book review

Matched+Divergent Reviews

Sunday, July 06, 2014

HERE THERE BE SPOILERS!! I'll review first Matched, and then Divergent.  Please note that these are just my opinions, and you should read the books yourselves before you make any conclusions. 
Matched by Ally Condle-
I picked this up at a bookstore in Florida, and had trouble staying interested after the first few chapters.  Ally Condle's writing is somewhat poetic, which to me didn't seem to work well with this kind of a dystopian story. 
The beginning of the book caught my attention, and I liked the plot twist with Ky's face showing up where Xander's should have been.  But after that my attention lagged.  It didn't progress extremely fast, and the stakes weren't raised until closer to the end of the book.  Pretty boring.  I'm disappointed because it really could've been a great book! The concept of only being allowed to read the books or poems that the Society approved of was cool, just not executed.
The reason I say it's a rip-off of the Hunger Games is that Ally tried to write in the same depressed tone.  See, that works when you're fighting for your life and seeing people die around you!  But in Matched, like I said before, I didn't feel the growing danger really at all in the books.  Something semi-bad would happen, and then nothing for awhile. 
I also didn't feel any connection to the two main characters, Ky and Cassia.  The emotion wasn't really good or bad, just blah.  I feel like without the romance between them, the plot and characters would fall flat.  I'm afraid (and I hate to say it) that Cassia doesn't have much of a personality.  If I were to try and describe her I'd not really know how, which to me is not a good sign. 
Now the pros.  I think Xander is my favorite character because I actually feel emotion about him.  Sadness and pity that Ky gets his best friend, empathy when he stills try to win her anyway, and admiration with how he handles it all.  He's very relatable and resourceful, and he just gets Cassia in a way I don't think Ky can. 
I'm also impressed with how clean they kept the romance.  For a teen dystopian novel, there was no innuendoes (that I picked up on at least) and very minimal kissing.  It was amazing!
I'd rate this book three stars out of five, simply because it's an amusing and innocent read. 
Divergent by Veronica Roth-
So I picked up this book on another vacation, but unlike my initial "bored reaction" with Matched, that was NOT SO with this book.  My poor family! The minute I picked it up I couldn't stop reading.  Veronica Roth has created such an interesting world. 
This will be a slightly harder book to review, because I really enjoyed it. Definitely the best book in the trilogy.  The other two were such disappointments, but I won't go into that.  It's tricky because the romance isn't as innocent, and... Here's the catch.  It's the biggest rip-off of Hunger Games I've seen. 
I'll start with the story concept, because, unlike Matched, this was gripping from page one and stayed that way through the book.  Tris, a seemingly quiet girl who doesn't fit in just one faction but THREE?   Who spontaneously joins the loudest, craziest, most dangerous faction of them all? 
Also unlike Matched, the stakes are instantly raised in the first chapter and continue to be raised as the plot thickens. 
I like Tris the best in the first book.  Being in Dauntless (the faction she chooses) certainly brings out different sides of her and her character change is huge.  She goes from quietly keeping secrets from her family and doing what she's told at the beginning, to ordering them around and telling them exactly what to do at the end when her world is in danger and she knows how to save it.
Favorite character?  I love three peoples.  Tris, her mom, and Christina.  Tris' mom is part of such a wonderful plot twist at the end.  Plus she has such a complex personality.  On first glance she seems to be quiet, wise, and reserved.  *cue mega plot twist that leaves everyone sobbing in shock and wonder and grief* 
Yes. Sobbing. 
Christina is fun because she's quirky and different.  Slightly cliché, yes, but I like that she's not completely "I'm ridiculous and different and I know it".  She has common sense mixed in and isn't huge on the attention. 
The other supporting characters were pretty well written, although after awhile the names blended together a bit, especially as the series went on. 
Now, the romance.  It doesn't really surface until closer to the end of the book, and even then it's pretty minimal.  Some passionate kissing, a conversation about being nervous about having sex, and then a scene where Tris is fighting her fears and she fights someone wanting to have sex with her.
This is why it's so hard to review, because the book could've been REALLY GOOD without the added yuck. 
The other downer is how stinkin similar it is to The Hunger Games.  After the series was published everyone slapped down dystopian romance and the sales went up.  Divergent hit it off big like the Hunger Games and is (even now) being filmed into a movie trilogy, similar to the Hunger Games.
It's the same depressed feel, the same mind-controlled-boyfriend attacking the love of his life, the same woman in power who turns out be evil, etc.
I'd rate this book four out of five stars for a well-written book with a creative world. 

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  1. Definitely interested in Divergent...the whole Dystopian thing is interesting to me!


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