there is the possibility of disappointment. In my opinion, it’s a literary and spiritual triumph, but that’s not what I’m here to discuss as V. Roth already hashed her ideas on that. (Just keep reading. I linked it.) I want to talk briefly about my feelings but more on just what the reader experiences and what I find disappointing about the conclusion to the series.

Veronica Roth revealed that there was a controversial death in Allegiant, and if you read it, you know that our heroine, Tris Prior, dies because she finally understands the meaning of sacrificing herself the way her parents did. While I fully accept and understand why this was necessary and made Tris’s story a powerful one, one that entirely changed her world (Veronica writes about it here), I do not have to be happy with it. So I’m not, because I loved Tris. Her death is somehow my death, the reader’s death. And yet, we are also Tobias, left with the gaping hole in our hearts that Tris will never occupy anymore. We suffer the same grief and emptiness because Tris’s inner beauty and strength of will made us irrevocably love her. We also feel grief because of our love of Tobias. His struggle and great sense of loss make us hurt for him because we hoped, ah we hoped, that he would have a happy ending. Finally.

Because I just finished the book, I am still in the early stages of grief…anger and sadness and despair. I cannot come to the point where Tobias is in the epilogue, a state we would get to eventually. I find it hard to accept that she died, that we get no happy ending for our two lovers, and just how Tobias could possibly move on and find another person that isn’t Tris. I suppose I am a romantic at heart in this way…I can’t picture him with anyone else.

Also, I’m going to be very, very sad to see Shailene Woodley die in the films. ūüė¶ Many tears will be shed and many tissues used (or a warm sleeve).

If anyone else has any thoughts, please leave them for me in the comments.

In other news, I’m looking forward to seeing Catching Fire very soon!

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Posted by on November 26, 2013 in Dystopian/Utopian Fantasy, Young Adult/Teen

 

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