Book Summary: 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.
Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.
Book Review Overview:
- Fantastic world-building; I love the concept of the different factions
- I love a novel with a strong female lead; Roth delivers with her protagonist, Tris
- Great romance – no insta-love here
- Nail-biting action that will leave you at the edge of your seat
This is probably going to sound a little weird, because the thought sounded weird to me as well but: DIVERGENT was one of those books that I purposely did not want to like. I did not want to join the bandwagon and be a crazed fan for Tris and Four. I tried hard. And I failed. Like it or not, I’m a big fan of DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth and I am eagerly awaiting its sequel, Insurgent.
Why did I not want to like DIVERGENT? What did I have against it before even picking it up? Hype is probably the biggest reason. There are loads of overhyped books out there that I didn’t quite enjoy. Second, is the Year of Dystopias, also known as the year 2011. A million dystopian novels were released last year and to be honest, I was just sick of the cookie cutter plots. Basically, I thought that DIVERGENT was too good to be true.
I probably won’t be the first to tell you that the world-building in Divergent is quite awesome. Okay, I’ve never been to Chicago before, but based on what I know, I did recognize some remnants of the old city. But I love the dystopian city that Roth has created. Chicago is now divided into five different factions: Amity, Abnegation, Candor, Dauntless, and Erudite – which are basically different districts that are characterized by the personality of the people who live in the area. When a kid turns sixteen, her or she will take a test that basically determines what faction they end up in. The concept is quite fascinating, and Roth makes it believable because she explains that humans are creatures of habit. It doesn’t take much to convince a person to act a certain way based on their characteristics.
What makes DIVERGENT special in addition to the world-building is the protagonist. Tris has flaws. And she is quite awesome for it because she shows that there isn’t just the extreme nice girl or the extreme brave girl. She falls in the middle and she’s a little bit of both. Her character tries to be the best person she thinks she can be, but sometimes her decisions are not very good. She admits that she’s sometimes selfish and unkind, but Tris is also brave and willing to stand up for what she believes in.
I love how Roth maintains a sense of realism in DIVERGENT. Despite the fact that Tris has gotten stronger over the course of her training, it still doesn’t mean that she can go against really big burly men in hand-to-hand combat. Hello, physics?! It just doesn’t work that way. Tris is awesome, but she still has some weaknesses.
And of course there’s the love interest. This isn’t insta-love. Admittedly, Four captures Tris’s eye instantly because something strikes him different from the other Dauntless. Plus, he’s a pretty kick-ass instructor. (Alright, and this is where I admit that Four also reminded me of Dimitri from the Vampire Academy series because he’s technically the forbidden older instructor, heh.) But the progression of their relationship is slow. The best part is that Four is actually quite a nice guy. But that’s all I’m going to say because you really have to experience Four for yourself.
I will say that DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth is quite long. Unnecessarily long? I don’t think so. Unlike other series that kicked off last year, I feel like DIVERGENT had enough development as the first book of a series but also had enough to stand alone on its own. At 400+ pages, it does seem like a daunting read, but the novel is fast-paced and will keep you at the edge of your seat.
Veronica Roth is a talented debut author and you do not want to miss DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth. I don’t regret waiting to read DIVERGENT as it means I do have less time to wait before the sequel comes out this year.
I strongly recommend this book to those who are fans of dystopian novels like The Hunger Games and to those who are fans of novels with strong female protagonists.
About the Author
Veronica Roth is only 23, so her bio will be short. She’s from a Chicago suburb. She studied creative writing at Northwestern University, and wrote DIVERGENT (Katherine Tegen Books, May 2011). The second book in The Divergent Trilogy, INSURGENT, will come out in May 2012. In the meantime she will spend endless hours browsing Wikipedia in her pajamas as she eats corn flakes. (Or some other kind of bland breakfast cereal.)
Find the Author