Saturday, October 22, 2011
Divergent By Veronica Roth Review
Lots of spoilers ahead, be warned or read this simply because you don’t want to read the book. This isn’t written like any of my regular reviews; it’s definitely going to be one of my personal favorites!
Yes people, Vanessa Roth is a copycat, with this boring new YA read. She has written about Tris, a girl who lives in a “dystopian” society. She discovers she is “Divergent”, meaning she isn’t like everyone else and can be stuck into one tiny little personality box. She can’t be so easily defined. So before I show you what Veronica Roth copied, first I must list what I didn’t like about this book:
1. The World Building. Oh wait, what world building? Nothing at all was explained and already I couldn’t see how this could happen. Dystopias need to seem plausible and/or at least have reasonable world build building. I admit I love Brave New World, but Huxley was so spot on about it so little world building was needed because of how relevant it is. This had no world building and you were forced to think it just happened, it’s horrible. And people have more personality than what can be put on like a sticker reading “Dauntless” or “Erudite”. And the divergent having the strongest will and can’t be zombies? Please, almost everyone would be divergent. Being divergent just means you’re better than everyone else. And is there freedom of speech? Because there sure as hell is freedom to be a Christian (I’m surprised they weren’t preaching away). And having tattoos doesn’t make you brave, nor does wearing all black. And EVERY fucking thing was selfish according to the gray cladded people.
2. The Characters. All the side characters were either flat or did things I couldn’t imagine them doing. Al was too nice of a guy to try to throw Tris into the river and Four was too smart to drink.
3. The “Sex” Scene. I wanted to rip this book apart because of how cliché the “I’m scared of fucking Four” was with Tris! It was too stupid and I wish it had been removed from the book. And it was so insta-love I wanted to barf. They just saw each other and bam! We get this “romance” *gag*.
So what did this book copy off of? An award winning episode of the kids’ show Phineas and Ferb called “Nerds of a Feather”.
You’re going to have to watch the entire episode to understand what I’m saying in this review, and for fair warning it’s an epic episode.
In the beginning Candace is in “special effects” just like Tris was with the fear serum. They both realized it was crazy shit and they had to learn to control it while both ended up breaking the “glass” of it (Tris with the glass box filling with water, Candace with magical zebra land). They both can control it and it’s pretty much a wild lucid dream. Then it’s revealed it’s nothing more than a trick of the brain by a guy (revealed to Tris by Four and to Candace by Phineas).
Then each of them get a test. Candace and Tris both lie (Candace about the bag being full of smaller bags and to Stacey and Jeremy of who she was hanging out with, Tris lied to skeleton dude). They both get angry at people (Candace at Phineas and Ferb, Tris to everyone alive) showing they aren’t selfless and can’t keep peace or be kind. They both prove they’re not really brave (Candace being a closet Ducky Momo fan and Tris scared of sex, which yes people can fear it but this being YA lit and how flat the character was I couldn’t handle as realistic). They fail at the five factions. They fail that test and really are a mix of all of them with a greater will.
In “Doof ‘N’ Puss” it represents the supposed goodness of the society being destroyed by people. In it Doofenschmirtz is from the future where evil robots make people go off in death matches, an unwanted future like Tris’s society. Perry was blamed for something he didn’t do, which is a society injustice, which they use on Divergents, such as claiming suicide. Rick is the help they need to make good. The mayor is an evil monster which represents that antagonist woman I forgot the name of and all the other evils of the society that used to be good but is now an evil, ugly monster that must be defeated for the greater good of the tri-state area or Chicago. The vampire ninjas are the zombie Dauntless (only way cooler and everything explodes). The real mayor is the good that could have been there for the society.
The Finkies (selfless) vs. Spekkies (is based on hard scientific fact, it’s like watching a reality show from the distant future!) represents the selfless vs. the educated, both believing they are right, and both truly being selfish and ignorant. The Mom who gives the kid his sweater in “Our Movie’s Better Than Yours” represents the Honest saying they support the educated and the Sea Horsie Hospital, Duckie Momo fans represent the kind, either choosing no sides, trying to help others, giving a lot of hugs (that was all that the Kind did in the book), or not wanting to get into the mess.
Various scenes are taken from the episode. For example there’s Al’s suicide, he does something totally against his character so he kills himself. Who was the Al of Phineas and Ferb? Why no other than the “I Hate People” Ducky Momo that Candace ends up dropping because of the monster! The metaphorical monster that attacked Tris that was totally against the character of Al, who hates Tris (people), and Tris loses (metaphorically dropping him because of the monster). Well, Al was only $15. But Four (his counterpart in Phineas and Ferb is Jeremy, who is WAY better than he’ll ever be) doesn’t drink on the show, this is aimed at kids and nerds like me.
And who is that white haired dude with the pony tail? It’s Clive Addison! He represents all that the society wanted to get but didn’t even come close to getting. Those with high dreams tried to make it there but their stupid prejudices made it impossible. So instead of going to the greater good and getting his autograph, they start a war! But Clive the greater good just wanted to join the nations of fantasy and science fiction (and those lame factions, in this case the Sea Horsie Hospital and Ducky Momo fans). And like in this episode, somehow this series will meet the “greater good of their society” (it’s so predictable, anyway, I was guessing what was going on over and over again and I got things right!).
And of course there has to be heartwarming moments to make a good book (wrong)? Well there was definitely one in “Nerds of a Feather”, Ducky Momo! And Ducky Momo is the courage Candace has to head towards the greater good! And Tris’s was, maybe Four? Really if she had one I’m not sure what it was.
The romance was forced and instant for Tris with no chemistry (but since it’s between two living creatures we’ll call it biology). The one between Candace and Jeremy is very drawn out and nice (you’ll have to watch a few more episodes to understand, but when Jeremy thought Ducky Momo was cool, wow it was just too sweet). Oh Jeremy and Candace! Go out and love Ducky Momo together forever!
The wars were both very similar, and I believe the Dauntless zombies were the Spekkies who got brave somehow and fought over something stupid. And when Irving went to the Finkies it was a lot like when Tris went to the Erudites. They both ultimately failed and spread more lies.
And of course their control over the special effects improves. So we come to the ending. The ending of Phineas and Ferb was epic, but the ending of Divergent was pretty average for YA lit and I didn’t find it really great.
So Tris was. . . DIVERGENT!
Candace was. . . DIVERGENT!
And a note on everyone laughing at Candace in the end, it can honestly happen. People do something great and then someone finds something out about them and everyone’s mean to them. People were shocked when George Michael came out of the closet and the whole reason he wasn’t out when he was in Wham! was because everyone was afraid of how his female fans would react to it. But I’m sure Tris will be all self-righteous at the end and everything will go well for her. She seemed to slowly lose her flaws through the book to become this flawless person, which is creepy.
So basically you can learn the exact same stuff and have a better storyline in an episode of Phineas and Ferb. You can learn people fight and do stuff over total shit (take Harry Potter vs. Twilight for example, it’s a stupid fight over something that’s anti-feminist shit with pedophiles and misogynists with abs or something that has an age old gay guy making spells and using a sorting hat with two guys and this girl who is a nerd that nobody ever realizes is a girl. OK maybe that was a bad example, everyone knows Harry Potter pwns Twilight, it’s a law of the universe.). They even come up with useless shit that makes no sense (Roth’s world building). And yes, people will find it crazy that I’m comparing some *cough-cough* book that is *cough-cough fucking AMASHIN’* to a kids show. I just have to say this:
Tris’s mom was copied off of Ducky Momo.
Oh, and this:
2 out of 5 stars for Divergent.
5 out of 5 stars for “Nerds of a Feather”.
A hundred zillion stars for Ducky Momo. He is still my friend.
Even more Momocity: