I so very much wanted to like this series, and I so very much did not. How do mediocre, poorly-conceived “epics” keep getting made into movies? Is it because the movies know they can only improve upon the book? That must be it, because I can’t come up with any other reason why anyone would invest money in this conceptual disaster.
The Book: Divergent: Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Genre: YA dystopian sci-fi
First impressions: This is actually the second book in the Divergent series, which means that I had to read both the first and second books. The first book was actually kind of alright. I mean, the worldbuilding makes no goddamn sense whatsoever–I HAD SO MANY QUESTIONS–but at least the trajectory of the story moves in a forward direction, and Tris & Four’s slowly developing romance is cute to watch. On a protagonist character arc level, it’s a solid book, even if the over-arching world-collapsing bit falls apart in all the wrong ways.
But the second book. Good lord. Not only does it wander from place to place without ever advancing anything vaguely resembling a plot, but Tris completely loses everything that was appealing about her in the first place. If book one was the meet-cute, book two is the trouble in paradise, and it just doesn’t work to spend so much time focusing on relationship issues when there’s war going on. 90% of the book was just Tris and Four/Tobias ~not trusting each other~ while recently-introduced ancillary characters suffered un-earned tragic deaths. Then you get to the dramatic reveal at the end, and NOTHING HAPPENS. I won’t tell you what the reveal is in case for some reason you want to read this book, but I will tell you that it’s boring and trite and you can see it coming from a million miles away. I didn’t give a fuck about a single goddamn second of this book. It wasn’t even fun to make fun of it on twitter. I’m more than a little insulted at the massive waste of my time.
Will it adapt?: No. No, it will not. While the first movie (which I haven’t seen) at least has a clear plot goal to work with, this book is literally just Tris and various groups of people wandering about from refuge to refuge, feeling bad about all the murder happening off-screen. You can’t make compelling film out of that. I don’t know where the story goes in the third book, but even if it’s somewhere interesting (I hear it isn’t), the best you can say about this book is it’s filler.
Should I read it?: Don’t bother. Even if you liked the first book. This one is a massive disappointment.
Yours in irritation,
“Cruelty does not make a person dishonest, the same way bravery does not make a person kind.” -Insurgent
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This post is part of my I Read It First series.