Review : Divergent

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Pages : 487
Genre : YA, Dystopia
Stand Alone
My Rating :

What it’s about (summary from Goodreads) :

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, 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 to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating 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 a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

My Thoughts :

Divergent has received rave reviews all over the book blogging world, so there’s no doubt I was a bit scared to pick it up. Fortunately, this successful dystopian novel worked quite well for me, and it ended up being a captivating book filled with adventure that was hard to put down.

I was really happy I wasn’t the one who would be raining on everyone’s parade, to be honest, because I hate writing negative reviews. But while I enjoyed it and am now waiting with great curiosity for the book that will follow, I have to say, I didn’t fall completely in love with it either.

One of the most interesting aspects of dystopia is, of course, the world-building. In a way, dystopia is world-building : it automatically forces the questions of what happened, and why, and how? So I was a bit disappointed that I couldn’t completely buy into Roth’s world. The idea is interesting, true; but I have a hard time imagining a society where people can fit into such precise factions. Is it me, or are people far more complex than that? I could have accepted it, if it had been a practice heavily enforced by the government, but since political forces aren’t extremely present for most the story, I couldn’t see how it had come in place, and why it was so easily accepted.

The other thing that really kept me from enjoying it completely was the lack of numbers, and details of how the world lived outside of Chicago. Are the United-States still a country? Do other cities have all the same system? Is it all over the world? If not, how does this system interacts with the outside world? Do people ever move out to other cities, or is Chicago all that’s left in the world? I can live with minimal details; I don’t need a complete history of the world from now until the beginning of this story. But all of these questions could have been answered in a few sentences, and might have helped me find the setting more plausible.

I don’t want to give the impression that I didn’t enjoy the book though, because I did. And oh, did I love Beatrice! She was such a great character : hard, selfish at times and selfless at others, showing courage when she was scared, definitely different from most female leads in current YA novels. I also appreciated that, while she had a definite romantic interest for a certain guy very early in the story, it didn’t take all the space. She lived her own adventure, which he happened to be part of, rather than at the center of.

Also, there was so much going on in that ending, it definitely ended this part of Beatrice’s story on a strong note!

All in all, it was a really fun book and I am really looking forward to the next one. Veronica Roth has a great talent for action scenes, which made this close to 500 pages book a surprisingly quick read. I could easily have read more, and seeing how I enjoyed it, it is no surprise to me why so many fell in love with it.

Series Reading Order :

  1. Divergent
  2. Insurgent (coming 2012)

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11 responses to “Review : Divergent”

  1. pk @ aisle b says :

    Imagine how I felt too. Hearing the rave reviews and hoping that it would be worthwhile… well it was more than worthwhile – it was fantastic. Loved your review and from what I’ve heard Roth is writing Insurgent as we speak. That will be the most anticipated book after the phenomenal debut. Fingers crossed for Roth.

  2. Bookish Brunette says :

    I loved every second of this one!!

  3. zibilee says :

    While this sounds like an excellent book, it also sounds like the worldbuilding was a little less than tight, and that might annoy me a little bit. One of the main reasons I go in for dystopians is because of the worldbuilding, and when it’s not totally engrossing, it can lead to disappointment for me. So while I probably will still read this one, I will remember your comments on it. Great review, by the way.

  4. Meg says :

    Glad to read your balanced review! I’ve definitely heard good things about Divergent and it’s being heralded as the next Hunger Games, but all that praise usually makes me nervous, too. I’m going to give this one a chance regardless, though — sounds great!

  5. Sharry says :

    Hmm, I heard lots of great stuff about this one, too. But, I do read for a well-realized world, so maybe I’ll put this one aside for now!

    –Sharry

  6. Jennifer says :

    I don’t know where I have been but this is the first review I have seen for this book. Crazy! Anyway, you sold me on it. I have been looking for a good dystopian to sink into and the fact that it has good action scenes makes me want to read it even more. I have been reading lot of books that have rather anticlimactic action scenes lately.

  7. Sharry says :

    I really enjoyed this one, too! I can’t believe noone’s thought of this idea to save the world yet… 😛

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