One of my most popular reviews on Goodreads is my trashing of Divergent, which I read a couple of years ago on the recommendation of someone who unfriended me on Facebook because I hated the book so much--and since the movie adaptation is in theaters now, I thought I would post it here.
Even Boy Scouts, who are supposed to be "Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, Reverent," are more morally and intellectually complex than this entire society, where you're allowed one defining trait, one primary virtue--and that's it.
Gave up actually reading after about 80-100 pages--once Tris starts hanging out with the Dauntless crowd, and you realize that they're basically just nasty sociopaths who'd be more comfortable in one of the Mad Max movies--and just started skimming, and of course I didn't miss anything, because the details are either randomly chosen and therefore fairly irrelevant, or utterly illogical and strain the bounds of credibility. Trains that hurtle along continuously, without even slowing down at stations, so that only the reckless thrill seekers among society will attempt to jump on or off them, and there are no tickets or fares required? Seriously? What sort of society has the money to provide free public transportation that runs continuously regardless of who uses it, can be used by only one-fifth of society, and collects no revenues? Do the engineers or drivers jump on and off too, or is it all automated? If it's all automated, do the trains stop when another malfunctions, or do they just allow them to crash? Trains do break down and require servicing, after all....
It's just such bullshit. There's no attempt to explain what actually supports this society, no real world building. The plot and the logic are full of holes and problems of logic and the characters so lacking in motivation that it's impossible to take any of it seriously. So much of it is just plain sloppy, including the names of the various factions--three are nouns, two are adjectives. I know, I know--that's a REALLY small detail. But the fact that the author is unaware of the importance of verbal symmetry is a sign of how inept she is. Instead of Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, & Erudite, they should have been Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntlessness, & Erudition, or Abnegating, Amicable, Candid, Dauntless, & Erudite.
But seriously? Those are the only five traits this society truly values, and their supposed opposites are the only reasons the society could come up with for why people go to war? What about plain old bellicosity and truculence, which is what the dauntless faction seems to exhibit? The method of arriving at peace that this society devises, of creating these rigidly segregated factions with very different values, seems far more likely to cause war than the prevent it. It's so pathetic and so obviously the product of a very young, very limited imagination.
I'm sure I could find more to criticize if I'd taken the time to read the whole book, but once I knew it was shit, I figured I shouldn't waste any more of my time. I did notice how long some of the negative reviews were from people who did finish the book--the amount of time they invested in this crap produced a correspondingly long list of its faults.
I swear, I'd rather read Twilight--and I HATE Twilight.