Tag Archives: apocolyptic

Movie vs. Book: Divergent

divergentContributed by Alison Kurtzman

One choice can transform you.

Divergent tells the story of Beatrice “Tris” Prior, a sixteen-year-old living in post-apocalyptic Chicago. In this reality, from birth until the age of sixteen, children live with their parents in one of five factions, including Amity – the peaceful; Candor – the honest; Erudite – the knowledgeable; Dauntless – the brave; and Abnegation – the selfless.  Both the story and book begin with Tris expressing trepidation about her upcoming Tris’ simulation test, which will decide what faction she belongs to. Tris is placed in Abnegation,with her parents and brother, Caleb, but feels that she is not selfless enough to belong.

Despite her concerns, she arrives at her test and drinks the serum, which brings her into mental scenarios to help place her. Tris wakes up expecting a result that will calm her, but instead is told the test didn’t work on her. She’s Divergent, meaning her mind works differently from others, and that she is in danger. Jeanne, the Erudite leader, is leading a hunt to get rid of all Divergents. In order to help her, her tester manually enters an Abnegation test result, and warns Tris to choose carefully at the choosing ceremony.

Tris chooses to join Dauntless, leaving behind her parents, and brother, who chooses Erudite. In Dauntless, Tris meets Four, the handsome, recruit trainer and a mutual crush develops quickly. Tris becomes friends with three other Dauntless transfers: Christina, Will, and Al, while making enemies with Peter, Molly, and Drew, the other transfers. With the help of Four, Tris must navigate the grueling Dauntless initiation, all while keeping her secret. When Jeanne finds out about Tris’ divergence, she’s forced into a fight to save herself and her loved ones.

The film version of Divergent was well-done. It stayed fairly close to the book’s plot and didn’t change too much. However, I believe they made a few deadly errors. Firstly, Tris’ relationship with her family was not fleshed out as much as it should have been. Her loyalty to her family and regret for leaving isn’t well explained in the movie, and I think that lessens the importance of a major plot point.

Additionally, while it is explained that Peter, Tris’ initiate rival, is mean and threatens her, he is much more evil in the book. There is an important moment in which Peter physically attacks one of the other initiates, forcing him to drop out of initiation due to his injury. This section was not in the film, and needed to be. While it is gruesome, it establishes Peter’s personality and loyalty – something very important both in the end, and, even more importantly, in the next two books.

While there were not many major plot changes in the film, I think the changes that were made, were poor decisions. It may have helped the film’s flow,  but it will impact the audience’s understanding and feelings for the characters and plot in the next two parts of the Divergent series. My recommendation would be see the movie, but read the series as well, so you get the full story.

Get Divergent in paperback for $5.49.

Or on your Kindle for $4.99.

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Review: The Age of Miracles

Recap: In a world filled with young adult fiction novels full of post-apocolyptic stories, author Karen Thompson Walker tells the story not of what happens after the world ends, but what happens as it’s ending. The Age of Miracles is told through the eyes of a middle school aged girl, Julia, who lives in California with her parents when one day, the world begins to slow down.

Referred to as “the slowing,” the slow in time lengthens the days from 24 to 26 to 30 and ultimately upwards of 72 hours a day. The longer days mean lengthy periods of sunlight followed by lengthy periods of darkness. All that excessive darkness leads to the death of crops and therefore animals, while the sunlight leads to radiation and deadly sunburns. Ultimately, the world’s population splits into those who operate in “real time” — a 24-hour period — and those who operate by the new hours of light and dark deemed by “the slowing.”

As Julia’s family follows real time, the inconsistency in the length of days parallels the inconsistencies in her life. She’s coming of age in a time when everyone and everything is changing. It seems as though “the slowing” shifts something — affecting her parents’ marriage and Julia’s friendships at school. Julia’s best friend, Hanna, decides she’s too cool for Julia after Hanna temporarily moves with her family to try to escape “the slowing.” Seth Moreno, the cutest boy in school, befriends Julia. And as scientists work to determine what caused “the slowing,” Julia and everyone else keep trying to live what used to be a normal life.

AnalysisThe Age of Miracles is a tragic sci-fi coming-of-age story that makes the reader recognize that middle school is nowhere near as difficult as it could have been, had middle school also coincided with the end of the world. Julia’s feelings throughout the novel are strikingly similar that of any real-life 12-year-old, but “the slowing” adds another layer of strangeness and unfamiliarity.

The concept is unique, and the writing well-done, but I’ll admit the novel was a little too depressing for me. I commend author Karen Thompson Walker for braving the difficulty of not telling a post-apolocolyptic story, but rather, a pre-apocolyptic one. But the feelings of despair at the end of the novel are almost too dark to bear. Unless your plan is to then read The Hunger Games and assume that those novels pick up where this one left off.

MVP: Julia. With a title like The Age of Miracles, I have to admit it is quite a miracle that Julia makes it through adolescence and grows up to be a relatively normal adult. With so much uncertainty worldwide, the added difficulties of growing up, and pretty much everything going awry, it takes one tough, smart 12-year-old to get through it okay.

Get The Age of Miracles in paperback for $10.34.

Or on your Kindle for $9.82.

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