Book Review: Divergent

Title/Author:  Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent #1

Genre:  Young Adult, Dystopia

Published:  May 3rd, 2011 by Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Hardcover, 487 pages

How I Got This Book:  Checked it out from the library

Why I Picked It Up?:  It has been compared to The Hunger Games, which I absolutely LOVED! And it won Goodreads awards.  So yes, of course I will read it!

Book Jacket Blurbs:  “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. ”

My Review of the Work:

**I am trying my best to not give away any spoilers in this review.  Which is why I am vague in a lot of spots.***

So, those of you who have already read this book will completely understand when I say that I accidentally read this book in less than a day.  But alas, that is what happened.  😉

As I had heard this novel on numerous occasions be compared to Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games series, naturally in the back of my mind (though I tried not to) I was comparing Divergent to it.  So when I began reading it, for the first 50-100 pages, I just was not convinced of the raving behind Divergent as an equal to the dystopian world created in The Hunger Games.  And then, suddenly and almost like magic, I was completely in-raptured, and the next thing I knew it was 3am and I was on page 400.

“Welcome to the day we honor the democratic philosophy of our ancestors, which tells us that every man has the right to choose his own way in this world.
               Or, it occurs to me, one of five predetermined ways.”–pg 41-42
“Divergence is extremely dangerous.”–pg 23

The way of life in Beatrice’s dystopian society is pretty simple:  There are five communities with five different ways of life.  Everyone is supposed to fit into one of those five, and the diagnostic test will tell you which faction you should join on Selection Day.  But Beatrice’s test was not so black and white–it was inconclusive.  And being inconclusive is the most dangerous thing of all–it means you are divergent, and you can never tell anybody about your results.  This leaves Beatrice with a heavy choice:  To stay in the community she has grown up in but never really felt like she belongs, or to join the community that appeases to her sense of curiosity and adventure?

She chooses a different path for herself and is plunges into an initiation full of fierce competition for a spot in her new faction.  But she has to be careful in her training to hide the fact that she is divergent from the faction leaders, who have been known to kill those citizens who display divergent qualities.  So “Tris” now finds herself with a huge secret and the rather daunting task of trying to pretend to be something she isn’t.

And then there is Four.  Oh my goodness, Four.  What a fantastically strong and sexy man.  You just can’t help but love him.  And neither can Tris, despite the fact that he annoys her yet intrigues her.  Veronica Roth makes sure to put a lot of tension between those two, which makes the story thrive.

I must say, I am really impressed with the character development in this novel.  From the main heroine, Tris, right down to all of the minor characters, readers get a sense of exactly who each character is, almost as if we know them personally.  We can see their strengths and weaknesses, and we can see them grow as characters, whether for the good or for the bad.  That is one thing that really impressed me about this novel, especially because it was a debut novel for Roth, and a first in the series.  Yet we gain intimate knowledge of all of the characters in this novel, right from the very beginning.

I was worried in the beginning because of the rather simplistic divides within this society–five factions that each focus on one specific “best” quality.  This idea made me really weary and hesitant as I started reading, and I was really afraid that I wasn’t going to like it.  But then Roth gives you so much world development, and I understood and appreciated the world that she was creating, and fell in love with it all.

Despite the slower beginning, I am overall extremely impressed by this debut novel and author, and I am looking forward to reading more of her work in the future.  So please, go pick this novel up now!  Yes, right now!

Memorable Moments:

“…the height is dizzying.  My hands ache from holding the rungs, and my legs are shaking, but I’m not sure why.  It isn’t the height that scares me–the height makes me feel alive with energy, every organ and vessel and muscle in my body singing at the same pitch.
Then I realize what it is.  it’s him.  Something about him makes me feel like I am about to fall.  Or turn to liquid.  Or burst into flames.”  –pg 143

–>I just love me some giddy-girl moments.  =)

“I believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.”–pg. 207

My Bookshelf Rating:

A Fourth Shelf Book!

A very solid read, full of intrigue, character and world development, and all of that mushy-gushy romance that makes the YA novel so good.  =)  Definitely worthy, and I am definitely excited for the sequel, Insurgent, coming out May 1, 2012!

Love and Being Dauntless,
Jennifer

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