Divergent (Divergent, #1) by Veronica Roth
I cannot deny–it’s a really cool story…
But I’ve read the reviews of the last book. I never look at spoilers–EVER. But I did this time. The negative reviews of the final book were so passionate, and I had decided I wasn’t going to read the series anyway–what would be the harm? So I know what happens in the the end that got everyone so angry. And now I’m reading them. I couldn’t resist. Crap. Maybe it will turn out to be a good thing I the end. I hope so, because I really hate bad endings.
I have three things to say about the Divergent Series.
1) It’s a lot of fun for 2 and 3/4 books.
2) The last 1/4 of the last book stunk and ruined the entire series.
3) The love story is cheesy and gives the 11 to 14 year old girls reading the series a skewed and inappropriate idea of what first love is like.
I always say that a book or a book series (which is really just one long book broken into parts) is only as good as its ending. What you are left with when you close the cover on the end means more than all the stuff that came before. As fun as the story of Tris, Tobias, and friends was, it means nothing when the ending makes me wish I hadn’t read it at all.
You know what the kicker is? I even knew it was coming. I never, NEVER read spoilers. But this ONE time I did. I always wait to start a series until the last book has been written–I hate cliffhangers and waiting years for them to be resolved. I knew Divergent had a ton of fans and I was just waiting for the final book to come out, but when it did and the reviews were horrible I decided to investigate. I didn’t want to read something I was going to hate! When I realized what had even the most passionate fans ready to rumble, I decided I wouldn’t even start. But then Amazon went and had them as a Kindle Daily Deal and I couldn’t resist. I wish I had. So there’s that.
My other gripe is a bit harder for me to put into words. I read books both for me and for my kids. I want them to love getting lost in a story as much as I do. I know first hand how powerful words can be, especially how words in books can shape perspective, understanding, and expectations of things that someone has never experienced for themselves. If you have never been to Alaska read “The Snow Child” and you’ll feel like you grew up there. Want to know what it’s like living in small-town Mississippi? Read a John Grisham novel. Want to know how it felt to experience the 9/11 terrorist attacks in Manhattan? Read “Peace in Amber” and you’ll think you were there. Its been 17 years, but I still to this day think I know what’s it’s like to be an 11-year-old girl because I read “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” when I was 10. So, do I want my 12-year-old daughter to learn what first love is like by reading about Tris (who is 16, has never even held a boy’s hand, yet can navigate romance with the skill of a seasoned adult) and Tobias (who is 18, never had a girlfriend, and has super human control over his hormones)? No! No! No! Their relationship is not real. It’s too fast and too mature. All three books are full of examples of what I’m talking about . . . descriptions of being swept away by amazing kisses or everything wrong in the world becoming right when his little finger finds skin just below the hem of her T-shirt. I’m sad for the kids who read about Tris climbing in bed with Tobias wearing only a T-shirt and underwear, wrapping her legs around him under the covers, making out with passion and feeling, rubbing hands on hips and up and down bare backs, and then stopping to chastely fall asleep together, Tobias protecting Tris from her bad dreams. So romantic! So ideal! So not real! Someone who has experienced love can filter the fantasy from the reality. But children who have Tris and Tobias to thank for their first experience with love are going to be disappointed when one day their expectations fail to meet with their reality. So, as much as my daughters and sons may want to read the Divergent Series, I’m going to insist they wait.
In fact, I’m going to be suggesting the skip the Divergent Series all together.