1.5 Stars As time has passed I have developed a pretty strong disdain for this story; I rated it as 2.5 stars originally, but lowered it to reflect that.
So. Ok. At first I was not impressed with the story but....then I was....and I'm not sure why. I think maybe it was Four. He might have carried this for me. I like Tris ok, but I really like Four. There were several things that grated on my nerves, and even once I was finally allowed to know the reasoning I had trouble believing it. I've seen the plethora of 4-5 reviews, and so part of me thinks it might just be me that didn't get blown away from this story.
I don't see the comparison to The Hunger Games at all. There were a few mentions of people saying that Abnegation was hoarding fresh fruits and what not, but there was never a time when I saw hunger or trials. There was always food to be had at the home, and compounds, and the Factionless were the only ones mentioned as having trials of any kind (and even that was a little....I don't know the word. Saying that they held jobs like janitors and that was partly why they were so hard up was a bit rude).
Even the setting made no sense to me. Why was Chicago so run down? There was mention of war that led to the absurd segregation based on beliefs, but no reasons as to why the roads were so terrible, or why the buildings were so run down. At one point Tris makes a remark about brick being ancient, and that is 74% through the story. I just didn't get it. It was more of a personal, or love, story than a distopia to me, and I eventually liked that part of it...mostly.
There was a lot to being Dauntless that I had trouble believing. That a whole faction of people would just go along with being stupid was a bit hard for me to swallow. I can see some of the reasons that they would go along, but not that many people with that much stupidity--or brow beating that many into becoming adrenaline junkies. Jumping from the train 7 stories up and having people die? Sure, no problem. Throwing knives at people just to see if they flinch? Well why not. Having no rails around a chasm that would kill you? Hell no. Why on Earth would they want rails?! Making the kids fight with only one day of training? Not punishing people for murder, or maiming, and celebrating suicide? Sure, why not. Tattoos being the last word in bravery? Sigh. At one point Tris made me laugh with pointing out how asinine some of this was when she is speculating what the Dauntless do when they reunite on visiting day. She says "Maybe they take turns knives at each other's heads--it wouldn't surprise me." I was totally on board with what the manifesto stated they should be, and even totally fine with some of the daredevil stuff, but not for the whole of the faction and not to the extreme of which it was all done.
I was extremely annoyed with this whole Divergent thing. Extremely. It annoyed me the entire time I had to read that word. It made zero sense, and even when FINALLY revealed it STILL made no sense. At least, not enough to satisfy me anyway. And the times when it is referred to as "Divergent rebels" I wanted to throw my Kindle down in annoyance! There was no !@^$ mention of any !@^$ war for them to be rebels for! Holy hell that pissed me off! Just, ugh. Also, what the hell was with Tris shooting Will in the head, but getting Peter and Eric in their limbs?! Really? Really?! And having her Dad do what he did made no sense to me either. Why wouldn't she tell him to drop too, and then use her oh-so-awesome-Dauntless skills to take out those two running towards them?! It just pissed me off.
So, I guess, on the whole I liked it but that was certainly because of the story between Tris and Four. Not because of the story itself. Oh, and I was prepared for a lot of what was to come because some genius decided to start the table of contents with the first bit of sentence at each chapter. So I knew who was going to be revealed as whom and what was basically going to happen right when I opened, er, turned on the story. Anyway, I liked it ok, and though I had massive annoyance with the way in which the big showdown happened, I want to read the next book....course that's because I want to know more about Tris and Four and maybe they could get some action?! I get tired of reading about virgins sometimes...and this was one of those times lol. I was just yelling in my head for Four to take it to third base!!!! lol! ;).
Not the worst book I've ever read but not one I happened to like a great deal.