Thursday, July 21, 2011

Divergent (Divergent #1) Veronica Roth: review

Goodreads rating: 4.49
Hardcover, 496 pages
Published May 3rd 2011 by HarperCollins Children's Books
0062024027 (ISBN13: 9780062024022)
Chicago, Illinois (United States)

Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place in mortal danger. Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances.

If I could give this more than a 5 I would. It was simply amazing. I had a lot of thinking to do for this one. So much thinking that I decided I needed to read it again to give you a proper review. It was much better than I expected (I was unaware of the hype it was receiving) and I felt like I raced through it the first time. The truth is, I just couldn't get enough of Four... [sigh]... or maybe it's that this book is simply made of awesome sauce.

Where to start... Well, first off, I had no idea what to expect coming into this. As I said, I was unaware of the hype it was getting. I became a fan of the HarperTeen Facebook page and ended up winning an ARC of Divergent on the date it was released. That's when I came over to Goodreads and checked out the ratings. I'm not a dystopian connoisseur. My only experience with them was Carrie Ryan's The Forest of Hands and Teeth series, and I don't even consider that really dystopian. And recently I delved into The Hunger Games trilogy, and so far Divergent is still my favorite. After reading Divergent for the first time, I also read Across the Universe by Beth Revis, and both were very different dystopian views. I guess it's become a sort of craze that started for me with Incarceron, when I didn't even know what dystopia was. What I'm trying to say is, I'm not going to lump this into a dystopian vs. paranormal pile, because truthfully, it was an amazing book overall.

I can only imagine the man hours that went into this thing. Like me, Roth wrote most of Divergent in college. And it's not like it's a short novel. Sometimes, I think it's almost easier to create your own world. There's no guidelines to follow or facts that you have to get right. Everything comes from your head and no one else's. I guess I can see that's why some of these dystopian novels fail so miserably. Ideas we think are good ones, may not appeal to our target audience. That was not the case here. Roth builds a world in a place known to everyone at least in the United States, and a place I've thankfully visited so I know a little about the area (the ferris wheel for instance; the sight of that is burned into my brain thought it's been years since I've been to Chicago). She created a place where most everyone is put into factions at the age of 16 (who needs a driver's license when you can be Dauntless?), and these factions have different personality traits. It's not complicated really, though if I was forced to choose I'm not sure which I would pick. I want to say Dauntless, but only because I can't imagine myself in the other ones. Am I Divergent?

Beatrice in the beginning was so boring for me the first time through. She was dull and constantly chastising herself for being the tiniest bit selfish. I know that her faction is selfless, but I mean she can't even look at her reflection in the mirror? Veronica Roth, you are terribly, amazingly brilliant. Her growth was clearly visible and I can't wait to see what happens to her in the next installment. To be truthful I hope the next one isn't as heartbreaking. I can't take much more bloodshed. Roth creates such a beautiful world, in both character and in landscape. It might seem crazy, but I want to live in her dystopian world.

I guess I'll have to move on to spoilers now, because the synopsis doesn't give you much to run with. Believe me with this one, you'll want to be surprised. I very highly recommend this one. If you haven't read it, well, what are you waiting for?!

Beatrice (Tris) ends up with inconclusive results, which makes her a Divergent. We don't find out why that's bad, until the very end. It turns out, Divergent's are basically scatter-brains and are therefore difficult for the leaders of the factions to control. Anyway, she ends up choosing Dauntless. We can already figure out that Abnegation is out of the question. Tris is too selfish, but she's just selfless enough not to let the Dauntless way of life (which apparently has been skewed horribly over the years) take over her will. I love that she was the first of the initiates to jump off the roof. It already proved to us that no matter what kind of doubts she had, she belonged in Dauntless.

All I can think from that first fisticuffs with Peter is: Poor Tris. I'd like to put it out there that I hate Peter with a burning passion. It's not because she's a girl, it's because she's Abnegation that he hates her, and he's jealous and afraid of losing. He's a coward; a coward that packs a powerful punch. I can't believe he's still alive in the end. As Tris said, it doesn't seem fair that her mother and father get killed (both shot in the stomach trying to save her) and two of her worst enemies (Marcus, Tobias' dad, is with them) get to live. Am I freaking you out yet? Let's count the death toll, shall we?

~Al: I'm torn on my feelings for this guy. He was nice to Tris, liked her more than a friend, and then kidnapped her... heh? I know, it doesn't make much sense to me either, but a person will do anything if they're desperate enough. I feel like a bad person when I felt nothing after they fished Al's body out of the chasm, but it's hard to feel sorry for someone that acted nice the whole time, kidnapped you for god's sake, and then begs for your forgiveness. I feel as heartless as Tris.

~Tris' Mom: I'll admit it, I cried. It was so unexpected. One minute they were trying to find where her father and brother were hiding, and the next thing I know, her mom is rushing off to sacrifice herself so that Tris can live. I guess it proves that she is both Dauntless and Abnegation. Maybe selflessness is a type of bravery. All I know is that, not only is Tris bleeding out from a bullet wound and thinking Tobias is lost to the serum, but now her mother's dead. Talk about pain. It was good to see her mom being strong though. In the beginning, I didn't like her. But when she shows how brave she can be, I grew to love her...

~Will: That was just horrible. After the second time reading this, I asked myself if she could have shot him in the leg instead. But then I realized he's so brainwashed he would have kept going. Would have shot her even after she shot him in the leg. It was her or him, and she chose herself. I just wish he hadn't gone out that way. Stupid Erudite! Sorry, calming down now. His death made me think of Christina, and I wonder if she's dead. No doubt she'll pop up in the next one.

~Tris' dad: Yeah, as if things couldn't get worse, her dad dies only like half an hour later, trying to lead the guards away from her. Can you say guilt? And pain, more pain. It's like you have to read these parts over and over, to convince yourself that it really happened. All I can say is, at least she has Caleb, her brother. At least she still has family left. And she has Four, who sadly still has family left as well.

So... Four is Tobias... did not see that one coming. But that matters little to me because damn it all I want him! He looks at Tris like she isn't something that can be broken, but is strong enough for anything. It reminds me of Jace and Clary from The Mortal Instruments. That's how he always held her: tightly, knowing that she wouldn't break. Tris and Tobias are just adorable, and were a nice reprieve from all the craziness. I loved their little conversation of how they both basically have intimacy problems, and it makes me wonder how their relationship will progress in the next one. I nearly cried the first time I read the part where they injected him with the serum and he didn't know who she was and even tried to kill her... At least she snapped him out of it. And he told her he loves her on the train over to Amity (heart literally melting here people). I want more Tris and Four right now (one of the main reasons I re-read this one). I loved learning about Four's past. Marcus, his father, is just as horrible as Erudite said he was. I can't believe his own father was one of his four fears. I wonder what kind of role Marcus will play in the next one.


  1. Great review! I can't wait to read this one. Good Luck with your blog!

  2. This is one of the best books I have read in awhile and I read quite a bit. Well written, gripping, believable characters and a world that seemed alien to me at first, but I felt as I and Tris were learning how to cope in it at the same time. This is definitely a series that I will be following from here on out. Highly recommend to all the older audience as well. If you loved The Hunger Games, you will love this one too!

  3. Great review! And this has been one of the best books I've read so far! It was amazing and different:)

  4. Great review! I loved this book...can't wait for Insurgent!


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