In a future Chicago, sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.
My book lovin' peeps, I'm warning you now. This review is going to be brutally honest. Why? Because Divergent frustrated the hell out of me and wasted several hours of my life. Tit for tat. And I know, I could have put the book down & never picked it up again, but like many of you, I hate not finishing a book, especially if it costs me $18 plus tax. Also, given the fact that Divergent is almost 500 pages long and has received rave reviews, I was hoping that at the very least about 200 of those would be made of awesome. Therefore, I kept reading and waiting, but the awesome never made an appearance.
Anyways, let's get this show on the road. Brace yourselves. This might get ugly.
The plot...hmm, well I would describe it in the following arithmetic terms: 2 + 2 = 5. In other words, it was painfully simplistic and a bit logically handicapped. And here is why: (1) There was virtually no world-building and NOTHING was ever adequately explained, concretely defined, or fully developed and (2) the logic behind the concepts in this book as well as several actions of its characters was so full of holes that it was basically Swiss cheese.
First of all, we are never told when and how the factions came into being. We are simply told that Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent) were created to ensure that society functions efficiently and to prevent war. Well guess what? That makes no sense at all. Because by their very existence, structure, and way of living the factions promote things like segregation, discrimination, inequality, oppression, and competing belief systems. Sound familiar? They should. After all, they are the leading causes of discord & war among human civilizations throughout history. What a way to shoot yourself in the foot while simultaneously getting butted in the face by your gun's recoil. Bravo!
We are also told very little of what each faction actually does, and what we are told is fairly silly. Abnegation allegedly runs the government while being a complete pushover with no backbone. Erudite researches stuff, works on developing new technology, and arrogantly shuns & slanders other factions. Candor consists of human lie detectors that talk smack and openly insult everybody on a regular basis. Amity does nothing but smile and appear semi-catatonic half the time. And the Dauntless are supposed to serve as security, but in reality are just a bunch of reckless daredevils with borderline sociopathic tendencies. How this society manages to function at all or get anything done, I have no freakin' clue.
So what happens in Divergent? Nothing all that interesting or exciting until about the last 70 pages. The first 400+ are dedicated to Beatrice aka 'Tris' being initiated into the Dauntless, undergoing completely asinine training (read: senseless violence, death-defying acts of stupidity, and psychological torture), receiving a makeover, and repeatedly getting the snot beat out of her.
Oh, I almost forgot. Tris also ends up finding twu luv. Her love interest of choice is an older guy who (surprise, surprise) she knows almost nothing about and who treats her like crap in public because apparently it's for her own good. Moreover, Tris is not even pretty and looks like a 12-year-old child, but Four, the hottest badass around who is perfect at everything he does, thinks she's the best thing since sliced bread. AND...wait for it...wait for it...he just so happens to be a virgin with a tragic past & a wounded heart (making him broody & tough but with a gentle, soft side that no one else but Tris gets to see). I kid you not. Man, the cookie cutters making the rounds in YA fiction seriously need to get confiscated ASAP. Amirite?
Speaking of Tris, she started off kinda robotic, turned into a hypocritical biatch, took up membership in the TSTL club, and then strapped on a red bandana and acted like Rambo. To say that I disliked her would be an understatement. She passed judgement on EVERYONE and for things she herself did. In my opinion, she was cocky, mean, self-centered, and immature. On top of that, despite a couple of different people putting themselves on the line to protect her secret and warning her that being found out would probably result in execution, Tris frequently did things that were the equivalent of stamping DIVERGENT on her forehead and yelling "Here I am!" while jumping up & down, pointing at herself.
The sad thing is I could probably go on for several more paragraphs listing all the examples of unrealistic, illogical plot points & nonsensical ideas as well as reasons why I didn't like this book (e.g. the idiotic train jumping, the shoddy definition of being divergent, a teenager serving as faction leader, the miniscule adult involvement, Tris suddenly transforming into an unstoppable killing machine, etc.) But I won't because I'm tired of typing and I'm sure you're tired of reading this review turned rant. Needless to say, I have no intention of picking up Insurgent (book #2).
From the moment I opened this book I was captured by both the story and setting, but what made this book so superior for me were the characters. Beatrice or “Tris” as she becomes known is a small, skinny, flat-chested girl with a huge heart and courage to spare that I immediately liked. The other main character, Tobias is revealed to us more slowly, yet still comes off as a complete character, with his flaws, secrets and heroism revealed layer by layer.
The first story of a planned trilogy, Divergent sets the scene and tone for what is to follow. With non-stop action, great plot building and interesting moral choices for the characters to make, this story comes alive on the pages. We have the added bonus of a burgeoning love story between Tris and Tobias, which the author handles both lightly and deftly.
Divergent is a YA read that shows these characters taking charge of their lives, making snap decisions that will reverberate through the rest of the trilogy as they learn how to set new rules for this changing world that they live in. I am looking forward to following these characters into their future.
And yet as the book went on, I found myself getting more and more disappointed. It's a dystopia, a genre that I generally enjoy, but I found the world-building very simplistic. Society has been divided into five factions, based on people's predominant characteristics: Dauntless, Candor, Erudite, Amity, and Abnegation. The selfless Abnegation members form the government, since it's best to be governed by those who don't seek power. At the age of 16, everyone undergoes a test to see which faction they're best suited for, and the next day they have to make a choice that will determine the course of their life. (Warning: some spoilers from this point on)
Beatrice was born into Abnegation, but never quite felt that she was selfless enough. On the day of the test, she's given a strange result: she doesn't fit into any one faction, but is Divergent, a dangerous category that she's never heard of and is told to keep quiet about. Still, she has to choose which faction to join, and ultimately decides on Dauntless. Most of the book then deals with her Dauntless initiation process, which is pretty brutal and not something that I particularly enjoyed reading about.
Of course, there's something wrong with this society, as required in a dystopia: Dauntless is not what it seems to be; the Dauntless leaders are actually working in conjunction with Erudite to overthrow the Abnegation government. I would have liked to see some subtle intriguing here, to understand the conflicting motivations driving the Erudite and the Dauntless, but unfortunately there's no political depth. The Erudite are just hungry for power, and people are just generally tainted by evil. To achieve what they want, the Erudite come up with an injectable formula that lets them control the regular Dauntless. Again, there's no room for complex decisions or subtlety, no struggles to figure out the best course. These people want power, so they take it via outright mind control. This made for a pretty boring read, in my mind.
So then we're back to the bloody action scenes, as the Dauntless go on a mechanical attack against Abnegation, and Beatrice has to fight against them--one benefit of Divergence turns out to be a resistance to mind control. A bunch of loved ones get killed, but Beatrice prevails in the end. We're ultimately left at what might be the start of an interesting story: the society is shattered and the future is uncertain. More importantly, though, Beatrice is with her love interest, and it's been revealed in a heavy-handed message that the key element of Divergence, the thing that made it unspeakable and got Divergents classified as dangerous rebels, is that they "can't be confined to one way of thinking" and therefore "can't be controlled". I was expecting to find some deeper conspiracy after all the secrecy, but it turned out to be pretty general.
And that's basically the whole story in four paragraphs, but the full version has a lot more descriptions of violence, with some romance thrown in. I read it pretty quickly, but I was ultimately left wanting something more.
I thought that the plot was fast-paced and interesting, and I liked the character of Beatrice/Tris. She has to make a tough decision between staying with her family, or taking the path that she feels is the best fit for her. And I'm glad she made the decision she did or else this book would be rather boring.
Tris decides to head to the Dauntless faction. A faction filled with supposedly brave individuals. However, by the time Tris has gotten there, the Dauntless have mostly become a group of thrill-seeking lunatics. For initiation, Tris is forced to go through a grueling series of tests and training in order to be considered worthy of Dauntless. Throughout these trials, I enjoyed watching Tris find innovative ways to solve issues, often relying on her intellect to get the better of some of the more brutal initiates. However, Tris is not immune to the brutal tendencies that others thrive on. There are times in the book when Tris forgets herself and goes too far. However, these moments made for great character building moments in which Tris examines why she did those things, and comes to the conclusion that she does not want to be the brutal Dauntless that everyone is trying to make her into, but instead be the type of person that the Dauntless used to be. Courageous, but not needlessly violent. Violence is not a sign of bravery, but cowardice.
The world is decently set up. I believe that placing the book in Chicago actually helped to ground the book a little. Otherwise, there wouldn't have been much description of the world. I at times had trouble seeing this world in my mind and was a little confused as to how the train system worked. I also wanted to know if this was just going on only in Chicago, or if this was actually a worldwide government. It almost seemed like the only place on the planet was Chicago which made it hard to picture the large scale affects of what was happening in the book.
I also thought that there is a case to be made for social commentary in the book. One of the plot points of the book is that Tris is Divergent, meaning she doesn't fit a prescribed personality that would fit into one particular faction. This is apparently dangerous in this world and Tris has to work hard to cover up this fact. One could argue that there is commentary here about the state of our own society and how, oftentimes, those who do not fit with the societal idea of 'normal' are shunned from society and sometimes even physically and emotionally harmed. It's a common theme that runs throughout the book that I thought was interesting.
Now for the nagging questions. Some of these may contain spoilers so read at your own risk.
How did the world get this way? The system of government seems so unbelievable and frankly stupid that I don't understand why anyone would think this was a good idea? I also don't think that humans could actually work this way. People are naturally diverse in their beliefs and how they choose to act. Nobody fits into one personality trait unless you are extremely boring. I can't make heads or tails of why this society even exists, or how it exists.
Why do the Dauntless feel the need to jump off of trains? This just seems like senseless risking of their own lives, not bravery.
Where are all the old people in Dauntless? It is mentioned briefly that there are no older people in the Dauntless faction, but what happens to them? Do they all just end up dying from reckless acts or is there something more sinister going on?
Where are all of the female leaders? I know that the main character can be argued to be a strong female lead, but where are all the others? There is like one Dauntless leader that is just mentioned but doesn't play a role, and the other female characters are like back-ups. The only other female leader is evil. I find this troublesome.
If being Divergent is supposed to be so rare, why is it that everybody that matters in this book ends up being Divergent?
Beatrice Prior has grown up in Abnegation, the selfless faction which controls the government (because of their selflessness, they are seen as uncorruptible), but Tris doesn't feel like she is selfless enough to spend her life in Abnegation. She struggles with the thought of leaving everything and everyone she has ever known, but choosing her faction is only the first challenge that awaits her. After choosing a faction, teens must pass Initiation -- different for each faction, but challenging and sometimes dangerous. To top it off, Tris may be even more different than she originally suspected . . . and she lives in a world where such differences can get her killed.
This tightly-plotted story will grab readers' attention, pull them in, rush them through heart-pounding action, and leave them breathlessly wanting more. The author doesn't pull any punches, either: Tris's danger feels raw and realistic. The characters are strong and complex, and there's just enough romance to add interest to the story without taking over the central plot. Fans of The Hunger Games will love this book.
Beatrice Prior lives in Chicago of the future, where most of the skyscrapers are now empty husks, and where the populace is divided into five “factions” depending upon how they believe society should be run: Candor (those who value honesty above all else); Abnegation (the selfless); Dauntless (the brave); Amity (the peaceful); and Erudite (who believe in pursuit of knowledge as a panacea for the world’s evils). When children reach the age of 16, they undergo a “Choosing Ceremony” to select which faction they prefer, which need not be the same faction as that of their family, although it is thought of as somewhat of a disgrace if a child rejects his or her family’s faction. But the main important consideration is that they be committed to one faction or another, and not be "divergent." The selectees leave their families that very night to become initiated into, and trained by, whichever faction they choose.
Beatrice and her brother Caleb (also 16 although they were born almost a year apart) were brought up in Abnegation, and they will attend the same Choosing Ceremony to determine their futures. In exploring the post-ceremonial lives of Beatrice and Caleb, the reader climbs with them onto a rip-roaring ride through terror, helplessness, and a considerable amount of violence. Beatrice in particular finds herself over and over again in a classic zugzwang situation, which is the essence of her particular dilemma as a "divergent." But life, now scary and unpredictable, is also rewarding and exhilarating for both siblings, as they discover the true meanings of fairness, sacrifice, courage, peace, and the power of the intellect to effect both good and evil.
Evaluation: Summit (the studio behind "Twilight") picked up the rights to the film before the book was even released, which should alert you that this is one dystopia that actually lives up to its hype. The author, aged 22, wrote the book during her senior year in college. I don’t know how her other grades came out, but I’m hoping she got an A if she took creative writing.
Note: This is only book one of an intended trilogy. [But I didn't need to say that, right? Because it's sort of become a sine qua non of "YA Dystopia"]
The novel opens with the annual Choosing ceremony, in which sixteen year olds, after taking aptitude tests to determine which faction they're best suited for, choose--in front of family and friends--their affiliation for life. Not a whole lot of pressure there. Beatrice, our narrator and heroine, has an anomalous test result which causes her tester so much consternation that she erases it and tells Beatrice never to reveal the result to anyone. Beatrice is a Divergent. She has no idea what this means, but it's kind of scary.
At her Choosing, Beatrice chooses Dauntless. She's herded up with the other Dauntless initiates and taken to their compound, where her first test of bravery is to jump off the top of a building into the void. She does so--first in her group!--and renames herself Tris to commemorate the new person she thinks she'll become.
The bulk of the novel is taken up with the training of the initiates--to fight, to shoot, to face their fears--and the inculcation of Dauntless values. There's infighting and backstabbing, and more than one child is seriously hurt along the way. Nothing in the setting, the plot, or the characters particularly sets Divergent apart from the crop of dystopian novels that have glutted the young adult market since The Hunger Games hit just three years ago. Yet the action is solid, and the characters fine, and now and then there's a glimmer of something more, a glimmer which, in the last eighty pages of this 487 page novel, sparks the hope in this reader that the next installment of the trilogy may well embrace an originality not readily apparent in this one.
Divergent is recommended as a quick satisfying read for fans of The Hunger Games. Don't go into it expecting it Tris to shake your world the way that Kat did, and you'll enjoy it just fine.
The main parts I liked – the five Factions and their driving principles. These factions were formed as a result of a warring world, which was “blamed on the fault of human personality – of humankind’s inclination toward evil, in whatever form that is.” Of course, we, as readers, would find it impossible to live so singularly by these individual principals, nor do we define ourselves in such silos. Be that as it may, these thematic societies are part of the book’s charm.
Abnegation: Selflessness. Provided selfless leaders in government. They blamed selfishness for the wars.
Dauntless: Bravery. Provided protection to the society. They blamed cowardice.
Erudite: Intelligence. Provided teachers and researchers. They blamed ignorance.
Candor: Honesty. Provided Trustworthy and sound leaders in law. They blamed duplicity.
Amity: Kind, Loving, Free. Provided understanding counselors and caretakers. They blamed aggression.
The author, primarily through the heroine Beatrice, also known as Tris, provided extended traits and characteristics of these factions. The quotes below reveal nuggets of these. Individuals, who do not clearly fit the any of the factions above, are labeled as a Divergent.
While I wouldn’t say the book is predictable, the flow is obvious. The plot twists were in the lower level details, which is fine for a page-turner quick read. I didn’t find it as action packed as Hunger Games, but I didn’t need that, either. Interestingly, the arena, the preposterous Capital, and the gruesome fighting of HG, made HG a more unpredictable read than Divergent. I guessed the ‘main plot’ before it was revealed, and the mean (=bad) guys were still the bad guys. Regardless, Divergent is still an entertaining and enjoyable read. It’s worth a few hours’ time.
From Beatrice: “My father says that those who want power and get it live in terror of losing it That’s why we have to give power to those who do not want it.” Is it just me or does this remind you of Dumbledore’s magic in hiding the Sorcerer’s Stone?
Candor conflicts with Amity:
“Those who seek peace above all else will always deceive to keep the water calm.”
Beatrice’s Dauntless perspective, which I view as a twist to the famous quote of ‘Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.’ – by Ambrose Redmoon:
“There’s a difference between not being afraid and acting in spite of fear.”
From Dauntless Manifesto:
“We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.”
From Beatrice: “A long time ago, Erudite pursued knowledge and ingenuity for the sake of doing good. Now they pursue knowledge and ingenuity with greedy hearts.”
I had originally categorized Beatrice as being insightful and/or thoughtful. With this quote, I had wondered if she was verging on being judgmental. Perhaps, it’s simply a fine line between the two.
Being selfless makes you brave. Abnegation may not be so different then Dauntless.
Four says to Beatrice, “Because you’re from Abnegation. It’s when you’re acting selflessly that you are at your bravest.”
Will mocks his prior fraction, Erudite: “They’re arrogant and dull.” I can easily see how intelligence leads to arrogance.
Re: Suicide. It’s not the first time I’ve read suicide is a selfish act.
“In Abnegation no one has committed suicide in recent memory, but the faction’s stance on it is clear: Suicide, to them, is an act of selfishness. Someone who is truly selfless does not think of himself often enough to desire death.”
Regarding Erudite’s leader, Jeanine:
“She see problems and forms solutions based on the data she collects. Abnegation stood in the way of her desire for power, so she found a way to eliminate it… Divergence is just another problem for her to solve, and that is what makes her so terrifying – because she is smart enough to solve anything, even the problem of our existence.”
This pinched a nerve for me, since we are problem solvers in our society and this is how many of us live our lives. At what point do we cross a line via rationalization?
tl;dr summary of the (actually kind of High School Musical-esque) premise: Mega-basic internet personality tests have REAL IMPLICATIONS and everybody gets assigned a clique based on their multiple choice quiz results at 15. Some people are ACTUALLY a combination of the traits "brave," "honest," "self-sacrificing," "loving," and "smart" which threatens the status quo and must be stamped out. Being "divergent" in this way somehow gives one the ability to lucid dream and immunity to mind control.
This is a great YA book. In the vein of Hunger Games. This world is set up in 5 "factions," each dedicated to a virtue (honesty, selflessness, bravery, peace and intelligence). At age 16, the children of the factions are given a test that helps them determine which faction they will most likely succeed. Beatrice is part of the faction that honors selflessness. She does not feel like she belongs. It is a lot of fun. It is not as overtly violent as Hunger Games. Though there is violence. It's a great book. Look it up and see if you would like it too. I look forward to another installment.
The idea itself is quite sound and interesting. Five factions, you have to decide where your loyalties lie and the phrase 'faction before blood' is repeated throughout the book. However despite a strong start all of this disappears as the story becomes a cliched look inside a weak girl's mind as she deals with feelings for a boy she likes but really shouldn't because he's such an anti-social hardass.
Beatrice/Tris is inconsistent to me. She starts out as weak, quiet, unassuming and then becomes a witty, arrogant, snarky young girl. If it was mean to be the Dauntless effect, there was no real connection there for me.
My biggest issue of the story is that so much is referred to as normal behaviors for certain factions, Candor are honest, Dauntless are daring, etc, but we have absolutely no history on why these factions came into existence. There is just brief mentions that things are different now and the factions are to stop the world becoming what it used to be. But it doesn't specify if this is post-war, or present day, or anything. And the brief mention of the factionless (people who don't get selected or are kicked out of a faction) makes me think that this is where Tris is going to end up, and perhaps rally the factionless together in some renegade fight against those in charge who, again, are not identified too clearly.
I found the whole novel predictable. When Beatrice explains the factions at the beginning and notes her family born Abnegation as the extremely polite do-gooder faction who never ask questions and always put others first, and then explains Dauntless as the 'scary' option because they are so fearless, it was screamingly obvious that Beatrice was going to change. The shock was that her brother changed as well, but we don't get a hell of a lot of insight into that. Tris somehow makes it to the top of the leaderboard with all her other Dauntless initiates to her own and to my disbelief. She doesn't get why she's good, and its not explained to the reader.
The strained romance between Tris and Four I found utterly unbelievable and awkward to read. And it surprised me how this girl who grew up with such a sheltered life and has never had the social interactions expected of a girl her age manages to act exactly like a teenage girl from a modern day novel. Whenever it was a scene with Four and Tris, I skimmed right past it. I could not care less about them, and the story narrows to become just about the two of them towards the end, so I skimmed a lot of that, too.
If you want The Hunger Games without the action, adventure, mystery and unique heroine, then read this book. Otherwise, avoid.
Review: I absolutely tore through this book. It's not short - almost 500 pages in the hardcover - but I devoured the whole thing in less than 24 hours, and that's including a full day of work and a good night's sleep. The book is almost non-stop action, and it's fast-moving enough that it's damn near impossible to put down. Added to that, Tris's story sucked me in completely. Amid all the action, there's a definite thread of romance, complete with a swoon-worthy leading man, although - refreshingly - the book is concerned with Tris's personal journey in all its facets, rather than focusing exclusively on the romantic angle. She's a great heroine, strong and independent but still human and relatable, and surrounded by interesting (although not always particularly multidimensional) secondary characters.
The only real issue that I had was with the structure of the dystopia. In terms of worldbuilding, it's fine, and it was easy enough to get immersed into the world that Roth has created. My problem was that it felt a little arbitrary, with no logical path on how we got from here to there. I don't need my dystopias to be likely (I'd rather they weren't, actually), but I do need them to be plausible, and the five-faction system of Divergent just seemed a little silly when I stopped to think about it.
...Which, as I mentioned, wasn't often, considering how well this book sucked me into its story and didn't let me go. I'm hoping that as Roth has a little more space to flesh out her world in the next book(s), a deeper and less arbitrary structure and history will start to emerge.
Oh, and did I mention that it's set in a post-apocalyptic Chicago? I love reading stories set in locales I know, and now I'm dying to read Roth's next book if for no other reason than to figure out what the heck happened to my hometown. Riding the El will never be quite the same again, that's for sure. 4 out of 5 stars.
Recommendation: Although this book isn't quite the revelation that The Hunger Games was, it's definitely poised to capture the attention of fans of that series, and should be a fast, exciting, and enjoyable read for fans of YA dystopian novels more generally.
There were many elements to the storyline. First was the political conflict. The 5 factions were well defined and easily justified. The overall concept of fitting into 5 different types of people in order to maintain peace after humans nearly destroyed the world and themselves previously was very easily accepted. I found the simplicity of the division natural and very interesting. This simplicity served as a tremendous contrast to Tris' complexity. Her voice was clear and loud while her introspect was cautious and unwinding. Her inner conflict forced you to question what you would deem acceptable if you were in her situation. This storyline alone held my attention throughout.
The next element throughout was the development of Tris' relationship with Four. Four was an amazing character. While his true identity was a bit obvious from his immediate introduction, his personality evolved nicely as the story went on. Because we hear the story from Tris' perspective, we get to know him as she does. There was just enough suspence with finding out his true attributes to keep it exciting and never dry. I loved the strength that Tris possessed when she was around him. I also loved the insight he provided for her. Their interactions were diverse and never lacked tension or electricity. Together their story was vivid and seem to play in my mind like scenes from a movie.
All of Tris' relationships were very robust. There really wasn't a time where I questioned her reactions to or feelings about the people around her. She had amazing insticts. Her refusal to conform to society was refreshing and inspiring. I found myself constantly rooting for her and pulling for her to remain true to herself.
The concept which brought us to the climax of the conflict was the only element that I was a bit disappointed with. I found that piece initially a bit of a stretch and maybe a little bit of a let down compared to the rest of the story. However, after the initial abrupt introduction of it, the pace and flow of its development fit nicely.
Overall this is a great story. Fans of the Hunger Games will love this.
There is five factions in the community; Dauntless, Amity, Abnegation, Candor, and Eurdite. Each believes in being the opposite of what supposedly corrupted our world. Different factions believe in; bravery, peacefulness, selflessness, honesty, and intelligence.
Children are born into the faction their parents are in. When people are sixteen they choose the faction that they would like to be in. Once a person picks their faction, they have to go through an initiation process. If they don't pass the initiation, they become Factionless. Being Factionless means you're at the lowest place in the community.
Beatrice is sixteen and is getting ready to choose her faction. She is not sure what faction she should choose. Beatrice knows that she should choose her original faction, Abnegation, but something about it she doesn't think fits her. Beatrice wants to know what faction she really belongs to.
“Divergent” is about Beatrice and her faction. Once in her faction, Beatrice begins to notice that something isn't quite right.
I could not put down “Divergent” by Veronica Roth. It was so intense at some points that I read almost until midnight! I give this book an easy five stars, and each star is well deserved.
“Divergent” was a lot of fun to read because you never know what is going to happen. You suspect something to happen but the complete opposite thing will happen. Adventure and suspense were never left out of this book.
Adventure was a main part of this book. I loved all the aspects of the adventure. Everyone likes different kinds of adventure, but I think anyone can love the adventure in “Divergent”. The idea of having a big city/community and have to be broken up in sections seems interesting. When you can barely see other factions, and live on your own. It all seems so adventurous and fun.
In this community, ONE decision decides your whole future! The faction you pick decides your job, spouse, and everything you do. Having this one decision to choose is nerve-wrecking and that is why I loved this book. The author made it feel like I was the one who had to make this huge decision. It wasn't only the decision making that I felt like I was in the book, but I felt the love, sadness, and hurt. I felt these things for Beatrice but also for me. The author made them so real that I felt like I was experiencing them myself. Veronica Roth did amazing job writing this novel.
The story had romance too, most good books do. Beatrice is faced with an intense, annoying, hard instructor who happens to be strong, handsome, and intelligent. She doesn't know whether the feelings are just there, or are just eating her insides up. Every girl loves a little romance, but it's not too much that boys won't enjoy the book.
I think the end of the book did come a little too rushed. This might have been because it actually came too rushed, or because I was enjoying the book so much I didn't want to stop. I thought the last chapter would be big and extravagant, but it was calm and weak. I felt like I wanted more of a conclusion, although the rest of the book made up for the ending. Once I thought about the whole book again, the ending was just a small thing I didn't like out of the whole book!
“Divergent” by Veronica Roth will easily make your top ten favorite book list! Mine is tough to get on but “Divergent” made it in a heartbeat. Divergent was full of fun, adventure, and anything that goes into a great book. Reading it was like eating warm and gooey brownies, you just can't stop!
The concept of a society divided by factions was quite captivating for me. I kept wondering where I would fit in the faction system... Am I courageous, peaceful, smart, honest, selfless?? Younger and older readers alike can see parts of themselves in the very believable characters that Roth paints. I really liked the protagonist and I am a fan of YA authors increasing the strength of the female leads of recent novels.
All in all, I really loved this book. It was indeed a page turner. I stayed up late reading when I should have been sleeping (I am NOT the intended YA audience and need my beauty rest!). I will be heading to the bookstore soon to pick up the second novel in the series.
Recommended for people who like: The Hunger Games, Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series, Ender’s Game
“Genre” Tags: Dystopian, Adventure, Cinematic Style Writing, We Need to Save the World but First We Have to Survive School
The Official Summary: In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.
I’m going to warn you that this is not going to be like a normal review. I really don’t want to spoil anything, especially when the blogosphere did such a good job of not spoiling me. But the book is so well-crafted* that I am going to put on my “Writerly Analysis” hat so I can more thoroughly sing Roth’s praises.
I am a little behind the rest of the blogging world. Most of the other book bloggers were gushing about this book when it came out two weeks ago. I was in the middle of law school finals. But I went out and got it because every review I saw was gushing about this book— and with good reason! This book is amazing. It starts a little slowly, but that’s mostly because the reader follows Beatrice’s actions with the thought of “Well, duh. You have to make that choice, or this is going to be a really dull 500 page book.” That’s just a really, really tiny issue though, and the world is so interesting that the reader can let little things like the first 50 pages of slight indecision slide. Of course, if you’re a really character-driven reader, you’ll probably love that part, especially as it relates to Beatrice/Tris’s later development.
By the time I was halfway through the book I was hooked. I couldn’t put it down because of the awesome blend of romance and action and stress. And you know what I said about the beginning being a bit predictable, because otherwise there’d be no book? That goes away. Big time. By the time I got to page 300 or so, I was reading and thought to myself, “Oh dear lord. She might just kill off a main character. I think she both could and would.” And that terror kept me flipping pages.
This book also has what I like to think of as the cinematic writing style. Both Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies series and Ender’s Game have it— there’s a lot of focus on external action and the language is precise and clear. It’s really just an extreme form of the old writing mantra of “show don’t tell.” In this book and Westerfeld’s Uglies, the heroines tends to default to action in times of stress because that’s where they can kind of connect with their instincts and forcefully go after what they want. A counter-example would be Harry Potter. Though J.K. Rowling is a genius, she spent a lot of time in Harry’s head, which is why I think his internal struggle doesn’t translate to the screen well.
Switching to another of my favorite “Analyze the writing topics,” there is another reason to love this book: closure. The story has a definite, satisfying ending! On the cliffhanger scale, this book ends on a “Hm. Well, now we have a vague, massive problem to deal with, but at least we have faced the immediate threat” a la Harry Potter. I can live with that. In fact, I love that. Down with cliffhangers!!!
Rating: 5+ stars— Definitely qualifies as one of the best books I’ve read in 2011. Veronica Roth is amazing (especially when you consider this is her first book! I’m so jealous. It’s really jaw-droppingly good) and is being added to my “read everything by this author” list.
Other Tangential Thoughts: If you are participating in The Story Siren’s 2011 Debut Author Challenge, this book counts! This is Veronica Roth’s first novel! Also, according to Good Reads this is the first book in a trilogy. The second and third books are untitled as of yet. If I haven’t convinced you, you can read the first 100 pages for free from Veronica’s website.
*I realize well-crafted is a subjective term. I think it’s amazing, largely because there’s a central theme about the meaning of strength and courage, but the book is ridiculously engaging for both plot and character-driven readers alike. Once you’re done being introduced to the world it’s ridiculously well-paced, and the romance is believable (no insta-love, though there is a bit of insta-crushing on both sides ;) )
Where, oh where shall I begin? Let's talk about the 5 factions. We've got the Selfless, the Brave (or as I much of the time thought of them "The Stupid and Crazy"), the Honest, the Intelligent, and the Peaceful. Our main character, Beatrice is born into the Selfless faction, however when she turns 16, she can choose where she goes. And she chooses to go with the Brave. The book tells the journey she makes through the initiation process for Dauntless (the Brave). This faction only takes the top 10 initiates so Tris has to be good. Which, she is (though not at first).
Let me go all super nerd on you and analyze the diction real quick. Why is it that Veronica Roth chose Dauntless for the name of the "brave" faction? They are the only ones in which the name of the faction has a Derivational suffix (thank you, Dr. Kerr.). Derivational suffix meaning that the -LESS is attached at the end. These people LACK something, they lack fear. All the other factions are FULL of something - not in the names themselves but if you think about it..the Erudite are full of knowledge (she didn't say they were lacking stupidity, etc). Alright, out of super-nerd world and back to reality..
And her instructor (and MAJOR HOTTIE) Four (yes, his name is Four..seriously sexy and the reason for his nickname is even sexier) is pretty much the apple of my eye in this book. He's sweet and a BAMF. His real name isn't so hot, but I'm willing to look past this. Although when he told Tris that he didn't think she was pretty..I was NOT very happy with him. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, my dearest Four.
On her way to becoming a member of the Dauntless, Tris has to go through some physical as well as mental obstacles. Seriously, this faction is CRAZY. I'm talking stabbing-people-in-the-eye-while-they-sleep and jumping-off-cliffs type of crazy. She also has to battle the faction that wishes to take down Abnegation (her old faction, where her parents live). The problem with this? The "bad guy" faction is the one that her brother is in. Rut Roh.
Tris is a strong female character who doesn't take anything from anyone. Whether or not that helps or hurts her, both she and I aren't sure. But I do love her and want to protect her. She's more special than she even knows.
My favorite character would have to be Christina though. She's a fellow Dauntless initiate who was originally in Candor (the honest faction). She's edgy and outspoken and just..blunt. I love it. *Shoutout to Sassafras - this character is you on paper.
Also, I liked that there was more than one "bad" guy. It was more like a group of bad guys and they aren't necessarily working together. I actually think that there were more corrupt people in this book than good people. Anyway, it spread out my hatred for the nemesis and so it was easier to perhaps, ahem..forgive certain characters for their "mistakes". And I liked that Ms. Roth had the guts to kill off so many people (And she did!). It was like a "HELLO. I am not some super sweet happy ending kind of girl". Alot of authors don't kill off as many people in THREE books as she did in this one. I'm loving it and hating it at the same time.
If I had to choose which faction I would be in, I would have to go with Amity (the peaceful). I'm not "brave" aka crazy enough to jump off of a moving train 7 stories up or get my face smashed in. I'm not willing to tell people my darkest secrets and be 100% blunt when people ask my opinion. I'm not selfless enough to ALWAYS put other people ahead of me. And I'm not hungry enough for knowledge. Plus, I don't like to rock the boat so Amity seems like the way to go.
When Beatrice Prior is tested along with countless other teens, her results are not what is expected. Her test administrator tells her, in whispers, that she is what is known as a Divergent - meaning she has capabilities that the Union (the new world order) may kill her for possessing. And when she chooses the Dauntless faction over her home faction of Abnegation, she finds her true self while uncovering sinister plots and conspiracies. Along the way she makes friends with two of her fellow initiates and finds romance with Four, one of the initiate instructors. What follows is a roller-coaster ride of failure and success and the uncovering of family secrets long held. This first book of the Divergent trilogy ends with the beginnings of war - a war that has been instigated by people who are fed up with the way the Union is run and who want to take control into their own hands. But is this revolution going to produce a better world or will it end up with one faction ruling the others?
Divergent is a face-paced thriller with characters that are complex and simple at the same time. A blend of physical strength and deep intelligence marks Tris and Four as the forerunners of the resistance in much the same way as Katniss Everdeen of Hunger Games. Fast-moving action will keep you turning the pages long after bedtime.
Right away, I felt an immediate connection with Tris. Despite any loyalty she feels for her Abnegation family, Tris takes the step to make a decision for herself. It was easy to fall into the guilt she felt for leaving her family behind, but equally liberating as she found her independence. Tris grows so much throughout the course of the story and, though she's not always the strongest, she's absolutely fierce and determined. I won't give anything away, but some characters are absolutely horrible and I love that she finds a way to fight back.
Four has always been my favorite number and now I have another reason to love it thanks to this magnificent character. The silent and brooding type, right? Oh, but there's more! His relationship with Tris is gradual, but one that easily shows the mutual respect they have for each other, a true and equal match.
The rest of the supporting cast made for some interesting dynamics as well. The friendship with Christina, the awkwardness with Al, the loathing of Eric and Peter... This book was such a roller coaster, carrying me through so many emotions. It kept me on my toes; just when I thought my heart couldn't race any faster...BAM! Tris's entire initiation process was intense but, believe me, things get even crazier with shocking twists and secrets along the way.
It's been a few weeks since I finished the book and yet I find it so easy to dive back into this world during this review PICK.THIS.UP.
Beatrice is such an unforgettable character, there are so many things to admire about her. She's brave, strong, and fiercely determined, but she's also incredibly flawed. I really liked how she isn't perfect and yet still strives to be better at everything she does. With all that being said though, I just didn't find Tris to be all that likeable, but just to be clear she's not unlikeable either. She's just a very complex character that you can't really pinpoint as being one thing. If there's a way to care for a character, who in my opinion is slightly unlikeable, then that's how I feel about Tris.
"Four" is another really deep and complicated character. I loved the way in which his backstory is slowly revealed. I think it helps give the reader a lot more time to better understand and identify with him. I also really enjoyed the interaction between "Four" and Tris since both of them are so stubborn and don't show their emotion easily. The other thing I liked about him was that I never really knew what he'd say or do next.
I was amazed at the depth brought to all the supporting characters as well. Many of them seem one way to only turn around and be very different from how you first saw them. I especially liked Christina, Will and Tori since not only are they all so different from Tris, but offer a very different view of the world they live in.
The pacing of the novel is relentless as it never slows down or lets you catch your breath. Everytime you think the plot might be letting up, Veronica Roth hits you with something new and unexpected. I relished each new twist which makes this 450+ page novel nearly impossible to put down.
The last quarter of the novel left me completely shocked as a few things happened that I just couldn't believe and never expected. Also I'm thrilled to say that Divergent doesn't end with a cliffhanger, but leaves the door wide open for the sequels which I can't wait to read.
If your a fan of the Dystopian genre or haven't yet given it a try, then you absolutely have to read Divergent. Its both a wonderful introduction to the genre, as well as a deeply rich and layered novel which encompasses all the elements Dystopian fans have come to love.