I am having so much trouble deciding whether to rate based on the books effectiveness or my personal feelings!
My expectations were probably unrealistic. I realize that it was all necessary in order to transition to the next book. It would be ridiculous for Tris to go through the things that she did in Divergent and expect her to not become this defeated and depressing person, I guess. If that is what Roth was trying to get across, she was highly successful.
One thing that I was impressed with, was the portrayal of Beatrice's PTSD-like symptoms. So often in these types of stories, the character happily kills people with little remorse. I honestly thought that the psychological realities of war and death were going to be ignored and things would return to normal relatively quickly.
If you read Divergent and want to complete the series, don't skip this book. I don't think that there was any other way to follow up on the first story. It's just hard to love a book in which characters you have grown fond of are struggling.
The experience was like: