Book Review of Divergent by Veronica Roth
"Human beings as a whole cannot be good for long before the bad creeps back in and poisons us again."
In a society where factions have been established in order to prevent war, Tris has to face what seemed impossible to her when she was still a "Stiff" in Abnegation: the possibility of revolution and conflict between people of her city.
The Divergent Series: Part One
"One choice can transform you."
As the first piece of Veronica Roth's trilogy, Divergent introduces us to the five factions that make up the Chicago post-apocalyptic society of the world Beatrice Prior is set in as she decides where she belongs and finds out who she really is. She could either stay in Abnegation, the faction of the selfless that she was born into, or choose to be one of the brave and foolhardy Dauntless, a curious and knowledge-seeking Erudite, an honest Candor, or a kind Amity member.
The aptitude tests are supposed to help make that decision by determining what is her best fit, even though the choice is still hers and she could decide to follow her own instincts instead of its results. However, she finds that she is more than anything she thought possible, not Abnegation, certainly not Candor, and, unfortunately, not any other faction but something else completely different and unheard of: Divergent. It is a term unknown to her but scary as the result of the aptitude test is given with a warning and changed for her protection: don't let anyone know what you really are.
In the end, Beatrice chooses to be Dauntless and becomes Tris. As she goes through the initiation process to become a member of her faction, she learns what it truly takes to become part of a faction, as she must sever her bond to her family and follow the belief that faction is stronger than blood. At the same time, she undergoes many trials to test her strengths, reveal her weaknesses, and force her to confront her greatest fears, just to determine whether or not she truly belongs.
As Tris gets closer and closer to finding out who she really is, questions about what being Divergent is and why it should be hidden become more and more of a concern. The deeper she delves into discovering this knowledge, the more she also finds that things are not as they seem in her world and that not all people are truly what their factions determine them to be.
Soon she finds that war is looming closer as the intentions of different factions become more clear and the significance of her results become apparent, perhaps too late.
Divergent by Veronica Roth
This book was suggested to me because of how much I enjoyed the Hunger Games Trilogy. Other than the obvious fact that society is divided into different factions (which would be districts in the Hunger Games) and faces the threat of war which can only be saved by an unlikely heroine, this novel and Suzanne Collins's novels are not completely the same, although it is just as enjoyable. One major difference between the two is in the amount of action because this novel has a lot less action and a lot more of a mystery surrounding Tris as she's trying to find her way in her world.
What I didn't like about the novel at first was that I couldn't tell where it was going. It wasn't evident at the beginning that it was about anything more than a sixteen year old trying to figure out who she is, a storyline that isn't a guaranteed page-turner. However, once the story gets going and you get past her figuring herself out, things get really interesting and the pace gets you really hooked until you finally reach the end.
I'm curious to see how it will turn into a trilogy, something the first part of the Hunger Games also had me wondering after I finished it. It is a great first novel for Roth that makes me want to read more even as I get to the end and has so many heartbreaking moments, tough decisions, and suspense that it continues to make you think about it even as you put the book down and walk away. Overall, this was a quick read but well worth it and I highly recommend it!
The movie adaptation of Veronica Roth's Divergent is set for release in March of 2014. Starring Shailene Woodley as Tris and Theo James as Four, this is the second recent adaptation of dystopian fiction, following The Hunger Games.
© 2012 Lisa