Ashleigh Paige

I'm a full-time college sophomore pursuing my B.A. in English with hopes of one day working as an editor. Cats, musicals, documentaries about cults/disasters/tragedies, and curse words are just a few of my favorite things. Also, check out our blog or I WILL FIND YOU.

Divergent  - Veronica Roth Also appears on The YA Kitten. Read and reviewed for the H.Y.P.E. Project (details here).CharactersHands-down, Tris was the best part of the book. Her fantastic character development as the switch from Abnegation to Dauntless changed her in some ways and left her untouched in others is the kind of stuff I want to see in every book, not every few months in rare books. When the boys took her to the Pit to scare her, I felt fiercely angry for her and hoped the boys would get their just desserts eventually. The other characters were so pale next to her, people colored with just twelve crayons instead of two-hundred fifty-six like Tris.It dampened my buzz a little every time I remembered there isn't anything truly extraordinary about Tris, though. Objectively, she is unusual because she is the average human being thrown into a sea of people wired like robots instead of human beings. Is that the best way for her to stand out? Because she is the only normal one in a crowd of abnormal people (and they are only abnormal because they are not written the way they should be)? Tris deserves better than that.Really, characters other than Tris (and possibly other Divergents) just don't form connections to their families and have no issues with dropping them if they leave for another faction? Are there drugs in the water? That isn't the way a human being works. Humans are social animals and form deep connections with friends and family. Being able to sever those connections as easily as everyone apparently does in the world of Divergent? That doesn't happen very often.Plot/PacingThis was largely what I heard about Divergent prior to reading it: It's so exciting that it will make you want to pee your pants and you'll be glued to the book from the first page to the last.Well? Where was the excitement for most of the novel?The last eighty pages did catch my attention and kept me reading when I had other work to do.The four hundred pages before that were a very different story. Jumping in and out of trains to get around isn't exciting to me; it's stupid, as demonstrated when a Dauntless girl died leaping out of a train. Really, when only ten new members are allowed into Dauntless per year, they need to keep all the people alive that they can. Until Tris started navigating her fear landscape near page four-hundred, I could easily put the book down.Moreover, it didn't take me thirty seconds to figure out what was going to go down, who was involved in the evil plot, and how they were going to do it. The hints had spotlights on them and such pains were gone to so Tris (and the reader by extension) would know what the big deal about being Divergent was that it gave everything away. So I suppose Divergent is decently plotted, but it is painfully transparent in its execution. I don't like waiting one-hundred fifty pages for the villains to reveal themselves when I've been aware of them the entire time.Themes/ConflictsI have little to say here. The points about what courage means (doing something even though you are afraid) are valid and everything Tris had to go through to figure them out was great character development for her. The conflict between the Dauntless initiates was well-drawn considering exactly where they were and what would happen if they didn't make it in.WritingThe writing was nothing outstanding in terms of its stylistic choices and descriptions, but it never distracted from Tris' trials or what was going on and worked well with the kind of story being told. If I had to make a clear verdict (and I do), I would say the writing is great. Not poetic-great or I'll-remember-it-forever great, but a writing style so smooth that you never need to stop and consider a bad description or watch the atmosphere fall apart because of a disastrous choice of words is respectable.LogicI'm sorry, what?(I really don't use GIFs often, but this about sums up my feelings about the logic of Divergent... and it involves a kitten. Leave me alone.)What happened to Chicago? How did this deeply flawed society develop? How did it not fall apart ages ago? Why did anyone think the faction system was going to prevent war when history has shown time and time again that creating deep divisions between people like the faction system does will lead to war? The prejudice the Erudite had against the Abnegation demonstrates exactly this. Also, what kind of government would let large numbers of the factionless stay around, become bitter at the system for its highly unfair processes and its inability to give everyone a fair go, and possibly plot their own revolution? It looks like you're pretty much done for life once you're declared factionless. Because of that, I'm surprised and a little disappointed the factionless played no real part in the novel..Stick around for the sequels, some of you might say to me. That's what sequels are for: expanding on the first book. Why should I get the sequel? Tell me. Why should I? The first book of a series is supposed to hook me for sequels and Divergent failed to do so. Too many questions are left unanswered or with hints at an unsatisfying answer and I did not like the book overall. I highly doubt paying $17.99 for Insurgent when it comes out and spending several days reading it will be a worthwhile investment of my time and money.Was it worth the hype?Not at all. For all the good word I've heard, for all the time my friends have spent talking it up, and for all the accolades it's getting, I don't see what the big deal about Divergent is. So many questions are left unanswered, but I lack the motivation to keep an eye out for Insurgent when it comes out in about three months.Bonus cover sectionI envy the abilities of the person who made this cover. As I've learned in the past year and a half, digital design is not easy and the cover, down to the details of each and every little flame of the Dauntless symbol, looks flawless. Great focus, understated fonts--I would love to be able to create something like this some day instead of turning green over someone else's ability to do it.