I am a major fan of Divergent and I read the entire book in one sitting; Insurgent was great too and then in my opinion Allegiant had to go and ruin everything at the end but other than that I loved that series and couldn’t wait to pick up this book. Even the movies weren’t a bad interpretation of the book and I am keen to see the last one in the series so as you can tell I had no hesitation in picking up Veronica Roth’s new book.
The book begins on the frozen planet of Thuvhe where Akos is taken from his family and made to watch his father die at the hands of Shotet soldiers. Akos and his brother are taken to live with the Shotet people and Akos’s brother is taken to exploit his powers of seeing into the future. Akos is forced to train like a soldier and it is here he meets Cyra who has powers as well but hers gives her pain that she can transfer to others through touch. Akos and Cyra are forced together as their powers compliment each other but being from different worlds and with their families histories it’s a question of will they work together for a greater cause?
If I’m honest I don’t know where to start with this book other than *I’m a bit disappointed* and I say that in a very small whisper because I had really high hopes and I don’t like to admit it. The book started well with an alternate and futuristic world, interplanetary travel and strange, new civilisations but then the book got slow…like really slow. Nothing happened for nearly 200 pages other than Akos and Cyra talking and training, all of which could have happened over 10 pages at the most. I feel like this book just didn’t have the same grasp or excitement as the Divergent trilogy, it almost feels rushed.
I loved the interplanetary aspect and the setting of the book because I am a bit of a sucker for any space themed plots. I also thought the different cultural aspects of each planet and civilisations was interesting, especially watching the relationship between Akos and Cyra develop as they learned more about each other and grew to respect their traditions. The gifts in the novel are not conventional which added a unique aspect to the plot such as Cyra who is riddled with pain that doctors can’t explain yet travels up and down her body in dark shadows so it is visible to onlookers. Her brother exploits her as the leader of the Shotet people and even uses her as a threat and punishment, but her ability added some mystery to the plot because I never truly felt it was explained or that she had harnessed it’s true power. The Thuvhe ability to predict the future held a lot of power over many of the worlds yet put that civilisation in danger and although Akos couldn’t see what was ahead his power was never fully explained other than the ability to be numb to others powers. If you have managed to read this far Im sure you’re confused but you aren’t alone because the gifts aspect confused me too, it wasn’t fully developed in my opinion. I feel like it could have been much more but was a missed opportunity.
One aspect of the novel that I picked up on and was weary of was Cyra’s gift of pain and how further into the novel she starts to control it and appreciate it. I found it a bit of a wary topic given that people out there who live in chronic pain won’t find it a fair comparison. I was actually a little relieved to find other people feel that way too and that some readers were offended by thealmost ‘blasé’ take on Cyra who is literally reduced to tears, sweats and fainting from her pain all of a sudden seeing it as a gift of strength.
Overall I gave this book a 3 out of 5 stars on goodreads because I truly believe it had potential but it just wasn’t fine tuned. I doubt I will read the rest of the series because if I’m honest I really struggled to get through this book and if I wasn’t a dedicated and ‘to the very end’ reader I probably would have set this book down. I am genuinely sad that I didn’t like this book and I just hope Veronica Roth brings out another series that is more to the standing of Divergent.