Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so. (synopsis from Goodreads)
I can’t really say if I like this one more than the first one or not. I probably feel about the same about both of them. They were entertaining to read at the time, but after some thought, don’t hold up well. While this book works to explain the events that happened in the last book, I don’t find it overly convincing or believable. Now before anybody gets on my case about complaining about the believability of a dystopian novel, let me explain my idea of what makes a good one.
The major thing, for me anyway, that makes dystopian novels great is the fact that some part of them is based on current issues. While crazy things happen that are destructive and horrifying, there is some inkling of the world that is imagined/how the world got to be that way that is similar to how our world works today. Like Orwell’s Big Brother concept and how cameras and social media can track our every move as you read this. We can find a connection between our current events and the events of the dystopian world that makes the novel disturbing. To me, the dystopian novel should make us wonder to ourselves, “Is this where we are headed?”. I didn’t get that from this series.
There were also some glaring holes that would actually distract me from the story. Such as, why Tris and Four spend most of the book sneaking around and sometimes just walking straight into places that are supposedly on high alert for them. Did nobody send out a memo? Did nobody make a sketch of them and tell the guards that if they see someone that looks like that to arrest them? And this didn’t just happen once or twice. This happened throughout the entire book! They never even disguised themselves! This was highly annoying and caused my eyes to roll.
Another thing that has been bothering me while reading this series is that I increasingly dislike Roth’s writing. Her use of commas sometimes makes very little sense and often confuses the meaning to the sentence. (This can also be due to bad editing. Why did nobody catch these?) She also uses the word “breaths” instead of “breath” which often didn’t flow well. While I don’t believe it is technically wrong, it is jarring to read.
Overall, this was an okay book. It’s a good fast read, but if you want something with more substance to it I would go with something else. There really isn’t much to this one, and while there was some potential, I don’t believe that this book is a good example of what dystopian novels can really achieve when done well.