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

[FUN STUFF] Things literature has taught me about love

Inspired by Valentine’s Day and the uncountable displays of public affection hitting social media all over the world, here’s a little list I put together of things I’ve learnt about love from my reading adventures.

Image(Clary and Simon – The Mortal Instruments Series) 

1. Your best friend is absolutely, 100%, secretly head-over-heels in love with you and has been since the day he first laid eyes on you. How you remain persistently oblivious to this is kind of baffling, I mean have you seen the way he looks at you?! You totally lead him on too. You’re mean.

Image(Cole and Nikki – Everneath Series)

2. You will ignore your best friend’s frustratingly obvious affections and become obsessed with a seemingly unattainable rebel and/or supernatural being instead. Not cool.

Image(Bella and Jacob – Twilight Saga)

3. When the rebel and/or supernatural being inevitably breaks your heart, your best friend will wipe your tears and pick up all the broken pieces for you. He might even refrain from saying ‘I told you so’ (even though he so desperately wants to).

Image(Ron and Hermione – Harry Potter Series)

4. Your best friend will probably turn out to be the perfect guy after all. I told you so.

(Tris and Four – Divergent Trilogy)

5. If you’re a strong, independent woman who don’t need no man, it turns out you probably need a man. Because romance, right?

Image(Karou and Akiva – Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy)

6. Opposites attract. Yeah, things might get a bit rocky when you realise he’s slaughtered hundreds of your people, but true love conquers all, right?

Image(Hazel and Gus – The Fault in Our Stars)

7. No matter how you might see yourself, someone somewhere loves every single inch of you. Whether you like it or not (hopefully not in a creepy way).

Image(Cersei and Jaime – A Song of Ice and Fire Series)

8. Forbidden love is forbidden for a reason. No more Joffreys, please lord no more Joffreys.

Image(Ethan and Lena – The Caster Chronicles)

9. It might not be easy, but it will be worth it.

Image(Pat and Tiffany – The Silver Linings Playbook)

10. Never give up. There is someone out there who will understand your particular brand of crazy and love you for it, not in spite of it.

I feel far too mushy and sentimental now, ew gross. Do you have any favourite literary couples? I want to hear what books have taught you about love, life… anything!

[REVIEW] Free Four – Veronica Roth

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] 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

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.

[TOP TEN TUESDAY] Most memorable secondary characters

BlogMy first ever Top Ten Tuesday, hosted weekly by The Broke and Bookish, was a tough one. I spent a lot of time thinking about my choices and remembering why I absolutely adore, or despise, these secondary characters! I hope you like my choices and I look forward to reading everyone else’s picks!


10. Caleb Prior – Divergent Series (Veronica Roth)

Tris spends so much time thinking of herself (forgivable, she is the narrator after all) we never get a chance to pick her brother’s brain. Even though he regularly pops up throughout the series his motivations remain a mystery, and it would be interesting to hear the thoughts behind his, often surprising, choices.


9. Ron Weasley and Hermione Grainger – Harry Potter Series (JK Rowling)

No list about secondary characters would be complete without a nod to JK Rowling. Harry Potter is rife with minor characters as friends, enemies and creatures, arguably the most influential and important of which being Ron and Hermione. They’re the brains and heart behind Harry’s quest, always pushing him onwards and keeping him alive until the next challenge is thrown at him.


8. Moiraine Damodred – The Wheel of Time Series (Robert Jordan)

This slot could have been filled by a number of similar characters, the classic mysterious and wise mentor to the protagonist. I chose Moiraine as she’s a complete badass, an incredibly powerful Aes Sedai who made it her mission to find and train the Dragon Reborn, fending off Trollocs and Forsaken with barely a bat of an eyelid and trailing all over The Westlands to keep Rand in check.

7. Dorothea SaDiablo – Black Jewels Trilogy (Anne Bishop)

Evil in the way only a woman can be, Dorothea is cut throat and devious, taking pleasure from her power and the ways she can wield it. The main antagonist in The Black Jewels Trilogy and The Invisible Ring prequel, she is memorable for her cruel and unusual ways of controlling men.

6. Kelsier – Mistborn Trilogy (Brandon Sanderson)

Vin’s mentor in Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy is a rebellion hero. Powerful and dangerously charismatic he inspires a full scale revolution, giving us the most unforgettable scene in The Final Empire which encompasses everything he stands for.


5. The Tralfamadorians – Slaughterhouse 5 (Kurt Vonnegut)

Without these little green men Slaughterhouse 5 is a completely different novel. It is the philosophies and beliefs of these aliens that shape the novel, whether Billy is hallucinating or not. Billy used the Tralfamadorians to cope with the horrors he’d seen in Dresden, without them he would never have ‘travelled’ through the fourth dimension or learnt about the illusion of free will. Perhaps an unusual choice but the science fiction slant on what would otherwise be a literary anti-war novel is definitely unforgettable.


4. Rue – The Hunger Games (Susanne Collins)

Easily the most heartbreaking moment in The Hunger Games, Rue’s death symbolises everything Katniss hates about the Capitol. Innocent Rue was not only a memorable character but created, for me, the most memorable scene of the entire series.

3. Zuzana – Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series (Laini Taylor)

Zuzana is the perfect sidekick. She’s fierce, loyal and most importantly, hilarious. She offers the comic relief to an otherwise heavy series with her animated ways and is the reason Karou has such an affection for the human world.


2. Joffrey – A Song of Ice and Fire (George RR Martin)

No one who has read or seen Game of Thrones could forget Joffrey. The truly abhorrent eldest child of Cersei Lannister, he is cruel, spoilt and hated by his kingdom. Joffrey is without even one redeeming, humanising feature. Perhaps the most through-and-through evil character I’ve ever encountered and definitely memorable for it.

1. Tiny Cooper – Will Grayson, Will Grayson (John Green and David Levithan)

There is no other place than first for Tiny Cooper. He is loud, fabulous and completely steals the show. He stages the biggest school musical to ever grace Chicago, falls in love four times a week and eventually becomes the glue which holds the entire story together. Tiny is the embodiment of a memorable secondary character as he struts his giant way through life.

Make sure you comment below with your suggestions and most memorable secondary characters!