I have only read the first book of the Divergent series (and seen the movie) so I had no prior allegiance (LOL) to Veronica Roth. Since I did enjoy her storytelling in Divergent, I decided to pick up her first foray into the world of adult fiction and give it a shot.
I liked the concept of seeing how chosen ones live after they’ve defeated the big bad dude. The aftermath, the PTSD, the coping mechanisms, all were on full display in the group of chosen ones that we follow. Drinking, pretending, brave facing, adrenaline junkie-ing – it’s all here ten years later.
Where I feel like this book fell apart was in the execution of magic. How it was found and used, there is an entire history here that we miss because we weren’t there for the initial event. We get it in drips and drabs through chapters that are top secret documents we are privy to that document how things went down ten years ago, but I felt like it was a lot of exposition that couldn’t really be included in the action of the story because, well, the story was ten years later.
It would have been neat if there had been a duology or trilogy of YA novels that covered how they won as teenagers first, and then this book that is more adult that’s more of a “where are they now” kind of expose’. But that’s a lot of writing and not the point.
I don’t want to spoil anything for you, so I’ll keep my last criticism brief: The love stories. Something I bring up a lot here at Angry Angel Books is that not everything has to be a love story. People can just be friends. They don’t have to have sex and googly eye at each other. And where the second half of this book fell apart for me was the rebound relationship that our MC Sloane has after breaking off her ten year relationship (and engagement) with her fellow chosen one Matt. Roth wants me to believe this is an immediate love connection and it’s real thin. Everything about this new guy and the chosen ones’ new circumstances felt so out of left field and unbelievable that I almost didn’t finish the book. Again, I think a lack of history that had to somehow get woven in through exposition via documents and history books and articles make this a skeleton that had no meat on the bones. Even the villain(s) was(were) kind of boring and unimpressive.
The ending was not well handled, and again keep in mind that I almost just put this one down and didn’t finish. I think as a whole it was a good idea, a cool concept, but it somehow needed more than 400 pages of a hardcover to accomplish that. I almost wish this had been a duology: the first book a more fleshed out version of the first half of this book that ends in the cliffhanger of [spoiler], then the second book is the second half, again, better fleshed out and more room for expansion, character development, and a satisfying ending because we are now invested in this world and its people.
I’d have to say skip this one. It was okay but if you have other choices for summer reads go try those.