Divergent by Veronica Roth; Review

by Madeleine Rex

Title: Divergent

Author: Veronica Roth

Published: May 3rd, 2011

Number of Pages: 456

Rating: 5/5

Synopsis:

Beatrice “Tris” Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth’s dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place in mortal danger. Veronica Roth’s young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances. [From Goodreads]

Quote:

I believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.

It is a beautiful thought.

Review:

I can’t believe I haven’t reviewed this yet! Although it’s probably a good thing. Perhaps the weeks have given me enough time to cool down and contain my gushing. We shall see.

I’m always a little wary of books around which there is lots of hype. When people are shouting a book’s praises from the rooftops, your expectations skyrocket – as does the potential the book has to disappoint you immensely. It can hardly be said there was hype around Divergent – it was more like an epidemic. Everyone had to get their hands on this book, and I was no exception. I bought it the minute I saw it on shelves, and let me tell you: it did not disappoint.

There’s something about the book that is very The Hunger Games-esque, which is a massive compliment. It’s set in a similarly corrupt world, though it certainly thrives, and the main character is being held back from her true potential. The government has a specific and unarguably flawed way of doing things that is based on a group of values that are actually admirable. At first glance, the world in which Tris lives looks ideal, as most dystopian worlds do, and it is not until Tris’s journey is really underway that the reader becomes aware of the dangerously high likelihood the world has of destroying itself – imploding, one might say.

I find dystopian worlds fascinating anyway, but the one Veronica Roth has created is undoubtedly one of my favorites. I love the idea of a world founded on ideals that should maintain a healthy community. The specific ideals in this book are represented by five factions: Erudite (Knowledge), Amity (Peace), Abnegation (Selflessness), Dauntless (Bravery), and Candor (Honesty). Having grown up in Abnegation and now approaching her 16th birthday, Tris has to face a difficult decision: should she show loyalty to her family and remain in Abnegation, or chose to leave them forever in favor of a different faction? When the test that is supposed to help her with her decision-making by giving her an idea of which faction she would thrive in tells her she is Divergent, Tris finds herself hitched with a heavy and, apparently, deadly secret. When forced to chose a faction, Tris decides to join Dauntless.

I loved the premise, but it wasn’t until I became really invested in the characters – about a third of the way through the book, I’d say – that I found the story riveting. The other kids Tris meets, but particularly Four, are fantastic. The friendships that come about are unlikely and wonderful, and the enemies she makes might be even more fun. Most fun, of course, is the romance. I love the stinkin’ romance in this book! The way it’s developed and evolves is so gripping and tantalizing that there was no way I was going to set the book down for a minute. I’d stay up late, repeatedly allowing myself “one more chapter”. The boy with whom this romance blooms is deliciously complex and such a richly deep character that he could hold the book on his own.

Other features of the book that I appreciated were the different ways in which facing one’s fears are incorporated. The definition of dauntlessness/bravery is a focal point. Is it making rash decisions that put your “out there” in dangerous situations, being absolutely fearless, or maintaining your calm and doing what is necessary despite your fears? This question is “discussed” both through the characters’ actions and their actual dialogue.

The book also focuses on right and wrong and the basis on which a peaceful society is built, as most dystopian books do. Throughout the entire book, Tris and her pals are forced to confront difficult situations that test their integrity, faith, and bravery. In fact, they’re forced to test all the values on which their society is based. There’s also the issue of what is wrong with their apparently perfect world. Gosh, I could go on and on!

Veronica Roth’s writing carries the book seamlessly, and I was completely lost in Tris’s character. The action scenes are handled well, as is the more pleasant tension between Tris and the love interest. Once this book is really on its way, which, as I said, is about a third of the way through, there’s no stopping it – despite how you might want to, considering the fact that it’s pretty evident the world’s about to go turn to ashes. It’s nearly 500 pages long, and let me tell you – it’s not long enough!

The only drawback, aside from the rather slow beginning, was the fact that I never quite understood how their world got to be the way it was, but I hope that both the past and the future are expanded upon in the next book. I cannot wait for the next installment, as I’m sure it will be equally astounding. This series has epic potential.

2 Commentsto “Divergent by Veronica Roth; Review”

  1. Epic potential! Yes! I couldn't put this down when I was reading for the life of me, that's how addicted I was. Great review I love how you brought up the moral dilemmas that the characters had, and yes, the romance totally rocked =D

  2. Great review. I just bought this and am even more excited to read it now!

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