Published: May 3, 2011 by Katherine Tegen
Series: Divergent, #1
Favorite quote: “Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it.”
For my first post on my shiny new blog, here’s a book review of my current favorite YA dystopian novel, Divergent, by Veronica Roth.
When I picked up this book in the store, I wasn’t sure. The blurb didn’t get me interested. The whole “one choice” thing seemed already familiar. I really needed something new, however, so I opened the book and read the first page…and then the next page…and the page after that…and I knew I just HAD to buy the book and finish it.
Divergent is possibly my favorite dystopian novel yet. I couldn’t put it down until I finished. The word-building could use a little more detail in a few places, but since this is a trilogy (and the book focuses on Tris and what she chooses) I’m sure it will be filled out. There are five factions that pride themselves on what they value above all. Each faction believes they’re the ones with the right answer. At the age of sixteen, every person takes an aptitude test to reveal which faction they should belong in, and then they must choose what they value most, and therefore which faction they will be for the rest of their lives – IF they pass initiation. If you don’t pass, you are factionless, and you will never have a sense of community or even a decent standard of living. The five factions are Candor (honesty), Erudite (knowledge), Amity (peace), Dauntless (courage), and Abnegation (selflessness). Tris was raised Abnegation, but she must choose which faction she belongs in – and if she chooses a different faction, her family might hate her forever.
But her aptitude test reveals her to be “Divergent”, meaning she fits in more than one faction. In Tris’s world, this is a BAD thing to be. Tris is urged to keep her Divergence secret. She picks her faction, and the adventure begins.
This book has a lot of unexpected twists in it, and it really takes off in the second half. I loved a few of the characters, like Will and Christina. I didn’t like Four at all, because his behavior in the beginning is erratic. I did appreciate how the romance isn’t one of those “omg I just met you, now I love you!” things. The romance doesn’t overpower the story at all.
Tris is a very believable character. She has flaws (like doing Divergent things when she’s supposed to keep it a secret) and she has strengths. She grows from a shy, cautious Abnegation girl into a brave heroine. I think she’s one of those badass YA heroines that we all want to see.
Three things I would have liked to see more of:
1) the fight scenes and other training things that Tris had (it seems like Tris participated in very little fight training)
2) how the world came to be like this (we see mention of a “great peace, when the factions were formed” and Tris says it’s stayed like this because everyone’s afraid of war if anything changes. So was there a terrible war and then everyone split up according to their favored value?)
3) the factionless and how their world works (for instance, do their children get to choose their faction and go through initiation?)
I would recommend Divergent to any dystopian fan, especially ones who enjoyed The Hunger Games and Matched.