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Book Review - Divergent by Veronica Roth
A book review?
This is a book review, of what I thought of the book Divergent by Veronica Roth – not a synopsis of the story like many of the other book reviews I have read, so there shall be no ‘spoilers’ and I shall try my best not to go into the story in too much detail, as I assume you would like to read the book yourselves, not just read my retelling of it!
So Divergent is the first book in the Divergence series, which is a trilogy. Divergent was released at the start of 2011, Insurgent the second book was released in 2012 and the third book, which is yet to be named, is due for release in 2013. Divergence is the first book to be written by Author Veronica Roth from Chicago.
Ok so a little bit of story just so you know what your getting.
This is another, of the many, dystopian teen novels that seem so popular at the moment. Beatrice, or Tris, is our heroine in the story and she lives in a city where the inhabitants are split in 5 factions, each living by a different virtue: Abegnation (selflessness), Candor (Truth), Dauntless (Bravery), Erudite (knowledge) and Amity (Kindness). The faction/virtue you live by dictates everything about your way of life, from where you live, what you do, what you wear, what you eat and who you interact with.
The end of year exams at the age of 16, is an aptitude test to tell you which faction you are most suited to. Whether that be the faction you have grown up in or another faction, you then have to make the decision which faction you wish to live in for the rest of your life. Whether you should honour your family and stay in your faction or chose to betray them and move to another. Once you have chosen you must then pass an initiation to join your chosen faction or risk becoming factionless (which technically means homeless).
Beatrice must decide which faction to join, then push herself to her limits to pass the initiation and become part of that faction. Of course along the way she encounters moral. mental and physical obstacles, a love interest and the typical good vs evil.
Can she find the courage in herself to overcome what is put before her? She must lead the good to conquer the evil (starting to sound a little like star wars here). When a segregated world starts to turn against itself a war is inevitable. But which virtue will prevail, which way of thinking is right? Or is there another way of living, a Divergent way, which is better?
Think that covers the general story, without giving anything major away!
So what did I think?
Well having read a few of the other teen dystopia novels out at the moment, I kinda knew what I was getting. I really enjoy the whole dystopia idea (after reading The Hunger Games trilogy last year) so have been reading the first parts of a few different series lately.
I’m going to try not to compare it to other dystopia novels too much as obviously every dystopia novel is very different due to the whole society ideology surrounding it. But I will say in comparison to the others (The Hunger Games, Matched, Birthmarked) as an overall novel I really enjoyed Divergence. It isn’t as good as the first of The Hunger Games (but I do believe they were exceptional!) but it is definitely on par with Birthmarked and I believe it is better than Matched (which was a little too slushy and generic a storyline for my liking)
The idea of living purely by a virtue interests me, and this book takes it to an extreme. Living a life totally dictated by one idea, one virtue controlling everything about the way you think and how your personality develops is a scary idea (but in some cases almost a spiritual/religious one). And diverging from what you have been brought up to believe and think like will obviously cause problems. Segregated society is nothing new and screams of historical ideology around both race and religion. The whole idea, is almost logical and doesn’t seem at all far fetched in reality (unlike The Hunger Games) which is what drew me in the most.
Obviously it has the usual romantic fluff, but not too much soppiness to turn it into a teen romance novel (thankfully). But just enough to make us feel for the characters and the emotional dilemmas they face.
I found the book very easy to read and understand – meaning I blew through it pretty fast by my standards – which is nice as sometimes struggling through a book because of complex ideas or overly descriptive (boring) prose takes from the actual story itself. But this story isn’t too easy for adults either, and it genuinely has some deep and complex ideas which make it a great read for both teens and adults alike.
It is well written and well edited (I hate bad grammar in a book that should have been proof read by numerous people, numerous times! Its just bad and a complete pet peeve!) so the author/publisher should be proud of a well turned out book.
The lead characters are well thought out and well developed on throughout the novel (except maybe her family which I would have liked to know a little more about. Maybe in the next book?) so you begin to feel for them and understand their thinking and actions – like you should in any good book. And Tris really is a great Heroine! Strong and vulnerable all at the same time, she fights for what she thinks is right and is happy to do what she needs to get things done.
My only issue is the slightly rushed ending. It could have been developed a little further, a little more emotion could have been portrayed (although it kind of works with the whole faction ideas) I just think that maybe she could have show a little more vulnerability at certain points without losing the strength of the character. And I would have liked the climax at the end to be developed slightly more, more indepth as it seemed pretty easy really, and was all over in 2 chapters.
How I rated Divergant by Veronica Roth
Well on my Goodreads profile I gave it a 4 out of 5 stars and I think that is bang on. Its not brilliant and total amazing but it is very good and I cant wait to read the next one.
It dragged me in and really involved me in the story and to me that is the test of a good book,. Did I at anytime get bored or was I glued and unable to put it down to the very end? Well I certainly didnt get bored, and really I was pretty hooked to see how much worse things could get for our protagonist and how she would over come her fears and the way the cards were stacking against her.
How would you rate Divergence?
Would I recommend it?
Damn right I would!
If your into dystopia novels - this is a great refreshing original idea.
If your into teen novels - this is centered around massive life changes of a 16 year old, like many 16 year olds in real life. It teaches a few good life lessons too so I think it is suitable for teens to read aswel, without being to violent.
If you have never tried a dystopia novel before - this is a good one to start with. Its not as violent as The Hunger Games, but it has a more gripping and thrilling storyline than Matched.