I'm conflicted in my feelings for this series. Sometimes I love the main character Tris, the fascinating world-building, and the romance...and sometimes I feel angry and confused about Tris's stupid choices and the over-complexity of the story. I also feel dissatisfied that this story could be brilliant but it's missing something. I'm not fully invested in these characters and I'm not sure why.
It's been a while since I had read Divergent and at times I was confused by the plentiful characters, especially Tris's fellow Dauntless initiates. I was also confused by the book's ending and have some questions about that.
I absolutely love the stuff with the brain and simulations. My inner psychologist nerd clapped with glee when the Erudite give Tris an MRI, then discuss her huge prefrontal cortex and tiny orbitofrontal cortex. So cool! I know the orbitofrontal cortex is implicated in drug addiction so I'm wondering if Tris would be less likely to succumb to drug addiction, just like she is less affected by simulations. I hadn't heard much about "mirror neurons" so at first I thought the author had made them up but it appears they might be real.
The plot is interesting though a little hard to follow. I wanted a bit more emphasis on characterization. There are
some sweet moments between Tris and Tobias:"Sometimes," Tobias says, sliding his arm across my shoulders, "people just want to be happy, even if it's not real."
He's right. Even now, this peace between us comes from not talking about things--about Will, or my parents... But I do not dare to disturb it with the truth, because I am too busy clinging to it for support.
"You might be right," I say quietly.
"Are you CONCEDING?" he says, his mouth falling open with mock surprise. "Seems like that serum did you some good after all..."
I shove him as hard as I can. "Take that back. Take it back now."
"Okay, okay!" He puts up his hands. "It's just...I'm not very nice either, you know. That's why I like you so--"
"Out!" I shout, pointing at the door.
Laughing to himself, Tobias kisses my cheek and leaves the room.
I wish they had more moments like this. Instead, I'm left thinking Tris doesn't deserve a boy like Tobias due to her lack of communication and complete disregard for herself. I definitely nodded when he tells her:"If you throw yourself into danger for no reason again, you will have become nothing more than a Dauntless adrenaline junkie looking for a hit, and I'm not going to help you do it."
Yeah! (Too bad he has trouble keeping his word).
I also didn't like Tris at the end. Siding with Tobias's enemy Marcus? That's a low blow. How does she know it's better to pursue the "truth" outside the fence than stay with the man she loves to take out Jeanine? I agree it's not smart to wipe out an entire faction but why doesn't Tris discuss this more with Tobias? I also wasn't quite sure I understood what was going on "outside the fence." Was there so much war and destruction that Americans created a test society with 5 factions to see how they got along? Was the woman in the video (Edith Prior) Tris's grandmother? (I can't remember the name of Tris's mother).
Overall it's an interesting series and I'm definitely reading book three. I hope the romance picks up and both characters develop more as the series continues.