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  • Jennifer Grudziecki 4:49 pm on 2016/02/22 Permalink
    Tags: allegiant, , ,   

    Why We Love the Divergent Series, On the Page and Onscreen 

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    It’s a good time to be a Divergent fan: the entire series (including Four) is finally out in paperback, and the first half of Allegiant is about to hit theaters, bringing us more of the ever-wonderful Shailene Woodley. There’s really only one problem—the endless debate over that familiar question: which is better, the books or the movies? And the truth is, we can’t decide. There are just too many things to love on both sides; for instance, Four’s on-page character depth and dimensionality, versus Theo James’ onscreen abs. In the spirit of fairness, equality, and peace on earth, here’s why we love Divergent no matter the format.

    1. Characters that are perfectly imperfect.

    Nothing is better than finding characters you can relate to. Whether they’re made up of text or celluloid, it’s their flaws and imperfections that make them seem so real—and Divergent is full of imperfect people. Tris isn’t battle-hardened or super-powered, Caleb doesn’t always make the best decisions, and Peter? Well, Peter is full of flaws. But instead of giving in to their weaknesses and mistakes, they seek growth and redemption.

    2. Four. 

    It’s true that no one in the series is perfect, but Four comes awfully close. He’s strong, he’s brave, he’s a tactical genius, but he’s also surprisingly cuddly and sweet at times. And Theo James’s on-screen portrayal? Yes, please. We’d make the bold claim that Allegiant is Four’s best book, and we have high hopes for his scenes in the film adaptation.

    3. Bad guys that are truly bad. 

    A good series has to have a good villain, and boy, does this one get points for that: the bad guys are smart, tricky, scientific—really just the worst. And therefore the best.

    4.There’s no love triangle.

    Everyone enjoys a love triangle (or quadrangle), but it’s so refreshing to find a series that manages to include romance without going back to the choose-between-two-incredibly-hot-dudes well. Tris and Four may not always be on the same page, and their love isn’t perfect, but at least neither of them is left breaking some poor third party’s heart.

    5. Jokes! 

    All that action and adventure can get a little overwhelming, so it’s nice that Veronica Roth and the movie crew toss in a bit of humor to lighten the mood. Not to mention all the great, groan-worthy puns you can enjoy after you’ve read/watched the series.

    6. All the little changes.

    You may not be able to decide between the books and the movies, but you can over-analyze every little difference between them. And what’s more fun than watching Allegiant three times in a row just to make sure you can accurately debate them on Tumblr later?

    7. We could all use a trip to our fear landscape.

    You know what’s terrifying? Being presented with all of your worst fears in such a concrete way. But you know what’s really satisfying? Identifying all of your worst fears and training yourself to move past them. One of the best parts of the Divergent series is how Veronica Roth shows that being afraid doesn’t stop you from being brave—and honestly, the movie depictions of the fear landscapes are just so cool. (We can’t wait to see how Four’s fear landscape changes in the film version of Allegiant.)

    8. It’s gripping.

    Whether you’re sitting on the edge of your seat or turning the pages as fast as you can, there’s something about this series that makes you want to hold on. And with all the action that occurs in Allegiant, we know we’re going to be absolutely dying for part two to come out in 2017.

    Are you going to see Allegiant in theaters?

  • Joel Cunningham 3:30 pm on 2014/08/14 Permalink
    Tags: allegiant, beatrice gormley, , , , jonathan livingston seagull, lois lowry, mail-order wings, , mockingjay, patrick j buchanan, paul coelho, , rick perlstein, , the alchemist, , the greatest comeback, the invisible bridge: the fall of nixon andn the rise of reagan, , tripods, , ,   

    What to Read Next if You Liked The Invisible Bridge, Allegiant, The Giver, The Alchemist, or Maximum Ride 

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    photoThe Invisible Bridge: The Fall of Nixon and the Rise of Reagan, by Rick Perlstein, is the highly controversial, much discussed account of the end of one iconic political carrer and the liftoff of another. Bookend the experience by going back to happier times for Richard Nixon with The Greatest Comeback, by Patrick J. Buchanan, which chronicles his recovery from a devastating losses in the 1960 presidential election, and a bid for governorship of California in 1962, through a monumental victory in his second attempt at the Oval Office in 1968.

    Allegiant, by Veronica Roth, is the deeply polarizing final installment in the massively popular Divergent trilogy. Upon its release, as many fans embraced the risky final twists as rejected them outright. It was not dissimilar to the reaction that met Mockingjay, Suzanne Collins’ crescendo to The Hunger Games. Reading them both provides enough meat for an academic study in subverting genre tropes and audience expectations. Catch up now, and then see how Hollywood tries to sand down the rough edges when they are collectively adapted into a total of four films over the next few years.

    The Giver, by Lois Lowry, is the grandmother of the current wave of YA fiction featuring oppressive, totalitarian governments and the teens who hate them. For another vintage look at kids fighting against the system, look the the Tripods series by John Christopher (starting with The White Mountains). The books date from the late 1960s, but the storyline, about a group of kids who team up to throw off the yoke of oppression-by-alien-mind-control that has ensnared all earthly society, is as suspenseful as ever. Massive, betentacled machines that can suck the will to resist right out of your brain never go out of style, I guess.

    The Alchemist, by Paul Coelho, is less a novel than an inspirational allegorical fable, one that has inspired millions of people over the last quarter-century years to stop stumbling through their lives and find their true destinies (I’m sure an equal number of cynics were also inspired to roll their eyes, but 65 million copies sold speak for themselves). For a similarly motivating message in much weirder, 1960s-tinged packaging, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach, is the story of a seagull (yup) who becomes obsessed with mastering the beautiful mechanics of flight, and never stops striving for perfection even after he is cast out of his flock, answering in the affirmative the long-debated question: is Ayn Rand really for the birds?

    Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment, by James Patterson, has a killer premise for a series of YA novels. I mean, what kid wouldn’t want to read about genetically-altered kids with big giant wings that give them the ability to soar over the heads of taunting bullies (I mean, theoretically that’s what one could have used them for in, say, 1990 when one was in middle school). Personally, though, I can never think about this series without remembering the book that got there first. Don’t be deterred by its scant page-count or 1980s vintage cover: Mail-Order Wings, a middle grade novel by Beatrice Gormley about a nine-year-old girl who sends away for a “make your own wings” kit advertised in a newspaper ad and is shocked to discover they actually work, has haunted me for decades. The more she wears the wings, she the more birdlike and less human she becomes. Eventually they fuse to her back, her feet start turning to talons, and she flies off in search of the creepy old dude who placed the ad. It isn’t every day you get to describe a book written for 5th graders as “a Kafkaesque nightmare.”

    What are you reading?

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