Written by Veronica Roth
Published May, 2011 by HarperCollins
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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.
Divergent is a prime example for what every great dystopian story should be. Showing us just why the genre has become so popular among readers, Divergent will thrill readers of all ages with perfect world-building, believable relationships and strong central characters. This is a 2011 debut you don’t want to miss!
For some reason it has taken me eons to get around to this dystopian 2011 debut by Veronica Roth! I don’t know what was holding me back, but I can only say that I’m more than glad that Divergent lived up to my expectations. So many of my fellow readers have raved about this book – and now I can finally see why! Divergent is the perfect example of what dystopian YA fiction should be!
It’s inevitable that any YA dystopian book worth its salt will be compared to The Hunger Games, but Divergent is the first one I really feel comes close. Illustrious world building is key, I find, and Veronica Roth certainly delivers. There’s something I love about dystopians that really characterize and order their people by placing them into little boxes. With The Hunger Games we have the districts, and with Divergent, we have the factions.
I don’t want to re-hash the synopsis – I feel that takes away from what I try and get across in my reviews, which is basically how I ‘feel’ about a book – but more than anything, I’m intrigued and awed by the crafting of each of the five factions featured in the book. Amity, Abnegation, Candor, Dauntless and Erudite all have their discernable qualities, and their own little rituals, which make reading Divergent a fantastic ride of exploration as well as an adventure.
Tris’ initiation into Dauntless really takes up a huge chunk of the book, but I didn’t find it lacking in anyway. The book was a fast thrill ride from start to finish and my only regret is that I didn’t get on the task of reading this sooner! Veronica Roth has a brilliant sense of pace as she sets out the events of Divergent, slow enough to let the reader become acquainted with both the world and the characters, but fast enough so that we don’t become bored with what we’re venturing through. I find I have a problem with some dystopians that move TOO fast, so that we can’t become attached to the characters or even care about their struggles along the way. I had no such trouble with this one!
Four! Where do I begin? His relationship with Tris was fantastic – yet again, not rushed – and I loved every scene they had together. Veronica Roth didn’t hesitate in making their bond complicated, giving them the chance to evolve as characters despite being attached to one another. Both characters remained strong with AND without the other, which I feel is important to avoid the troublesome (and all too common) ‘insta-love’ predicament.
The whole idea of the simulations to gauge both ‘recommended’ factions and competency was a fantastic one, one that got me thinking how my own fears and rationalizations would play out had I been placed in the same situation. It’s easy to immerse yourself in Veronica Roth’s world, which I also feel is integral to really enjoying a book like this.
I am now proud to proclaim that I am one of the readers currently foaming at the mouth for the release of the second book in the trilogy, Insurgent! I can’t wait to discover some of the lesser-explored factions of Divergent, such as Amity and Candor, and see my favourite characters return!
Recommended to: Fans of fleshed-out dystopian adventures and thrillers will love Divergent! A highly recommended read.