Divergent by Veronica Roth

September 2, 2017     erinthebooknut     Book review

Divergent by Veronica RothDivergent (Divergent, #1) by Veronica Roth
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on February 28th 2012
Pages: 487
Goodreads

Paperback features over fifty pages of bonus materials, including a sneak peek of Insurgent, an author Q&A, a discussion guide, a Divergent playlist, faction manifestos, and more!

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.

Veronica Roth is the New York Times bestselling author of Divergent, the first in a trilogy of dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

4 Nuts

Dystopian was a strange fad for a while. It was the IN genre for a couple of years and then suddenly it was like the plague. One of the big dystopians that everyone seemed to be reading was DIVERGENT. I even read it, and loved it too. But I wondered if it would still hold up now, and I read it again.

DIVERGENT is one of those books that should have remained a standalone. It has excellent pacing, great characters, a superb hook, but once you try to look deeper everything kind of falls apart. It’s a simple concept but its simplicity does not hold up so well to scrutiny and overexplanation.

DIVERGENT as a singular story combines the “belonging factor” with training montage to make a compelling plot. “Belonging factor” is the plot trope that divides characters into groups based on some sort of trait about them. For Harry Potter it’s Hogwarts houses, here it’s Factions. These Factions give the reader something to identify themselves by. Are they brave? Honest? Selfless? Peaceful? Intelligent? Or Other? By creating Factions Roth has created a huge draw factor. Add that to a training montage and add a dash of rebellion and you’ve got yourself a great recipe for a book.

Tris is a relatively blank character at first. She is the audience’s eyes and ears in this new world so that’s not all that surprising. As the book goes on she becomes a little bit more fully formed, though I don’t think she becomes a real character in her own right until ALLEGIANT.

Four is your standard swoony babe, and at the time he was my number one book boyfriend. These days I’d stay he’s still up there, but like Tris he has his moments of blankness. Still, I like reading about him, perhaps even more than I do Tris. But as book boyfriends go he’s definitely just standard issue and not much more complicated than that.

This is definitely the best book in the series, and holds up much better than I expected. Now that I’m older and more well read I can see its flaws but I actually appreciate it more for them.

I recommend this book if you’re looking for a quick, feelsy read for fans of dystopian stories. The books get more complicated (and in INSURGENT’s case, more boring) as the series continues but this first book is simple enough.

What do you think of DIVERGENT? Share your thoughts in the comments.

From my shelf to yours,

Erin

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