Action/Adventure

The Fates Divide Review

3.5/5 Stars

I wasn’t a huge fan of the first book, Carve the Mark. The Fates Divide didn’t really impress me, either. But I am a Divergent fan, and I know the author has some pretty fantastic ideas, so I wanted to give this sequel a chance. Here are my honest opinions. [Review may contain some spoilers.]

The World-Building

I do think Roth develops her world more fully in this sequel. We get to see a variety of other planets. I think Ogra stuck out to me the most as unique, with the vicious plants, the glowing waters and creatures, the darkness, and the storms. There was something atmospheric about those scenes set in Ogra when they first arrive and in the temple.

The Writing

Roth’s writing style sometimes jarred me. I often found myself taken out of the story, because I had to re-read sentences more than once. There were frequent occurrences of a sentence or phrase being inserted within a sentence using dashes:

“It was a single room, with a stove half as wide as the one I had used on the sojourn ship – I thought of its permanent splatters with a sharp pang that made me hesitate with my jacket buttons – and a bathroom we couldn’t both stand in at the same time.”

I don’t remember this writing technique bothering me so much in Divergent, but it really stuck out in The Fates Divide. In these cases, I really do think the writing could be split into two sentences.

Roth does, however, have some strong lines in the book. And it does take a lot of creativity to come up with the Shotet, Thuhvesit, and Ogran languages. I think Roth did a good job with that task. “Mettle” is one aspect of the culture I enjoyed reading about:

“Mettle is bearing up again and again under assaults. It is perseverance, acceptance of risk, and the unwillingness to surrender.”

The term “mettle” seems to be important to the book’s theme.

The POVs and Characters

I didn’t understand why there needed to be four POVs. Eijeh barely narrated any chapters at all in comparison to the other three. Eijeh’s chapters were interesting, but I barely felt like I got to know him. I was quite frustrated with Cisi’s inability to defend herself all the time – even when in danger. And I felt that the book could have been much shorter without Eijeh and Cisi’s POVs. I didn’t think all the political discourse was necessary and would have been fine with only Cyra and Akos’s POVs. The multiple POVs made things more complicated and harder to connect to any particular character due to the switching. Even Akos made decisions that just didn’t feel like Akos.

I also thought Ast was a cool character and was glad Roth included a blind guy – until he turned into a “bad guy.”

The Pacing

I am certainly grateful that there was no huge info-dump at the beginning of The Fates Divide as there was in Carve the Mark. The first 20 pages had my attention. That being said, this book felt like 300 pages of political discourse and build-up for roughly 100 pages of action/stuff. It was so slow, and that is my main reason for my low rating. If you like slow pacing and political discourse, you may enjoy this book. But as a Divergent fan, this was not so appealing to me.

Lazmet, Cyra’s father, does not even show up until around page 125. And at this point, he is not physically present. It is only a message.

The first act of war happens around page 157 on Isae’s orders.

Near page 200, the big “twist” is introduced. And it is an interesting twist, but the pace was still slow.

Around page 210, we learn that Lazmet has ordered an attack on a city, but we still haven’t encountered him in person yet.

It is not until page 240 where Akos actually returns to the Shotet city of Voa.

Finally, there is a real, in-person encounter with Lazmet at page 260. But all the action really happens in roughly the last 100 pages of the novel.

The pay-off just felt disproportionately little in comparison to the 300 pages of build-up.

Could Cyra actually do what she did at the end? How did she just figure out what her power actually was? I think there should have been more scenes in the middle of the book where Cyra’s currentgift changes again, giving at least some hint of what her power can do other than cause pain.

Even at the end, Cyra is told that the Shotet exiles returned and seized control of Voa, but none of that was shown. Where were the battles on the ground? In Akos’s chapter, we are told in summary about all the deaths and bodies strewn across Thuvhe. But we don’t actually get to experience that fighting from the character’s POV. We are only told after-the-fact.

I think there could have been so much more tension and action if the war were experienced by the main characters in person. Roth has many good, creative ideas, and I think she could have done better than The Fates Divide. Of course, I understand it must be difficult to write a book that meets the expectations of people who read Divergent, because her first book did so well. But these are only my opinions.

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