Tag Archives: Veronica Roth

Insurgent DVD Release August 4th!

30 Jul

Hey all!

I hope you saw my post a few weeks ago about how I was a bit frustrated with all the changes between the Insurgent book and the Insurgent movie. My favorite book of the trilogy and I felt it was ripped apart and glued back together in a weird order. Not my happiest post.

Well, someone reads my blog and I was contacted by a press agency who asked me to share a clip to celebrate the release of Insurgent on DVD and after checking it out, I realized it was all legitimate. And the clip was great. It focuses on Veronica Roth talking about the changes she had to concede to while adapting the book.

You can watch the video at this link. It got me thinking about my writing. It would be hard to let go of some things to compact it into a 2-hour movie. I think it’s awesome she was so involved in the process. It’s obvious she had to give in at some points and you can tell from the clip she’s not overly excited about it. But she was professional and stuck to her message and I have to commend her for that.

Until next time, write on.

You can follow me on Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. I’m available via email at SamAStevensWriter@gmail.com. And as always, feel free to leave a comment!


Insurgent Movie- Please just make one more.

23 Jun
Poster image via IMDb.com

Poster image via IMDb.com

I will be honest here and say I avoided seeing this movie. I know it came out three months ago, but I was disappointed with the previews and knew from those how far from the book the screenwriters had deviated. So I didn’t want to see it. But then last week I wanted to see a movie and this was the only thing that looked remotely interesting and it was only $3 at the second-run theater. So I saw it. And while I was disappointed with how much changed, I still enjoyed it. But yet again, the ending. I’ll get to it.

Things I Thought Were Awesome

Set design. Yes, the sweeping shots of post-apocalyptic Chicago were awesome, but the amount of detail the set designers paid to Amity and the Factionless was incredible. Especially the Factionless and the inside of Evelyn’s apartment. It gave them the appearance of being organized which helped the moviegoer reorganize his thoughts about the group.

Jerk Factionless guy. He gave the group a voice without it seeming disjointed and I thought he was a really good add. Plus the train fight scene was pretty intense.

Changes That Didn’t Really Bother Me

The box. The previews made me want to hate whatever was in the box, but in the end, I think it was a good way to simplify the plot and give a good reason for Jeanine.

Downplaying Marcus. In the book, Marcus was right out annoying and any issue he had with Four was well downplayed. I thought Four had enough to deal with when his mother showed up and he didn’t need his pestering father around as well.

Tris’s fear of guns. In the book, she was so squeamish around guns because of what she’d done to Will. It was almost annoying. I understood her reaction, but I felt the nightmares she had in the movie were a better manifestation and were more in line with her character because she should still do anything necessary to survive.


Things That Were Taken Out and I’m Still Wondering Why

Tris’s execution. In the book, it was very deliberate and very public. Her death was Jeanine’s way of showing she had won. Tris’s death in the movie was very small and private and Jeanine didn’t seem to think too much of it at all. It didn’t have the right feel to it.

Knowing Tris was second generation. I loved that we never found out how Jeanine knew this. It made me like Jeanine. But in the movie, we don’t know what this means and we don’t hear it at all. What gives?

The amount of Divergent in Factionless. It makes sense that so many of the Factionless are Divergent. They don’t fit in at any one place, so they’re Factionless. It made them stronger to me, but this small fact seems to have been left out.

Things That Changed Too Much

The Ending. I walked out mad because of this. Instead of eight or so people knowing what’s going on and leaving the wall, we’ve got five thousand on our hands. What are the experiment leaders going to do with this amount of people in the next movie? How can the plot even be remotely similar? I’m really confused at the enormity of this change and what the writers were thinking. It was way too much.

Casting for Evelyn. She looked 32 and Four looks 27. There’s too much of an age discrepancy here and it was weird.

Reader, I’m dying to know what you think. What did you think of the Insurgent movie? Did it change the book too much for you to enjoy? Do you think Allegiant will be made into two films? Was there anything else you would add to my lists?

Until next time, write on.

Divergent Movie- Did They Change Too Much?

24 Mar

I saw the Divergent movie Friday night with Nicole and my husband and I’m still not sure what I thought of it. I read the book last month and knew that a film would be different, but I wasn’t sure how different. There were things I thought were very well done, things that were taken out I’m still wondering why, things that changed that didn’t bother me, and there were some changes I couldn’t really wrap my head around. I was hoping to discuss here so we can talk about it and decide what to think.

Things I Thought Were Awesome
My favorite part of the movie (and my husband’s as well) was the zipline. It’s hard to describe in words what a zipline like that would look like, but the visual portrayal was awesome. I loved it.

Eric. I think Jai Courtney was absolutely amazing. When I was reading the book, I pictured Eric as a smaller guy but a huge bully. Courtney’s portrayal of him made my heart clench because he really was scary at times. The image fit his character very well.

Dauntless initiates welcome dinner. I loved that the Dauntless picked all the initiates up and honored them. It was a great way to show that they were connected and had a strong community. With how rushed the other Dauntless scenes had to be, I think this was really good to show.

Changes That Didn’t Really Bother Me
Taking out Ed. I think what Peter does to Tris is enough to develop his character and his attack on Ed doesn’t need to be in the plot for it to still make sense.

The capture the flag scene. They changed the setting from an open field to a tall building, but I could live with it because it looked awesome. Yes, Tris got the flag instead of Christina, but I thought Christina grabbing the flag from in front of Tris was a little out of character and damaged an otherwise healthy relationship between Tris and Christina. I liked that the fight with Molly was during this scene instead of by itself.

Tris wasn’t short. It was mentioned so many times in the book but didn’t develop her character for me. I liked this change.

The actor playing Tobias was almost 30. I was worried before I saw the film, but when I did see it, it worked for me. The ages of Tris and Tobias were stressed so much in the book; she’s 16 and he’s 18. But the film didn’t stress this. We’re never told the age of those in the choosing ceremony and it’s never said that Tobias is two years older than them. So it didn’t matter that Woodley is 22 (+6 years) and James is 29 (+11 years). It still worked.

Dauntless-born initiates. In the book, this other group featured prominently, but the movie only had them in a few scenes. This didn’t really bother me because they don’t come into play much in this book, but I could see missing Uriah being an issue in the second and third books.

Al and Will looked like twins. Maybe this was just me, but the actors looked alike and had very similar haircuts. I would get them mixed up a lot.

Things That Were Taken Out and I’m Still Wondering Why
Tobias being drunk when he’s first nice to Tris. I know this seems small, but I felt like it was the first time she sees him relaxed and I thought it was important that it wasn’t natural for him, it was something he needed alcohol to feel. I understand a teen audience and not wanting to encourage alcohol, but I still think it could have been done easily.

Visitation day. Having her mom visit her during a working day instead of explaining visitation day doesn’t really make sense. My husband pointed out that her mom visiting Tris and not being able to visit Caleb helped further the tension between Abnegation and Erudite, but having her mom show up on a truck doesn’t do this.

Romance between Christina and Will. For those who have read further into the trilogy, this becomes more important because Christina holds a grudge against Tris for killing him. It was there, but very played down in my opinion.

Things That Changed Too Much
Tris’s mother’s death. I understand that dying to protect Tris was still the essence of what happened, but having her run out to protect Tris instead of completely sacrificing herself so Tris could escape didn’t seem like a necessary change to me. It would have taken just as much time to do it the way Roth wrote it, so what’s the point?

The entire scene where Tobias is under a simulation. Okay, what? I lost it in the theater. It was supposed to be just Tris and Tobias and instead there were about 20 Erudite there, Jeannine included, and they’re all fighting Tris. Tobias doesn’t know how to shut down the simulation and they have to give Jeannine an injection to get her to do it. What?! It made sense as an ending, but it wasn’t Roth’s ending at all. There was nothing wrong with Roth’s ending, but this one is completely different. I know why they did it and it pisses me off. They were afraid that the movie would bomb, like the City of Bones movie did and that there wouldn’t be sequels so this had to stand by itself. Okay, I get that, I really do. But I ask, isn’t the largest audience for this movie fans of the book? And how do you think fans of the book felt about changing the ending so drastically? If my opinion can count for anything, we didn’t like it much!

I had a great conversation with some other fans waiting to pee after the movie. (This is what I get for drinking my husband’s Coke.) We ultimately said that if we hadn’t read the books, we would have loved the movie as a stand-alone piece. This was how Nicole felt about it, not having yet read the books. However, being a fan of the written words, it was disappointing. At least it ended on a disappointing note. Kind of a let down.

Reader, I’m dying to know what you think. What did you think of the Divergent movie? Did it change the book too much for you to enjoy? Do you think Insurgent will be made into a film? Was there anything else you would add to my lists?

If you’re feeling like we need more of a conversation, click on over to my Facebook fan page where I started this conversation yesterday and see what others are saying.

Until next time, write on.

Book Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth (3/5) A reminder not to change your narrator in the final book of a trilogy.

14 Mar

If you’ve been following, you saw me fly through Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy. I read Divergent and Insurgent not that long ago and on Saturday was able to finish Allegiant. I’m glad I read these so close together and didn’t have to wait for a release and I didn’t have to wait that long for this last book to disappoint me.

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Tris and Tobias have made it outside the wall. Now they are being forced to come to terms with what is beyond their known world and it’s a big surprise for them to find they’ve been inside a genetics experiment their entire lives. According to the Genetics Bureau, scientists in the distant past tried to create people with preferred genetics, getting rid of genes that led people to violence or a low intellect. The experiments backfired and the genetically damaged (GDs) were created. The lack of a certain gene in their bodies amplified other negative qualities. Those with pure genes (GPs) started work to help eliminate passing on damaged genetics and large experiments were set up in formerly thriving cities such as Chicago and Indianapolis. Tris, Tobias, and their friends have just escaped from the most successful experiment in Chicago. However, the violence in the city is threatening the future of the experiment and the Bureau is thinking of resetting the experiment by erasing the memory of all of those inside. Tris and Tobias  are appalled to see that the lives of their families and friends can be manipulated by these men so easily and develop a plan to stop them.

The first thing that struck me about this book was that Roth decided to change her point of view from Tris to a shared POV between Tris and Tobias. This bothered me from the beginning and started me off in a bad place while reading this book. Because of the changed setting, I felt like this book was very separate from the first two. The enemy seemed to be very different and it was hard for me as a reader to learn all the new characters in the Bureau so quickly. This book seemed like a blur to me and not a lot of it stuck very well.

I like that Roth used this world to deal with deep issues. The first book spoke to me about family and love. The second dealt with censorship and standing up for what is right instead of what is easy. This final book spoke about not limiting your self and sacrifice and I think Roth addressed these in ways that are accessible to her YA audience. Kudos to her for that.

A lot of the book dealt with sacrifice. Tris feels that sacrificing herself for her family and faction is brave and since a Dauntless strives to be brave, she should make the sacrifice. She speaks with Tobias who reminds her the Abnigation only believed in self-sacrifice if it was the ultimate way to show someone who you loved them. Her self-sacrifice to Erudite in the previous book did not do this and she started to see that it was not brave. When someone is needed to sacrifice them self to stop David from resetting the experiment, she doesn’t volunteer and when Caleb does, she tries to reason with herself that it’s not revenge to see her brother die, but the only way he can show he loves her. I like how Roth defined self-sacrifice for this series because it made me think about why we give up the things we love and if it’s the right reason to do so.

When Tobias finds out that he is a GD, he instantly begins to doubt himself and try to limit his own abilities because he lets this label define him. Tris challenges him not to limit himself and though it takes him a while to see the truth, he is able to do this. I really like this message and I think it subtly addresses discrimination. I’m a woman but that label shouldn’t define me. Those of any minority that are told they are less because of who they were born to be shouldn’t listen. You have to stand on your own two feet and your own abilities to be who you are and never let someone define you. Tobias believed in himself before his genes were analyzed but when his own identity changed, he lost faith. Tris was his rock that helped him believe in himself.

I’m going to stop my comparison to The Hunger Games after reading Allegiant. While Katniss and Tris are both fighting against their governments to gain some freedom for their friends and family, I feel Katniss was more out for herself, trying to survive. She didn’t want to be the Mockingjay of the revolution and was always asking after her mom and sister. Tris, on the other hand, sacrifices herself and knows it will hurt the one person who is the closest to her for the good of the community. Tris is a lot more selfless, fitting of an Abnigation born.

Writer’s Takeaway: It was clear by the end why Roth decided to have multiple POV in this book, but it was really distracting for me. Having read the first two very soon before this one, I was used to Tris narrating everything and as soon as I got into Tobias’s head, I would be confused and checking the beginning of the paragraph to see who was talking. Their voices were too similar. I didn’t like such a drastic change in narrator so deep into the trilogy. What if Gale narrated half of Mockingjay? Yeah, not cool.

I thought Tris was very trusting of certain characters, Matthew in particular, which seemed out of character for her. In the first book, she was very slow to trust anyone, even Christina. If there was a character change that should have supported this, I didn’t see it.

Overall it was a fitting end to the story but the style of it retracted from my enjoyment. 3 out of 5 stars.

Until next time, write on

Related Posts
Allegiant – Veronica Roth | No Thanks, I’d Rather Read
Allegiant by Veronica Roth- Review by Meredith Sizemore | Nerdy Book Club
Allegiant by Veronica Roth | Review | The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say shhh!
Why Allegiant by Veronica Roth Didn’t Work For Me- It’s Not The Reason You Think | Moon in Gemini

WWW Wednesday, 12-Mar-2014

12 Mar

The community surrounding WWW Wednesday that MizB has created has blown me away. Thank you to everyone who participates! I’m so glad I joined this meme.

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading: Will you all believe that I’m only reading three books? It’s crazy, I know. I’m buckling down and really trying to finish reading Harry Potter y la Orden del Fenix by J.K. Rowling. I’ve got some time because I’ve already read my book club’s next selection so I’m taking advantage of it. On audio I’m working my way through The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. I’m in love with this book and the narrator on the audio is amazing. I needed a new book on my phone and the first one I could find was The Orphan Master’s Son by Adam Johnson. I decided to read this after I saw John Green tweet about how good it is. I have unstoppable faith in John Green.

Recently finished: I’ve finished two books in the past week. Allegiant by Veronica Roth was the first. I’m almost done for the review for this, it might be up as early as Friday. The other title was We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. I absolutely loved this book and I’m going to try to watch the movie this weekend and write a joint review next week. We’ll see how much time I end up having.

Reading Next: I know I keep saying I will read Richard Ford’s Canada, but I know I have a Goodreads First Reads sitting in my shelf and another one on the way. I’ll probably read The Geography of Memory by Jeanne Murray Walker so I can write the review I owe to the author. It will be good for me to read this prior to re-writing my second manuscript in which a character has Alzheimer’s.

That’s it from me. What are your three Ws? Leave a comment and let me know and also check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

Book Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth (5/5). The trilogy ramps up!

6 Mar

I know I said I read Divergent quickly, but I flew through Insurgent. I think I read 95% of the book in three sittings, the last one being Saturday morning where I didn’t get out of bed for three hours because I wanted to finish it. I considered giving this 4 out of 5 stars as well, but I liked it a lot more than the first book, so it gets a full 5 stars. By the way, there will be massive spoilers in the summary. You have been warned.

Cover Image courtesy of Goodreads.com

Cover Image courtesy of Goodreads.com

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Starting off exactly where the first book ended, Tris and Tobias must find a way to defeat the Erudite and the rebel-Dauntless who have murdered half of the Abnegation. They try to find support in Amity to no avail and hide themselves temporarily among the factionless before seeking refuge among the Candor. When they learn they are a bargaining chip the Candor leader will use to save his own pepole, the Dauntless return to their home. Jeanine has had the rebel-Dauntless raid the Candor headquarters before they can escape, shooting a simulation chip into most Candor and some Dauntless. Tris and Tobias fear that with this power, Jeanine will attack again and the Dauntless numbers are not high enough to fight back. The Dauntless align themselves with the factionless in an attempt to eradicate the Erudite and their knowledge.

Meanwhile, Tobias’s father knows that there is some secret information that Tris’s father died to protect. Jeanine is keeping it from the rest of the population because it will change the way society functions so entirely that nothing will never return to the way it was. Without telling Tobias, Tris finds a way to avoid the Dauntless invasion, instead sneaking in with a team of four and trying to uncover the information. While Tris fails, Tobias find the information and is able to broadcast it to the entire population. It would seem that everyone is living in a giant experiment that hopes to find those with the ability to problem solve from different points of view: the Divergent.

I am much more enthusiastic about this series after reading Insurgent. The summary I gave leaves out a bunch of things for the sake of simplicity and still probably doesn’t make much sense. I’m too busy thinking about reading Allegiant to care. The ending reminded me of a book I read way back in middle school, Running out of Time, where the main character discovers she’s living in a time capsule and that outside of her town, it’s not the 1700s but the 1990s. I’m so excited to see where Roth goes with the final book and I’m anticipating finding out what happens beyond the walls.

Insurgent is about power: who has power, who deserves it, who we should trust with power, and what to do once you have it. Evelyn, Tobias’s mother and leader of the factionless, gains power and tries to usurp the factions and impose a faction-less system. Jeanine obviously has power and she keeps it through careful guard of information and limited access to full details. Tris is nominated to be a Dauntless leader but turns it down, knowing that there are others who will use the power better than herself. The question of whom to trust is hard to answer. Johnanna, the leader of Amity, seems to be one of the most trustworthy to me. She defies her own faction in order to stop the fighting, realize that what’s happening is bigger than her and Amity. Even in the end, the most powerful thing is information and it’s only through freedom of information that power can be restored.

Jeanine withholding information is a good reference to censorship and what it can mean for a population. In Insurgentthe population doesn’t know their origins and when Jeanine finds out and knows it will hurt her, she keeps the information hidden. This reminds me of the Freedom of Information Act and how scared politicians seemed that the information revealed would damage them personally. Government censorship is a hot topic in many countries today, North Korea being a prime example. Censorship can oppress a population into submission.

Comparison to The Hunger Games is obvious. An oppressive government that wants to hold off a revolt through withholding information, etc. The change that I like in the Divergent series is that the oppression really comes from within. Whatever exists outside the fence has set up the world that Tris lives in, but Jeanine is keeping them there. I really like this twist and it feeds on fear of the unknown.

Returning to the theory that dystopias are popular now because of our dissatisfaction with the current government and economy, I think that censorship is a great topic for Roth to cover in her books. I’ve heard before that those outside the US think we’re ignorant of world issues. I wonder if Roth is commenting on this and how the information we receive is filtered. On the news, I’m more likely to see a piece about local high school sports than the Ukraine. That’s a form of censorship.

This is probably the least coherent book review I’ve written and I think it’s because of what a whirlwind this book was to me!

Writer’s Takeaway: Talk about action! I almost think there was too much action in this book. In each of the short chapters, there was a massive amount of action packed into the terse prose. The plot kept moving so quickly that I didn’t have time to absorb what was happening some times.

I also thought there were a lot of characters and it was hard for me to keep them straight. I was glad that Roth didn’t re-introduce every character at the beginning of the second book, but even characters I thought had clear relationships in my mind got confused by half way in. I couldn’t remember everyone’s girlfriend, parents’ names, original faction, and loyalties; it was too much.

Despite these complaints, I still think this was an excellent example of a YA book with action and meaning. I think it was a great sequel. A full 5 out of 5 stars.

Until next time, write on.

Related Posts:
Review- Insurgent (Divergent Series. Book #2) by Veronica Roth | Book Gossips
Insurgent by Veronica Roth | Review | The Librarian Who Doesn’t Say shhh!
Insurgent by Veronica Roth | Nerdy Book Club
Lottie Reviews: Insurgent by Veronica Roth | Lottie Reads
Insurgent by Veronica Roth Review 3/5 | Blogs-of-a-Bookaholic

WWW Wednesday, 5-Mar-2014

5 Mar

I’m trying to become a regular in the WWW Wednesday meme hosted by MizB on Should Be Reading. Here’s my second in a row (yay for consistency)!

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading: I’m down to four books, which is good for me. In print I’m reading Allegiant by Veronica Roth. I’m tearing through the series, it’s a bit frightening actually. I’m also still pecking away at Harry Potter y la Orden del Fenix by J.K. Rowling. I’m into this one for the long haul. I did manage to get some read before my husband brought Allegiant home for me. He took it from his classroom library. I’m not really stealing from 7th graders, it just looks like that. On my phone I’m getting close to finishing We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver. This book is crazy good and I hope I can finish it up soon. I’d say this week but, you know, Allegiant… And on Audio, it’s The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach and I’m liking it a lot more. It’s my drive-home-book now, too.

Recently finished: I finished two books on Saturday, Insurgent by Veronica Roth and Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Insurgent review will be up tomorrow, Outlander some time next week.

Reading Next: I’m pushing myself to finish Harry Potter, and I still hope to read Canada by Richard Ford next. We’ll see how long it takes.

That’s it from me. What are your three Ws? Leave a comment and let me know and also check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

WWW Wednesday, 26-Feb-2014

26 Feb

I’ve decided to start participating in a weekly post on Wednesdays, WWW Wednesdays hosted by MizB on Should be Reading.

www_wednesdays4The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Currently reading: I’m a girl who can’t read only one book at a time, so get ready for a list. In print, I have two books, Insurgent by Veronica Roth which I started last night and Harry Potter y la Orden del Fénix by J.K. Rowling which I’ve been working on for over a year. I was a Spanish major in college so I like to practice reading in Spanish when I can. It’s good to read something I’m already familiar with in English so I learn new words. It’s been slow going because I always prioritize other books. On my phone, I’m reading We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver which I’m in love with. His narrator is such a wonderfully developed woman and I adore reading about her. I’m listening to a book on my phone as well, which is The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach. This is for my book club and comes highly recommended by my friend Katherine. Finally, the audiobook in my car is Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I’m almost done with the behemoth and I’ll be glad when it’s over, but I’m too far in to give up!

Recently finished: Just Kids by Patti Smith. Review will be up tomorrow!

Reading Next: I’ve wanted to read Canada by Richard Ford for a long time now. I finally bought a copy and should have the time to delve into it in the next month or so. I’m excited!

That’s it from me. What are your three Ws? Leave a comment and let me know and also check out the original post on MizB’s blog!

Until next time, write on.

Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth (4/5)

18 Feb

I know this book wasn’t due on my To-Read list, but I was able to get my hands on a copy without waiting on the library list for two months so I read it. I wanted to make sure I read it before the movie comes out next month. You can probably expect a movie freak-out when that happens.

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Cover Image via Goodreads.com

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior lives in a world where people are divided by the values they hold most dear. Beatrice’s faction values selflessness and giving but she sometimes feels at odds with this. Lucky for Beatrice, everyone gets a chance to choose for themselves at age 16 if they want to join a different faction. It means leaving her family, but Beatrice decides to change factions and joins the Dauntless, those that value bravery. She enters the faction and begins a rigorous initiation where her physical and mental strength is tested by her initiator, Four. Tris does well, succeeding in mental bravery and begins to associate herself more and more with the brave around her. She develops a fondness for Four and for a few of her fellow initiates. The day after her final initiation, things start to go south.

I wasn’t sure what I would think of this book when I started. I’ve been a fan of some YA series and critical of others. This book reminded e a lot of The Hunger Games because of the dystopian future setting and female protagonist. However, I felt that Tris’s government fight had a lot more depth behind it than Katniss’s. The government system oppressing Tris had a lot more layers to it than Panem.

This book was a really fast read. I started it Monday evening and finished it Friday at lunch. With how busy I was last week, that’s really surprising to me. The first few chapters or so had me thinking a lot about what I was reading, thinking that the language was a bit simple and that the character development was a bit shallow. After about seventy pages or so, I wasn’t thinking of this at all and was enjoying the ride. As I’ve said, very engaging.

The copy I read had a bunch of bonus material in the back, including interviews with Roth. She said that she thought of the Dauntless training while studying exposure therapy for phobia patients and that the world developed around that. Another interview she had said that anyone’s utopian world is another’s dystopian nightmare. Those in Candor where happy to speak openly and be honest, while for an Abnegation that would be grueling. Roth is showing us that there is a different idea for everyone and we have to become happy enough with what we’re dealt.

I write a while ago about how dystopian worlds can reflect what we see is wrong in our society now. In applying this to Divergent, I’d say that Roth is commenting about how those in power have a singular outlook on the priorities of our world and how the minority do not believe in those same ideals and will start to riot. I think she’s also saying that it’s hard to change the hand you’re dealt in life, even when presented the opportunity to do so. I also think she’s trying to say that prejudices and hatred can stem from our ideals as much as from socioeconomic categories. I personally think this is a much more educated way of being, if we must be prejudiced at all. Ideals define a person better than skin or nationality anyway.

Tris’s biggest choice in the book is what faction she will join. I don’t think teens today are given the ability to change who they are the way teens of Tris’s world are. For Tris and her brother, they could, in one day, alter the rest of their lives. They would have to leave their families and endure a hard initiation, but they could take control and change things for themselves. I think teens today feel very stuck in a path that their parents have set out for them. The children of doctors and lawyers feel pressured to measure up to their parent’s success while those whose parents are waitresses and baristas feel that that’s what their future holds. I like the lack of economic barriers in Tris’s world but I think there’s still a lot of pressure to follow in one’s parents footsteps.

Writers’ Takeaways: I felt that the minor characters were a bit underdeveloped, but in a trilogy, that wasn’t surprising. I felt that I knew Tris very well and Four pretty well. However, Caleb and Tris’s friends from Dauntless were not as flushed out. I look forward to reading on and seeing what else I can find out about them in the next two books.

Overall, this was a highly entertaining read and I really liked it. I can’t wait to read Insurgent. Four out of five stars.

Until  next time, write on.

This book counted for the time period ‘The Future’ in my When Are You Reading? Challenge and for Illinois in my Where Are You Reading? Challenge.

Related Posts:
Divergent by Veronica Roth | Book Monkey
Divergent, by Veronica Roth | The Incurable Bluestocking

Recently Added to my To-Read Shelf

23 Oct

I’ve somehow managed to add another five books to the shelf.  I’m at 99 right now and I’m hoping I can keep myself under 100.  The book I’m reading now is short so I’m keeping the positive thoughts.

  • Divergent by Veronica Roth: I have a policy of reading the book before I see the movie.  Thus, Divergent must be read before the movie is release next year.  No excuses.
    Tris lives in a dystopian future where at age 16, all children choose a sect where they will devote the rest of their lives.  It sort of Hunger Games-esque, which makes it all the more appealing to me
  • Annie’s Ghosts: A Journey into a Family Secret by Steve Luxenberg: This book is the new February book for my edgy book club.  It’s replacing Gone Girl because it’s not available in paperback yet.  (Frustration).
    At the age of 80, Steve’s mom lets slip that she had a sister.  Steve believed that his mother was an only child and is shocked by the news.  Interested, he begins to delve into his family’s past.
  • I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai: Nicole had posted an interview between Malala and John Stewart on The Daily Show and it seemed interesting so I watched it (you can view it here).  I was floored at her maturity and the insightful things she said.
    Malala wasn’t afraid to speak out when her right to education was taken away.  Backed by her parents, she began to fight for schooling.  In 2012, the Taliban boarded a bus she was on and shot her in the eye.  She has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, the youngest person ever nominated.
  • White Oleander by Janet Fitch: This book was a read-alike for Affinity, appearing on a list our moderator gave at the end of the meeting.
    This is the story of Astrid, a foster child in Los Angeles fighting to find herself.
  • Away by Amy Bloom: This book was the recommended book on my pate-a-day calendar today.  I’m surprised I don’t add more from it, but this one struck me as interesting.
    It’s the 1920s and Lillian has escaped from Russia to America after the death of her parents.  When she hears that her daughter might still be alive, she sets her sights on Alaska and the journey to find the only member left of her family.

That’s it for now.  Have you read any these?  Any I should bump up and read sooner?  Any that aren’t worth my time?  Let me know, Reader.  Until next time, take care.