|Click for Goodreads|
By Veronica Roth
Goodreads Summary: In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, 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 alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating 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 unrest and growing conflict that threaten 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've had Divergent on my Kindle since it first came out and everyone was going on about how spectacular it is. For some reason, it took me until now, almost two years, to actually read it. The fact that I can immediately move on to the sequel if I want to is the only good thing about that decision. I should have read Divergent a long time ago.
Tris's world is divided into five factions: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, Erudite. Each faction represents a different virtue. Every year, those at the age of sixteen are given the opportunity to choose the faction they will live in for the rest of their lives. First, they must take a test to determine which faction they belong in. Tris's results are inconclusive, meaning she is "Divergent," something very dangerous in her world.
I loved the world Roth created in Divergent. I've never seen anything like it, and it was compelling to read about the way it works. It also made me think. How effective would a world designed like that be? Would it work or wouldn't it? It was fun to consider these things as I read. Something that really stood out to me were the details; so many were the same as the world we live in. There is mention of eating cereal for breakfast; the school system seems to be very similar to our American school system; most of the names are common American names. These details were just little ways of connecting Tris's world to ours, and it was kind of unsettling.
The characters were complex and purposeful. Tris was both strong and weak, as any good character should be. She was very easy to connect to and root for. The villains were easy to hate, yet it was also easy to understand their motivations. Four, Tris's love interest, was swoon worthy yet flawed.
The plot of Divergent was not what I was expecting. I was expecting action packed thriller from page one, but what I got was a slow build up to an action packed and thrilling ending. I'm conflicted about the lay out of the plot. Some parts of it were too slow for my taste, but I can't say I was ever bored. The ending was full of the action I'd been expecting, yet slightly confusing because of its rushed nature.
The romance was done very well. It wasn't too fast or too slow, and Roth addressed a lot of the concerns readers might have with it by making them concerns Tris has and resolving them. I liked slow build up of sexual tension, and how Roth even addresses the universally feared issue of the "first time." Rest assured, this is definitely a YA book, and nothing gets that far or that detailed. The inclusion of Tris's apprehension about it was another thing that connects her world to ours and reminds us that she is a teenager not unlike ourselves at sixteen.
Divergent is pretty long, but I flew through it. I definitely enjoyed it and will be reading the sequel soon. I can't wait to see what happens to Tris next!