Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Reader Response: Divergent Pt. 3

A continuation of reader response to Divergent by Veronica Roth for my Teen Materials class (maybe).

* spoilers everywhere *

Chapter Eleven

This chapter was about Trice looking at Four at a lot for...some reason. And Four admitting he left while she was being beat up for...some reason. Because why wouldn't she go for the only non-creepy, non-overweight guy talking to her, right? Obviously. How trite.

The city walls are locked from the outside oohhh ahhh! I'm hoping this is because the factionless built the wall to keep the crazy in.

Chapter Twelve

Trice is definitely getting braver. This time she beat up a helpless girl.

"Then I realize what it is. It's him. Something about him makes me feel like I am about to fall. Or turn to liquid. Or burst into flames." Yes, readers have noticed your drooling for chapters. Glad you could finally put your finger on it, Tris!

That was a boring game of capture the flag. I feel like I do when movies have action scenes that suggest clever planning and expert fighting, but a bunch of cuts and zooms obscure the fact that no one bothered to block out something coherent. Tris climbs high, only to be saved by a height phobic hunk! Tris points people in various directions and they win. Yay! C'mon, Roth, give me something thrilling here at some point.

Chapter Thirteen

Since when is bullying "a sign of cowardice"? Nearly everything happening in this training is bullying. I'm sure the knife throwing scene will play well in the film version. Utterly predictable though.

Chapter Fourteen

Oh wow, a week of being beat up and occasional sprinting has made Tris grow muscles and lose all excess fat. Maybe she'll run a marathon next?

One-dimensional jerk trainee gangs up on Tris with his friends and strips her again her will. Is anyone going to be ambiguous in this book? Answer: Tris herself, as she beats another girl bloody for making a snide remark. Maybe this book will be all about how a person can become evil by acting out their dark side and struggling internally with their nobler impulses but doing nothing about them.

Chapter Fifteen

"Tension between the factions" ...yep. Of course. What else do they expect from this explosive setup?

"Mom, how do you know where you're going?" I'm ruling out Erudite for Tris at this point.

I find it very annoying that everyone claims being divergent is such a scary thing, but no hints on why. It's the same thing that made me give up reading The Maze Runner: Something is bad. Why? We can't tell youuuu! It's a particularly unsatisfying kind of tension, especially when Tris' mom says that "many Abnegation children" are divergent. If it's really that big of a deal, the powers that be would watch for it. This book makes no sense and is just about teens hitting each other well-described distances away from their "bellybuttons" and Tris having feelings about the obvious moody sexy guy. I don't care if teens like this. They would like something better at least as well, and I would be happier to read it.

Chapter Sixteen

I've had an epiphany: Al is the hero in this story. He's very strong but after following orders and knocking a kid out, he's been throwing the fights because he would rather be hurt than hurt innocent people because a scary authority figure tells him to. You know what's even braver than Tris taking a beating when she can't win? Al taking beating when he can win! He even picked the faction because he thought he would be protecting people, not entering sociopath school. Meanwhile, he's being snubbed by Tris for being "weak" (and not being sexy and trim enough for her feeeelings to kick in). 

Team Al from here on out. Bet he dies shortly.

This chapter does explicitly reveal that Dauntless wasn't originally supposed to be about stupidity and bullying. What gets me is that faction charters aren't something all of the kids are educated about in school. Their whole teen lives are focused on making this Huge Choice and they're supposed to make that choice based on, what, exactly? Balancing dissatisfaction with the one-virtue focus they were raised with vs. rejection from their family? A simplistic aptitude test that no one blinks at eye at kids ignoring flat-out, but is this huge source of concern if the results are inconclusive?

Was the warning about not being highly ranked because it's some kind of tradition for initiates to stab each other to climb to the top? Also, why is Four saying that they don't want to reward the strong for beating up the weak, then turning around and making a huge penalty for the strong if they don't do precisely this? This ranking stuff has to be a ruse, right?

Also, why does Roth keep characterizing especially short fights as only taking a few "minutes"? This isn't boxing. The shorter, brutally imbalanced fights wouldn't be taking a whole minute. I'm in serious need of reading some of Jim Butcher or John Scalzi's fight scenes after this book.

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