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  • Abbie Smith

From Page to Screen: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Are you ready? Really ready? This is one of my favorites, so it's no wonder that I picked it to be early on in this series! Also. Dystopian is probably my favorite genre, even if it isn't very popular right now. I first read this series at the peak of 2010s dystopia, and I have reread it multiple times since.


The BOOK

I originally started this series once all three books were out, so I didn't have any of the dreaded waiting between books.


I must say, however, I devoured this series in a matter of days the first time.

My first impression on this re-read was how fast of a read it was. While the book is 400+ pages, I read it over a handful of days.


The book itself is very well written. Roth did a fantastic job of getting a character invested from the very beginning and keeping that engagement throughout the entire story.


Given that I've seen the movie more recently than the book, there were a few details that I forgot: like just how competitive the initiates were amongst themselves. One of the initiates literally has their eye stabbed in the dormitory. This wasn't included in the movie, but I really wish it had been, because that moment gives a lot of insight into one of the villains: Peter.


Part of me really, really, wishes this was adult. I think that this has more to do with my personal preferences than anything, because once, I would completely devour YA for years on end.


Visually, Roth did a fantastic job describing settings and characters. I never once felt like I was in a black box, which happens for me more often than not.


Not to come back to the changes in movie, but the ending was slightly different. Honestly, I think I preferred the movie.

The MOVIE

Yall. This movie. This movie is everything that I could have ever imagined and more. While the casting may not have been the most accurate, I felt like they did a fantastic job specifically with the leads and direct supporting characters.

This movie introduced me to one of my favorite actresses, Zoe Kravitz. I first fell in love with her portrayal as Christina, and that continues on the rewatch. In the book, Christina was a little more competitive and petty than in the movie. I loved the bond between the two women on the screen.


Who can argue that Tobias "Four" Eaton is yummy?


I'll wait.


*crickets*


That said, Theo James looked wayyy too old to play an 18-year-old. I get it, totally. I love Theo, I've seen just about everything he's been in, but I really wish they had cast someone a little more age appropriate.


There is one moment that I don't know a single other actor could have played. When Tris and Four are discussing ----


I enjoyed Theo James's smarm. He played it so well.


The movie added Tris's elimination after the first round in the movie, which did not happen in the book. I, however, loved that change, especially when she came running toward the train.


I liked that they didn't make Christina as selfish as she was in the book.


I hated that they made Caleb a yes man in the movie, rather than the whole plot of their mom trying to get him to research the serums and allowing him to come to his own conclusion about Erudite.


Eric was spot. on.


I wish they'd have kept Edward's attack in the movie. Sadly, it was a plot point that had to be cut for time.


I liked Kate Winslet as Jeanine. She was perfectly cast, and the ending scene with the "I'm Divergent" line is *chef's kiss*.


Another thing I thought the movie did better than the books was to show Tris's hesitation to kill one of her friends under the influence of the serum.


Ansel Elgort can't run. That is all.


Final THOUGHTS

I just. This story is fantastic, which is why the rest of the series is so depressing. Well, not the rest of the series. Just... Allegiant. Insurgent (book) is fantastic, but the movie veered so far from the book that I would not suggest watching it. Allegiant is a whole hot mess in itself, and it never completely made it to screen (they split it into two parts, and the final part never filmed).

In my opinion, the movies really screwed one of the best character arcs: Peter. They didn't fully explore his shades of gray, and I really wanted to see that.

If you enjoy dystopian with unique worldbuilding, YA appropriate romance, and want to be left feeling the need to kick some ass, absolutely check out BOTH the movie and the book. Just don't go any further into the series. :)
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