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Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth
4.75
Book Name: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher(s): Katherine Tegen Books
Formatt: Hardcover / Paperback / Audio Book / eBook
Genre(s): Young Adult / Dystopian
Release Date: May 3, 2011

Here’s a title that, until a few weeks ago, had flown completely below my radar. My sister-in-law suggested it to me, claiming that if I loved The Hunger Games Trilogy, I would absolutely adore this book. I fixed her with a doubtful stare, one that told her plainly that I thought she was full of it. But, because I did love The Hunger Games so very much, I decided that I would give it a try.

The premise sounded interesting enough. (Insert loosely paraphrased book-jacket synopsis below!)

Beatrice Prior is a sixteen-year-old girl who lives in a dystopian version of Chicago. In this futuristic Chicago, society is divided into five “factions”. These factions are named after a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Those who are in them are expected to live their lives according to the virtue their faction is based on.

On a special day of the year (undefined by the author), each sixteen-year-old born into each faction must choose to either stay with their faction, or leave it. This decision is fueled by how each child performs in a simulated test that ranks which faction they would fit best in. If a child leaves the faction that they were born into for one of the other four, they start anew. They do not associate with their family and they must fully assimilate into their new faction. Beatrice must make this choice whether she likes it or not, and what she chooses surprises everyone, especially herself.

And, no, I shall not tell you which faction she was from, or which she chooses. You must read in order to figure this out. 🙂

Anyway, Beatrice, like all the other sixteen-year-olds, is subjected to this simulation test. And her results are startling and dangerous. She must keep them a secret from everyone: her friends, her family, and especially her faction leaders. Once she chooses, she and the other sixteen-year-olds go through a highly competitive initiation process into their chosen faction. During the initiation, she renames herself “Tris” and struggles to figure out who her true friends are and who she can and cannot trust. She meets a boy (big shock) nicknamed “Four.” He’s sexy and intimidating, and a little bit dangerous, and there is something about him that Tris can’t stop thinking about. To be frank, I can’t stop thinking about it either. Meeeow!

All around her there are secrets, but the secret she holds about herself is the most dangerous of all. If she isn’t careful, it could very well lead to her death. All around her there is conflict, between her peers, between the factions and within herself. She learns that her secret might help her save the people that she loves, or it might destroy her.

What I Liked

– Incredibly fast-paced read. There was so much action and suspense. I kept reading even when I thought my eyes would fall out because I literally HAD to know what would happen next. I haven’t been so emotionally invested in a YA novel in a long time.

– Tris is a TOTAL badass. She is by far my favorite heroine in a YA novel thus far, nudging Katniss Everdeen of The Hunger Games out of the number one spot.

– While her badassery knows no bounds, she is also not a robot. She has feelings and can be hurt, which makes her easy to identify with and look up to. She’s brave. She’s strong. But she also knows when weakness can be useful. 😉

– While she is interested in Four, Tris does not let her attraction to him rule her decisions. She still keeps her independence.

– Veronica Roth is fabulous. I don’t believe I read a single error in the book, which is saying something. I found an error on the third page of I Am Number Four. It was a very dark day for me, Pittacus Lore.

– The first-person point of view (POV) connects you intensely with Tris and her thoughts and feelings. This book is an emotional storm and I found myself on the verge of tears a couple of times. (I’m a tad sappy, though.)

– It was a very well executed narrative. Nothing was left unexplained that I knew would not be covered in the novels to come.

What Was Not So Great

– The main conflict just sort of exploded onto the page two thirds of the way through the novel. There was very little leading up to it, so it was unexpected and the tone of the novel did a very dramatic somersault that almost made it feel like a separate novel altogether.

I am very interested to see where this series progresses. Veronica Roth has constructed a very believable dystopian-futuristic novel, and it shakes you to the core. I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of The Hunger Games or of dystopian novels in general. You will swallow it up and starve for what happens next. Oh, and the movie rights have already been purchased. BOO-YAH! 😀

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Rating: 8.4/10 (8 votes cast)
Divergent by Veronica Roth, 8.4 out of 10 based on 8 ratings
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4 Comments

  1. Khaldun says:

    Interesting review. You can check out my full review on amazon.ca. I agree with your much of your review except your perception of Tris as a heroine. I found her to be much less caring, more selfish, and less strong than you seem to think. She was clever and badassed during the **SPOILER ALERT** giant paintball capture the flag match, but less so the rest of the time. She often thought about sticking up for people and then just didn’t. **END SPOILERS**

    I think we should have seen her want to help at the beginning but have someone else stop her, and then have her evolve to the point that she is willing to help someone even if the ‘bad guys’ might threaten her life (and ignore the advice of those around her). Much of her success has to do with the fact that she is born with certain advantages and the fact that she has a mentor who is able to help her. I don’t find her nearly self-sufficient enough to consider her to be a badass. It was annoying to find her acting like a badass and then in the next scene acting weak and broken (despite the fact that it may lead to some advantage. I don’t see that as being clever as much as too much of a chicken to stand up when you think something is wrong). I couldn’t stand the fact that she let some of the others ***MILD SPOILERS** be bullied and she just stood by ‘wanting to help’ but not doing it **END MILD SPOILERS**The 1st person POV was well chosen, but the present tense narration was a bit annoying. Also agreed re: the climax.

    I gave the book a B. Not nearly as good as Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi or the Uglies by Scott Westerfeld in my opinion.

  2. songofsorrow says:

    Nice review! Summed up what I felt as well! I loved both Divergent and Insurgent, and I look forward to your review of Insurgent (its a really different book – in pace, narration, and feel).

    What I liked best about Tris in Divergent was precisely how she wasn’t all figured out, you know? Divergent was all about Tris growing up, learning things about herself with each event/situation, and about the world she inhabits. So, if she turned out to be as Khaldun says, “less caring, more selfish and less strong”, I have no compunctions because I like that she isn’t a role model/ideal figure (which is pretty much the only thing we’re seeing in many YA novels these days); but what I do like about the book is how it narrated all of this through Tris. The first-person PoV was integral to this I think – It shifts the pace of the narrative every now and then, allowing us to see Tris come into her own.

    I agree with you about the book picking up pace 2/3rds of the way – it was abrupt, and yes, seemed like a totally different novel!

    But I think my biggest problem with a lot of YA books that are labelled Dystopian is that they rarely think through the Dystopian world enough (and this is, I’m sure, solely due to my ignorance about the existence of good Dystopian YA books; and is why I will read the ones Khaldun has suggested). Even though the factions are well thought-out in terms of their differences and how they relate to each other, etc. in both the Divergent series books, I feel as if Roth hasn’t really thought out some fundamental questions about why their world became Dystopian in the first place. So, here’s hoping the third book provides all the answers, since, as Roth’s style seems to indicate, we learn more about that world along with Tris. So, more power to her!

  3. Shane says:

    Why are there two sets of stars for reviews here? Couldn’t find a contact form to ask.

    • Autumn2May Autumn2May says:

      The stars near the book are for the book itself and are added by the review author, the stars at the bottom are for the article/review and are voted up and down by the readers. 🙂

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