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25 Jun 2012

Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

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.

I came into this series quite late.  Literally last month where I bought this and the sequel and read them back to back.  The one problem with doing that is I've been through this amazing journey and met interesting and kick ass characters...

And now I have a whole year to wait for the final book. *Le sigh*

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Divergent.  Tris has to be my favourite female character by far.  I loved her and thought her a realistic, well-rounded heroine.  You can see how much she changes through the course of the novel.  She starts of as a quiet Abnegation girl.  Quiet, reserved, and doesn't really say what she thinks.  She's confused and not entirely sure where she fits.  She hasn't figured out who she is a person yet and she makes the choice that sends her onto that path.  Tris learns she is Divergent - someone who can fit into more than one faction - but goes ahead with moving to Dauntless where I think she really comes out of her shell.  Slowly, we see a daring, fearless, and brave girl who learns to fight and stand up for herself.  Someone who is ready to prove she is worthy.  Now and again she has Abnegation qualities coming through, unable to fit into just one faction but these different characteristics of hers mesh well.  Her Dauntless bravery, her Abnegation selflessness and her Erudite curiosity that leads her to discovering truths and betrayal, something she is determined to fight against.

Is she tough all the time? No.  She's vulnerable and becomes top by learning and focusing.  The pressure of her initiation gets to her and she does react to the deaths around her.  It shocks her, almost destroys her, but she collects herself and keeps going.  I did love how Roth gave insight into her emotions.  The way her mind would work, gathering in the deaths she would see and give herself a certain amount of time to mourn and react emotionally before telling herself to stop and keep going.  I admired Tris so much.

All characters I loved.  Peter, especially, made me react the most.  His character brought out so much hatred in me I wanted to reach into the pages and just punch him.  Roth created a very unlikeable villain there who makes you react as a reader.  That's a sign of a good character in my opinion.  He talked the talked and walked the walked.  He wasn't just a jerk with a razor sharp tongue who would cower at the mere thought of a fight, he was actually pretty dangerous, violent, and psychotic. 

I'm usually wary about relationships in books now because I've read so many romances that really just irritated me.  If anything, romance and relationships are something I'm very critical off.  But Four and Tris I really liked.  It was a slow development, moving from respect and admiration to falling in like with each other and attraction.  They worked well together, clicked instantly, and there was little drama.  It wasn't perfect because even Tris had her doubts but it was drama that was quickly resolved and they were honest with their feelings.  It did not become the focus of the plot like so many other romances do.

The whole setting was intriguing and I had my suspicions and ponders.  The factions are made to ensure peace in the world where everyone knows who they are and what their purpose in life is.  But slowly it's beginning to get corrupted and Tris starts to realise that this is not a perfect system and factions are turning against each other, specifically Erudite and Abnegation.  Yet there's something more going on than factions simply disliking each other.  There's a secret buried deep down and you're flipping the pages to find out.  Tris' journey and development isn't the only think hooking you in.  I do wish I could have maybe seen a little more from Erudite and Abnegation because I was curious about seeing how the other factions lived but I think in the end that would have steered away from the plot too much.  Divergent was nicely focused and paced well with Tris leading the plot the whole way.  A terrific debut and a must read for fantasy and dystopian lovers!

Next week, I'll be reviewing the sequel: Insurgent.


  1. I'm so glad you finally got around to reading DIVERGENT, Robin--and moreso that you enjoyed it as much as I did. :) Peter really is a nasty villain, but, as we shall see in INSURGENT, there's more to him than meets the eye. I look forward to next week's review. :)

  2. *hides face in hands* I still haven't read these! I really AM going to this summer, though! I keep seeing reviews like these and A) realizing again that it's obviously a great read and B) feeling very left out. :P