Tris Prior has escaped out of the dire situation at the end of the first book Divergent with Four straight into another time of action-packed scenes where truth is not as it seems and enemies seem to change with every page. She goes forward dauntlessly to figure out the truth, to find some sort of absolution for her deeds in the last book, and to understand her society.
I almost feel guilty for giving this book 1 star because it's not a horrible book. But honestly, I just didn't like it. I probably never should have picked up this second book because I didn't really like the first book (which I read a while back) as well - but I was convinced by a friend who loved it and then I didn't want to drop the book halfway in.
I've been thinking about why I dislike this book and I think it stems primarily from my disbelief of the dystopian world and the characters within this world. It just doesn't ring true to me. I say this because of the inconsistencies in character. For example, the five different groups represent five different personality traits. These factions become stereotypes of whatever they portray and seem to have no other personality traits beyond that. It's like the Dauntless can't think logically unless they're divergent. It's as if all Erudite members must be extreme nerds. It's as if someone from Amity will never argue. It infuriates me because that is such a contradiction after you get to know the more crucial characters for the book who all have different personalities and quirks like good characters do. So then why are the rest of the people in factions so darn stereotypical? It's as if these people are normal (as seen from characters we get to know like Tris or Tobias or Christina), but then not normal (as seen from supporting characters like Uriah, Caleb, and many more).
So my conclusion is that Roth doesn't go far enough into this dystopian world. The characters are just too similar to people who wouldn't live in a dystopian world until she wants to make a point that the world is different. Then all of a sudden they turn a 180 and say a line that says something to the effect of "oh I can't think logically, I'm not an Erudite" or "only the Dauntless are gutsy, you're not so you're weak". It's not consistent!!! And that infuriates me.
Another thing that just kept bothering me was the amount of times Roth had to make the obvious and overt statements that indicate Tris is divergent in terms of Erudite. I honestly don't see how she is divergent at all besides asking a lot of questions. It seems the difference between someone who's divergent and who's not is just that they aren't affected by simulations rather than personality characteristics. Which kinda blows the whole premise out of the water.
The action was as fast paced as the last book. Unfortunately that was more of a negative than a plus for me because I felt most of the action had zero to no transition, jumping from love-scene to an argument with the brother, to discovering a new twist, to running out of Candor into Amity, to shooting someone, to etc etc etc. As much as I love action, it feels like there was no thought placed into Tris's actions, like the character was falling into plot points rather than directing the story through her actions.
Okay, those are my opinions of the book - but that doesn't mean Roth is a bad writer. On the contrary, I can definitely see why many love this book. It has a strong heroine, a bad-ass love interest, many plot twists, good hate-able villains, action and adventure, and mystery. Her grammar and sentence structure has no problems. Her scenes are cohesive. It's not a bad book. I just didn't like it.
So yes, I didn't like the book, so therefore one star.
Recommended for people who read the first book Divergent (if you liked it). I just personally wouldn't recommend it to anyone.