This review can also be found on my blog
First of all, I have the UK paperback version and I’m absolutely in love with the cover. I think it’s prettier than the US cover and kind of tells you a story on its own. At first I couldn’t have figured out what the cover is trying to represent or say, but after finishing the book I totally get it. Also, the cover does the book justice – it’s beautiful, mysterious, cruel, scary, thrilling. Tris is the exact same girl on the cover: unsure, thoughtful, boyish, scared and fearless at the same time. I can't remember how to stand. I can't remember how to punch. I walk to the center of the arena and my guts writhe as he comes toward me, taller than I remembered, arm muscles standing at attention. He smiles at me. I wonder if throwing up on him will do me any good.
I doubt it.
"You okay there, Stiff?" he says. "You look like you're about to cry. I might go easy on you if you cry."
Plot. I’m a huge fan of the Hunger Games and it was a pleasure to read a dystopian novel that didn’t fell short in comparison to it. I was really captivated by the whole plot. I loved the idea that all of the districts of the future Windy City represented a part of humanity. There are all of them in each and every one of us and it’d be hard to choose one faction instead of another at the age of sixteen. Young adults are one of the pillars of the society and I think it’s difficult for them to put one part of their nature above the others and cope with the aftermaths of their choices as they come hitting them in the gut later on. The only thing I would have wanted to see more were the other two factions in addition to Erudite, Dauntless and Abnegation. Roth gave us glimpses of Candors, but there wasn’t that much insight to Amity.
It’s a sign of a talented writer if a cruel moment like beating Tris up while seeing the scene from her perspective and listening to her thoughts speeding on a highway in different directions at that exact moment cracks me up like no other. It was terrifying and at the same time unbelievably hilarious since she can be so sarcastic about herself in addition to others. She should have a play date with Daemon Black, they’d just make sarcastic jokes about one another and it’d be a blast to read.
Characters. Tris – of course I loved her, how could I not? She is so full of life and emotions, she is smart, quick-thinking, sarcastic, fierce, strong, vulnerable and wasn’t afraid to express her opinion out loud. She had just the right amount of selfness and selflessness. Tris is brave but not foolish. Yeah, she jumped into some situations without thinking, but she is only sixteen and out of her comfort zone in this faction. Tris has so much to learn, but she can teach the others, too, since there are so many traits to her that the others can’t even begin to imagine.
Four. Oh-em-gee! He is one of the best love interests I’ve read about and I completely fell in love with him. He has his secrets and after I found out what they were, my heart ached for him even more. Wish I could have given this boy a hug or something. He is one of the best initiatives in this faction during the last couple of years, but he doesn’t believe in the cruelty that has come to rule among Dauntless. He is all about bravery, teamwork, supporting each other and giving it your 100%.
I was intrigued by Peter who was absolutely ruthless. I think there is much to him to discover. I hope he will come to his senses and I wonder what the heck in the world could have possibly made him like this. He must be scared for hell if he can do all those things in order to be the first past the post in these tests. He is afraid. He must be, right? No one in their right mind (except for maybe, let’s say, Eric) could be so cruel. I’m captivated by his presence and want to know more about him.
There were a few minor characters I also loved and I think Beatrice’s Mother was one of the bravest people in this book. I liked Caleb and Will. Christina, in my opinion, cared about Tris, but she wanted to shine on her own and it kind of bothered me that she stole her glory with the ‘capture the flag’ game. Well, Four knew it was Tris’s doing, so all’s okay in the end.
Romance. Oh, I loved that it was so laid back. It was sweet how Four and Tris didn’t jump into situations immediately and everything progressed slowly. It wasn’t overdone and the romance part was like sun after a long period of rain and thunder. It was shiny, happy, bright and yellow while the other things happening in this book were pretty dark, emotional, grey, scary and horrifying. Oh, and I enjoyed that Tris brought the fun, easygoing and sweet side out of Four. He is usually so stoic and brave, but Tris scared him in a good way. He gives me a conflicted look and touches his lips to my forehead, right between my eyebrows. I close my eyes. I don't understand this, whatever it is. But I don't want to ruin it, so I say nothing. He doesn't move; he just stays there with his mouth pressed to my skin, and I stay there with my hands on his waist, for a long time.
I really don’t have anything else to add except that I could go on and on four hours on how much I loved this book. My only regret is that I picked this novel up so late, but I’m happy I get to read the sequel sooner than a year after the first one. Too bad the final book is due to 2013 which is obviously too far away. If you have not read this series yet, I hope you will, it’s absolutely fantastic and a must read for all of THG fans out there. A definite recommend!