[BOOKTOFILMFRIDAY] Divergent

divergent-banner-new-76THIS POST AND THE COMMENTS BELOW CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR DIVERGENT (BOOK #1)

When I first read the Divergent series, I absolutely fell in love with the story, the characters and the writing. Since revisiting the books and seeing the film, however, I can’t help but feel a little differently. At first, I was definitely swept away and thought it was all super original and exciting, but now I’ve had a long time to think about it, I’m not so sure.

Initially, I enjoyed the film but going back and re-watching made me realise just how long it feels. A great deal of nothing happens for well over an hour and a half, and it’s so exhausting to watch. I was really impressed with how closely the film followed the book, but it actually seemed to highlight the fact that neither book nor film have a great deal of plot driving it forward. All the action is bunched up into literally the last 20-30 minutes of the film, and up until this section the whole thing feels more than a little pointless. Maybe the story was like this in the book too, only less noticeable since we also have Tris’ narration, thoughts and feelings to keep us entertained too, but the film just felt like it would never end.

The info-dumping at the beginning of the film infuriated me. There is little worse in a film than a huge pile of back-story being shoved in the audience’s face through narration, and then that narration suddenly disappearing until the end. It drives me crazy. Either find a way to weave the exposition naturally into the film or be consistent and have the narration throughout. It seems to happen a lot with young adult and dystopian/scifi films, probably due to the sheer amount of world-building that goes into these books, but it would be lovely if this vital information could be given to the audience in a different way. It just feels a lot like cheating.

I loved nearly all the characters in the book because they all seemed to be pretty well-developed, especially Tris’ Dauntless friends and her family, but felt that some of them really didn’t translate well on-screen. Theo James really didn’t work for me as Four/Tobias; I thought he was too cold and hard to portray the Four that I envisioned in the trilogy. I wasn’t convinced by the romance between Shailene and Theo whatsoever. I think Shai is a great actress but after seeing her on-screen chemistry with Ansel Elgort in The Fault in Our Stars, there is just no comparison here. To me, Four felt far too detached and emotionless and it made the romance with Tris feel random, unwarranted and even out of character. The book definitely wins out in the romance department as it’s a gradual, creeping realisation between the two which develops in a much more logical way.

four and tris

I thought Shailene in particular was brilliant. I love how you can see every emotion pass across her face and the way she’s able to convey Tris’ inner emotions without even speaking. One of my favourite scenes is the Choosing Ceremony purely down to Shailene’s performance. She’s clearly agonising over the choice the way it’s depicted in the book, and it just feels so real. This is the moment where Tris struggles over the decision over who she is and who she’s going to become, whether she is selfless enough to choose Abnegation or brave enough to be Dauntless. It’s a hugely important scene that sets up the entire movie and, in my opinion, Shailene nailed it.

choosing ceremony

I did enjoy reading the Divergent trilogy, mainly down to the exciting story and Veronica Roth’s easy to digest style. The books really do make for a good read and while I could definitely have been kinder about Divergent, I actually did enjoy the film for the most part. A number of scenes could definitely have found their way to the cutting room floor, but it’s always fun to see a book you enjoyed come to life.

Now that the story and background are set up properly, the rest of the films should be much more dynamic, action-packed and interesting to watch. I’m looking forward to seeing how the rest of the series translates to film, and only hope we get more sustained excitement throughout rather than cramming it all at the end!

Did you enjoy the book to film adaptation of Divergent? Do you agree or disagree with what I’ve mentioned? Let’s chat in the comments!

Charlotte x

Advertisements

[REVIEW] Free Four – Veronica Roth

ImageSummary
Overall – 1/5

Short Review
FREE FOUR is a (very) short story based on Veronica Roth’s DIVERGENT, second in a small series of eBooks which recount Tobias’ life before, during and after his own initiation. FREE FOUR is supposed to be a re-telling of DIVERGENT from Tobias’ view.

Honestly, my first thought when I finished this story was “Are you joking?”. I was very excited to get a chance to hear Four’s voice, especially now it’s been revealed that he will share the narration with Tris in ALLEGIANT, but I cannot help but feel completely let down by FREE FOUR.

It’s sold as “Free Four: Tobias Tells the Divergent Story”. Exciting, right? What you actually get is 8 pages (on my iPad Mini) of Tobias fumbling through the knife throwing scene, then four extracts from DIVERGENT and INSURGENT. Seriously, 8 pages.

The language felt very clumsy and rushed to me, definitely not up to Roth’s usual standard. It was difficult to truly see this narrator as Four; his voice didn’t feel right compared to the character in the main series and even the previous short story. I couldn’t relate to him in the same way or picture him as the same man at all. FREE FOUR didn’t add anything to this scene for me at all, Tobias was weak, even pathetic, and completely terrified of Eric. Not the Four we know.

I get the feeling a lot of hardcore fangirls will be thrilled at this release and while I do love Four and his relationship with Tris, I am definitely not thrilled. I only hope this isn’t a preview of what’s to come with ALLEGIANT.

[TOP TEN TUESDAY] TBR List (Autumn 2013)

BlogAfter last week my TBR list has definitely at least doubled! Everyone had such great picks that I couldn’t help but add a few to my list. I’ve managed to pull out a mix of the Top Ten I can’t wait for this Autumn and the ones I’m really excited to pick up next!

In no particular order:

Allegiant – Veronica Roth (22nd October 2013)
The final installment in the  Divergent Trilogy, I can’t wait to see how Roth wraps everything up and I’m especially excited to see how the double narration works. This book can’t come soon enough!

World After – Susan Ee (19th November 2013)
Does November count as Autumn? I’m not sure I care. I loved Angelfall and I’m so excited for the sequel, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Ee can keep up the pace in World After.

Not a Drop to Drink – Mindy McGinnis (24th September 2013)
I already love the plot outline and I’ve heard so many great things that I couldn’t not add it to my list. Survival in a barren world with limited water supplies is a completely different game to the other apocolypse books I’ve read so far and I’m interested to see how this pans out.

Speak – Laurie Halse Anderson
First published in 1999, Speak sounds heartbreaking and dark with a strong message. I’d like to read this for something more serious than the usual.

Wool/Shift – Hugh Howey
I picked up Shift a few weeks ago thinking it was the first book (somehow missing the giant II on the spine, duh), but then I found out it’s actually a prequel. Which do I read first? Help!

Fahrenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
A classic I should definitely have read by now, I’ve been meaning to pick this up for a long time but it keeps getting pushed further down the list the more new books I find. I’m going to find time to finally read this soon!

All Our Yesterdays – Cristin Terrill
Another book that is blowing up right now, the concept is different and interesting so I’m excited to get my hands on a copy! I’m pretty sure this will feature as a review soon enough.

Feed – Mira Grant
I’ve never read a zombie book and Feed seems like a good place to start. The reviews are great and I like that we enter the world 20 years after infection, offering a different take on the classic zombie thriller.

Neverfall – Brodi Ashton
Another book I keep putting off, I finished Everneath and Everbound within a matter of days and I need to find out what happens to Nikki! I did love the first two books and I will get round to Neverfall at some point!

The Night Circus – Erin Morgenstern
The Night Circus was all over Top Ten Tuesday last week and I want to find out what all the fuss is about for myself. It’s supposed to be really visual and magical so I’m looking forward to trying it out.

Have you read any of my choices? Or are you adding some to your TBR list too? Leave your comments below!

[TOP TEN TUESDAY] Books I would love to see as a movie/TV show

ImageThis weeks Top Ten Tuesday (click the image for the wonderful hosts!) was super easy for me. A lot of books I love have already been made into films or tv shows (for better or for worse) but there’s always going to be a long list of favourites I still want to see on the big screen! This list only stands under the condition that they’re done PERFECTLY (of course)!

The Eye of the World (The Wheel of Time Series)  – Robert Jordan
I would love to see this incredible series turned into a Game of Thrones style TV show. Epic adventure, magic, characters that just scream to be brought to life and a classic fantasy tale spanning 14 novels. Please, I am so ready for this.

The Final Empire (Mistborn Series) – Brandon Sanderson
In the same vein as the Wheel of Time Series, with GoT and True Blood paving the way for fantasy TV I think the public would eat this up.

Eragon (Inheritance Cycle) – Christopher Paolini
I know, I know, but it wasn’t very good. I want to see Eragon in the same glorious, magical light I read it in all those years ago and the 2006 film just did not satisfy.

Wicked (The Wicked Years) – Gregory Maguire
The musical inspired by Maguire’s truly amazing work is light, fun and definitely doesn’t reflect the deeper, sinister tone he weaves into the story. I’d love to see a film which follows the novel more closely and really plays up the darkness. (Side note: I absolutely adore the musical!)

If You Could See Me Now – Cecelia Ahern
I went through a major chicklit phase about 5 years ago and while I don’t read it anymore, If You Could See Me Now has really stuck with me. It would make for a great easy-going, soppy film to rival The Notebook.

The End Specialist – Drew Magary
Also known as The Postmortal in some countries, I can’t get the idea of The End Specialist filmed as an edgy, hand-camera style movie out of my head. It’s written like a documentary and would translate so well to cinema, someone make it happen!

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy) – Laini Taylor
Another fantasy novel I think would make a great film, Daughter of Smoke and Bone is quickly gaining popularity and I’m sure it won’t be long until someone smart snaps up the rights! With such a versatile vision, the series would make a fantastic 80s Jim Henson’s Labyrinth style film, a dark Tim Burton interpretation or a more serious offering from a fantasy loving director.

Animal Farm – George Orwell
While I’m pretty sure this has already been made into a film at some point, I’d love to see a modern update with some fun special effects.

The Vampire Lestat (Vampire Chronicles) – Anne Rice
Interview with the Vampire was so perfect and it’s such a shame that The Vampire Lestat fell through this April. Tom Cruise needs to reprise his role and bring Lestat back to life/death.

Divergent (Divergent Trilogy)- Veronica Roth
I don’t think I can wait any longer. PLEASE HURRY!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on books that would make great films or TV shows, make sure you comment below!

[REVIEW] The Transfer – Veronica Roth

ImageSummary
Overall – 3/5

Short Review
THE TRANSFER is the first in a new collection of short stories from Veronica Roth set within the Divergent world. Each story, released as individual eBooks, deals with one aspect of Four’s rise from Abnegation zero to Dauntless hero; The Transfer focusing on Tobias’ home life and his bold decision to leave his faction behind.

The first thing to note is that at 618 pages (on my phone that is!), THE TRANSFER really is a short story. I felt like the whole thing could have been split into three or four chapters of its own book, which padded out and added on to the following titles in the series could have made for a great novella to accompany the main series.

I have no doubts that this series is intended purely to extend the life of Roth’s series into a Twilight-esque hysteria, and a fully constructed novel/novella from Four’s perspective would perhaps have achieved that and better quenched the extreme thirst of obsessed fangirls. It would certainly have given Roth more room to explore Tobias’ life in Abnegation and his Initiation.

The story is nicely written in the same style as Divergent and Insurgent; while Roth doesn’t exactly push the boundaries in any way it’s always a pleasure to have an easy going read on hand (which may have been some of the problem).

Though I hardly expect a YA author to explain in much detail the way Tobias is treated at home I did hope for a darker, more serious atmosphere than the lighthearted tone I got. Naturally I felt sorry for Tobias but didn’t feel his resentment, anger or sadness as fiercely as in the main series which was a small disappointment.

Despite this, it was refreshing and interesting to hear Four’s thoughts and experience his Dauntless Initiation the same way we saw Tris’. I enjoyed spotting flashes of the strong, relentless Four from the trilogy peeking through his initial Abnegation demeanour, demonstrating how Roth is invested in developing her characters.

This short story mostly left me feeling conflicted. I love Roth’s world and characters but THE TRANSFER didn’t quite strike the same chord with me as the trilogy did; while it was great to discover new and hidden facets to Four’s personality the delivery wasn’t quite at the standard set in Divergent.

I’m sure THE TRANSFER and its companions will definitely tide fans over until Allegiant’s release on 22nd October, as a fandom we just can’t seem to get enough Four.