I had been hearing quite a lot about this book lately and finally managed to get my hands on it yesterday.
For a debut author, this book is good, and the story has an interesting premise. But, it comes across as a rip-off of the Hunger Games.
The main protaganist, Tris, is, again, a girl, living in a dystopic city which is divided into five "factions" - each favouring a particular human trait (Knowledge, bravery, compassion, selflessness and honesty). The children in this city, get to pick a faction once they turn sixteen, either choosing to stay in the same faction into which they were born or going into another, upon which they must forget their families and friends because, here, it is "faction before blood".
The reason given for Tris deciding on her faction is never really clear. And indeed, she spends the rest of the book wondering if she made the right choice. Didn't exactly give me much confidence in her character. There is also the mandatory romantic interest (called Four, if you'll believe it) who is supposed to be deep, complex and desirable but actually is none of those. I think the author, herself, realises this as she tries to convince us that he is
, indeed, deep, complex and desirable, REPEATEDLY (I call it the "Meyer Complex"
The charcters of this book are its major falling. None of them are memorable and there is no depth to anybody apart from Tris and Four. That irks me more than I can ever explain! Random characters are unnecessarily introduced, they say a few lines and remain in the background! NOTHING is at all revealed about them! No explanations of any sort is given about practically anything - why are things the way they are, what made the society form those rules, what are they being protected against and why, oh why, do the Dauntless feel the need to jump on to and out of trains for every single thing - can't they climb in and out like normal people?
Tris is not likable at all. She goes through the entire book repeating phrases, going back and forth about which faction she really ought to belong to, being practically awesome at everything without any practice and showing uncharacteristic behaviour that just cannot be explained away. Things that happen in this book that I simply cannot digest -
- People behaving uncharacteristically out of the blue
- Friends turning into foes before you can blink
- Main characters being killed off without any rhyme or reason
- Thinking it is OK to kill a good friend who has a gun aimed at you, in order to save yourself, even if said friend is SLEEPWALKING and being controlled by the bad guys
- Thinking it is perfectly normal to proclaim your love to someone and makeout furiously, MINUTES after you've watched your own parents DIE right in front of your eyes.
The initiation process was a bit interesting though, but the attraction lay in the mystery as to why they had to do all those things, but that, too, was never explained properly. A vague "to prove your bravery" was given as the reason.
Compelling in places but could have been so much better. 2.5 stars for this one.