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Fiction in Fiction in Fiction

Divergent (Divergent Series #1)

Divergent  - Veronica Roth Woah how do I even begin to describe how amazing this book was? First chance I get I'm going to buy Insurgent... aka tomorrow. So as I wrote in my Shatter Me review, I find it really hard to read dystopian novels and even harder that they impress me. It's been over a year and I still haven't finished Delirium; I stopped at the end of chapter 1 for Skinned; I read five pages of Uglies and couldn't progress further; Inside Out sits bookmarked at page 23.Shatter Me was good but I haven't been this drawn into a dystopic book since the first Hunger Games. For me it's always the author's lack/inability to get me relating to the setting. But Roth managed to do just that. I think a lot of YA dystopians are about the protagonist's lack of choice - they are forced into a certain lifestyle because of some war and new leaders arise and set some spartan way of living for everybody to follow and the protagonist is the only one that rebels.Even though the factions have a set way of living I liked that there was still a choice. There was a thrill as I followed Tris' path to decide where she belonged.However, I'm not sure I liked the set way the members of faction thought. If you're a member or Erudite you MUST have a thirst for knowledge and all your ex-faction's qualities eventually get driven out of you. I mean I guess it was easier for me, the reader, to relate to Divergence because as humans nobody thinks the same and we all have so many unique qualities that make us who we are. And I think Roth tried to show this with her exceptions - not the initiates - like Marcus and Natalie.I did get annoyed with things that happened later on that were already confirmed in the beginning e.g. Tris knowing from the beginning her mother was Dauntless but then seeming surprised by this later on as if she didn't have the suspicion to begin with. But those are only minor flaws that can be overlooked in the shining brilliance of the rest of this story.Characters... Tris was developed really well, she doesn't just suddenly become brave but it was always in her to question things and to act out per say. Part of her bravery is because of the Abnegation embedded in her so her actions are sound. And I love how she isn't perfect, especially during Lauren's fear landscape test. She isn't completely fearless because if she was I would have hated her. And woah Four how do I begin to describe him? I fell in love with him completely and I like that the romance wasn't extremely past faced or just started out of nowhere. He sees a bit of himself in her I think, especially once they learn more about each other. All the other characters have personalities too which I liked, but some like Peter and Eric were a bit too stereotypical. The personalities were really relatable though, Christina as a friend still gets jealous and acts her age because face it, despite everything they go through, these are still 16 year old kids trying to fit in.Pace wise, this book was nearly perfect for me. The storyline progressed in a way where you could feel time moving but not too slowly that it was boring - basically shit was happening (yay!). Note how I said NEARLY perfect, not just perfect; I found the ending unfolded a bit fast - sure the build up was there but the conflict and clues were too subtle to really go out with a bang the way it did. Lack of foreboding?But jeez was this brilliant. Bloody brilliant. Every punch, kick in the face, touch... all the action was very real. My particular favourite was the fear landscapes, I felt such a thrill - there was just enough detail but not too much that it was "duh!".There was just something so complete about this book. It had all the things that make a YA book memorable: distinct characterisation, a unique plot, a youthful romance, darkness mixed with light so it's realistic but retaining its context.