Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: YA, sci-fi, dystopian
Series? Yes, Divergent #1
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: April 25, 2011
Synopsis from Goodreads: 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.
Okay… so once again… I kick myself for slacking for so long. I read about this book ages ago, when it was featured in Seventeen magazine prior to its publication. I KNEW ABOUT THIS BOOK FOR YEARS BUT DID NOTHING. So finally I listened to the always-wise words of Andi and Veronica, and sat myself down to read Divergent and Insurgent before the release of Allegiant this last Tuesday. And depending on when Barnes and Noble gets its act together, I may or may not be crying over Allegiant by the time this post publishes. Anyway. While I was reading, I kept bugging Veronica (but what’s new about that?) and I think my exact words when I finished Divergent were: HOLY FRICKLE FRACKLE. And I stand by that statement! Seriously, I need to be strung up by my toes for procrastinating so long.
Also, Minor Spoiler in the character section. I already knew it before I read the book, because it’s one that’s hard to avoid in general. Read it if you want!
Well, you guys were right. Again. I loved all of these characters – and they were so well rounded and well written! And they had flaws – it was perfect!
Beatrice (Tris): First of all, I was so happy that Tris wasn’t a whiny protagonist. I’ve had enough of those lately, and I couldn’t handle it if she turned out to be another one. She had her angsty moments, but they never lasted. She moped a bit, and then moved on. There’s stuff to do! And her development from repressed Abnegation to bold Dauntless was so beautiful: it folded out bit by bit, becoming so rich in hue and depth that by the end of the book it was like there was an entirely new Tris. And then Roth even differentiated that: Beatrice, Abnegation, turning into Tris, Dauntless, and ultimately the Tris that embraces her Divergent status.
Tobias (Four): Andi, if you’re reading this… You’re right. You’re absolutely, 100% right. And I owe you a Starbucks or something. Because damn I have not loved a male character as much as I love Four in a very long time. He wasn’t perfect – he was snappy and blunt and rude sometimes – but that’s what makes him amazing. Even with his semi-tragic backstory, he never took it to the woe-is-me stage. Yes, it sucked, but I’m moving on, was his attitude. And then he had the alternating burning excitement and icy stoicism that left me breathless. Honestly, one of the most well-written characters I’ve come across in a long time.
Concept: I always find it interesting when caste systems are introduced in dystopian societies, and it’s especially intriguing to see how each author sorts their characters differently. The idea of five factions was brilliant, and then the curve-ball of a Divergent person was a nice twist. And I also really liked how Roth revealed that so many characters were Divergent – it makes so much sense. Humans are made up of contradictions – not many people ascribe to a single way of thinking. We twist and turn and change as we grow and mature, so I wasn’t bothered by the high number of admitted Divergent citizens.
Plot: I know some people might be upset about the slow-ish bits when Tris enters the Divergent training, but I’ve always loved those kinds of moments. Like the classes in Harry Potter were my absolute favorite scenes! I just love seeing characters learn – I learn vicariously through them, and it’s just so entertaining.
This is the first book I’ve read in a while where I felt like I actually learned something, or was made to think. There are books that solely entertain you, and then there are books that teach you while you’re lost in a beautiful fantasy. Divergent is of the latter. My favorite theme, amongst the several that Roth intwines in her story, is this: bravery is not just throwing yourself at something with blind recklessness. Sometimes bravery is the quiet actions, the silent choices that you make. Bravery isn’t just adrenaline seeking thrills, bravery is deciding what is right and what is wrong, and deciding to do what is right even if you’re completely alone in it. Essentially:
I’ll have this on my re-read list for sure, when I get over the book-hanger that is Insurgent and most definitely Allegiant. Also, I took the faction test at the end of my book, and I’m mostly Erudite, with a touch of Amity. What faction were you aligned to?
My Final Rating:
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