Note: I’ll try to keep this as spoiler free as possible, but read with caution regardless.
So guess who got tickets to the advanced screening of Divergent? This girl!
Before I go on, I should confess that I have never read the book by Veronica Roth …I know, I know…Oh, the horror! But I was actually kind of happy I didn’t read the book, because my movie buddy, who had read the book, said it was very true to the novel so she wasn’t surprised by the way things turned out in the film.
DIVERGENT is a thrilling action-adventure film set in a world where people are divided into distinct factions based on human virtues. Tris Prior (Shailene Woodley) is warned she is Divergent and will never fit into any one group. When she discovers a conspiracy by a faction leader (Kate Winslet) to destroy all Divergents, Tris must learn to trust in the mysterious Four (Theo James) and together they must find out what makes being Divergent so dangerous before it’s too late.
As for me, I thought the film was okay. It was entertaining, which is always must for me. (If I get bored by a film, I might not be dramatic enough to walk out, but I will complain after the fact until my family can’t take it anymore and decides to lock me out of the house in retaliation…something that happens far to often.)
The film makers did a decent job of setting up the dystopian world in the city of Chicago, which consists mostly of partially destroyed buildings in the background. The city is also divided into factions by the government: Erudites, Abnegation, Amity, Candors, and Dauntless. (For anyone, who has read the novel, this might sound familiar.) The different aspects of the world were well-explained in the film, and I wasn’t scrambling too much to fill in any gaps. However, I did find that the lines between some of the factions seemed a little blurred. For instance, the Abnegation and the Amity groups seem to be very similar in function. But, of course, the heroine Tris turns out to be divergent, which basically means she was “born to be undefinable” – which is basically the overall message of the film.
This leads into my next issue: the Choosing Ceremony. I never quite understood why it was such a big deal. Tris basically gets to choose the faction she wants to be a part of (Dauntless, in this case), so I really didn’t get why the parents and government made such a big deal of the ceremony. (My movie buddy later told me the reason was better explained in the book than the film, and while I can blame part of my confusion on lack of better attention, I am fortunately not solely at fault.)
However, the films’ leads, Woodley and James, had great chemistry – especially in the EPIC lip-lock, which is admittedly my favourite part of the film. Woodley was also in almost every scene of the film and did her best to portray a teenager turned rebellion leader. I also though that James did a decent job at acting the part of the mysterious Dauntless, Four.
That said, the rest of the cast including Kate Winslet and Maggie Q were sadly underused – surprising considering the potential star-quality of some of the actors cast in Divergent. (That, and I found Winslet’s American accent a bit distracting – this was really the one time they should have stuck with a British villain.)
But the slow start to the story soon gave way to fast-paced action, with a lot of fast moving trains! And since action films are my favourite kinds of films, I wasn’t complaining much at this point. Along with the action in the latter half of the film, the next best thing about Divergent was that there seems to be no love triangle in sight, and the story really plays up the chemistry between the main leads rather than focusing on unnecessary drama.
Yet, overall, I’m not entirely sure how I feel about the film. It had some good points and some bad ones, but it didn’t bore me to tears – of course, it didn’t inspire me to write a sonnet either. So as things stand, I’d say Divergent was an average film. It didn’t entirely stand alone and, despite what I thought earlier, it might have been a good idea to read the book before going in. For the mathematically inclined, I’d give the film a passing score of 2 out of 4 stars.
(aka, The Film Reviewer)
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of The Shadow Prince from the publisher in return for an honest review. (Also, I should mention that the review may contain some minor spoilers.)
I finally got a chance to start tackling my ARC reading pile, and The Shadow Prince by Bree Despain was at the top of my list. This may or may not be because I am completely biased towards Greco-Roman retelling. (i.e: Because I am in LOVE with fantasy stories based in this realm.) Of course, my love for all things Greco-Roman was one of the reasons I was so ecstatic when I received a copy of this book from the publisher.
Haden Lord, the disgraced prince of the Underrealm, has been sent to the mortal world to entice a girl into returning with him to the land of the dead. Posing as a student at Olympus Hills High—a haven for children of the rich and famous—Haden must single out the one girl rumored to be able to restore immortality to his race.
Daphne Raines has dreams much bigger than her tiny southern Utah town, so when her rock star dad suddenly reappears, offering her full tuition to Olympus Hills High’s prestigious music program, she sees an opportunity to catch the break she needs to make it as a singer. But upon moving into her estranged father’s mansion in California, and attending her glamorous new school, Daphne soon realizes she isn’t the only student in Olympus who doesn’t quite belong.
Haden and Daphne—destined for each other—know nothing of the true stakes their fated courtship entails. As war between the gods brews, the teenagers’ lives collide. But Daphne won’t be wooed easily and when it seems their prophesied link could happen, Haden realizes something he never intended—he’s fallen in love. Now to save themselves, Haden and Daphne must rewrite their destinies. But as their destinies change, so do the fates of both their worlds.
Before I get into the review, lets all take a moment to drool over the AMAZING cover art! 😀 I love the symbols in the background and the colour scheme…I shortlisting whoever designed this cover and hoping I get the chance to talk to him or her when my book finally gets published.
As for the story beyond the cover…did it live up to the cover? Absolutely!
Despite being a young adult romance, this novel starts off with an epic beginning. We get a glimpse of the Underworld right of the bat and the world building only continues to get more amazing. Not to mention, we open with the mention of a dead person – Haden’s mother in this case:
I did the unforgivable the day my mother died, and for that I’ve been punished every moment of my life.
Because it was a young adult, I was expecting the novel to read like a young adult, but the language and world are very sophisticated and are written well enough to interest an adult audience in the starting of the novel.
But the best part was, although the novel was written in first person, it switched perspectives between Haden and Daphne so we got to glimpse both their internal conflicts which made the story easier to follow – and more interesting because we didn’t get annoyed with either character for monologuing for too long.
Of course, the story does take liberties with the mythology, but that’s to be expected in a work of fiction. The whole Haden and Daphne relationship was a parallel for the Persephone and Hades myth. (Although, when I first read the back cover blurb, I thought Daphne referred to the nymph Apollo “fell in love with” and “tried to have his way with” but this was quickly disputed by all the references in the story.)
But the one thing that annoyed me about Daphne was that she was so perfect – it made her hard to relate to at times. I wanted her to have a flaw – it could have been something simple, but it never came up.
And as for when Haden and Daphne finally meet, the novel begins to play out a bit more like a young adult. The characters are both around 17 and attending a performing arts high school, and I felt that the plot introduced in the back cover blurb does get a bit lost in the high school aspects. Of course, this could be because I loved the whole epic Underrealm set-up in the beginning of the book and I wanted to see more of the Princes, etc. Also, personally speaking again, I am not a huge fan of the high school drama but this aspect of the novel shouldn’t have surprised me because – again – this was labelled as a young adult novel.
I feel like I have to stress that aspect of the novel, because the starting of the novel was so epic that I was sorry to see it change into a typical high school drama. But it is part of a series, so maybe the following novels will pick up on those more epic plot points of the story.
That being said, I did like the novel. Parts of the novel were really enjoyable, and I liked the world-building involved in creating the Underrealm. And I’ll probably continue reading the series to see where it goes. 🙂
(aka The Book Critic)