26 August 2013


Author: Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent # 1
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult, Science Fiction
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Released: 3 May 2011
Summary: courtesy of goodreads.com 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.
My Review:  I resisted Divergent.  I resisted it hardcore, mainly because there was SO much hype surrounding it, and every one was gushing about it (or so it seemed).  Then I saw it on sale at the bookstore for $4, and I decided to pick it up.  Then it sat on my shelf for a few weeks before I finally cracked it open.  Problem is, I didn’t set it down until it was over and I was driving around trying to find a 24-Hour grocer with a copy of Insurgent to get my paws on. 
I’m sure you’re all wondering: what was it about Divergent that made it so great?  The answer is a hard one, is it the world building? Yes, definitely.  I loved the idea of breaking people into different factions and suppressing base human desires. Is it the genre? Yes and No.  Although Divergent is truly dystopian, I felt like Roth brought a sense of reality, and hope to this world that I haven’t felt in other dystopian societies.  Although the permanent sense of dread remains, the way in which Tris is constantly fighting with herself, and coming to terms with her beliefs, and who she thinks she is, who she thinks she could be, makes this story, for me, not only dystopian, but more dominantly coming of age than any dystopian I have read before.
Roth is able to, not only capture what it’s like to be 16, the age where you’re starting to think like an adult with the actions of a child; and you’re trying to discover who you are exactly.  She also fully embraces the world she’s created.  I never got the sense Roth feared her version of Chicago, more like she reveled in it.  She loved the different factions she had created, she thrived on their simplicity, and in turn passed that on to her readers.  The lynchpin for me, however, was when Tris is unable to imagine a world not like the one she inhabits.  From a reader standpoint you think, “well it would be just like right now” but Roth is so invested, that although the world is ours (Chicago), her characters have no recollection of it whatsoever, and the thought of living like we do now is terrifying.  Where most YA Dystopian novels are trying to create a world similar to ours, Roth’s world fears our society as the unknown.
Finally, the characters.  I love strong female characters, and Tris and Christina fit the bill superbly.  I loved the constant battle within Tris, figuring out who she was.  The same can be said for Four.  Four was just . . . an incredible character to read.  Not only because of what he is on-page, but because you know there is more to Four off-page.  Whenever he’s not with Tris I found myself thinking: “wonder what Four’s doing.  Where’d that guy go.”
Divergent grabs you, and sucks you into its world so fully that it’s hard to come back out the other end unchanged.  Isn’t that kind of the point of books though?  To change the way you view the world, to give it color, and life, and sound? Divergent does that.

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