Monday, 27 June 2011

Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

The Story:
Set in dystopian Chicago, Divergent tells the story of sixteen-year-old Beatrice or Tris as she later renames herself. Tris' world is divided into five factions, each embodying one particular virtue- Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent).  
        Once a year, every sixteen-year-old is tested on their aptitude for each faction and is given a choice as to which faction they wish to join. For Tris the tests only confirm her fears that she is different. Divergent.
        Torn between her Abnegation upbringing which tells her to be selfless and her natural instincts which want her to be brave, Tris risks everything and chooses to become Dauntless. During the following weeks of initiation, everything Tris knows about herself is put to the test and somewhere along she discovers that she is more than just the sum of her faction.

My Thoughts:
Let me dispel all the comparisons floating around the blogosphere right now and just say that for me, Divergent was nothing like The Hunger Games. Aside from the obvious dystopian theme and a strong female heroine, I thought the worlds were completely different. Tris' world seems less bleak to me despite the obvious oppressiveness of some of the faction's rules. The explanation of each faction is extremely vivid and I felt that for a while I was actually living in the darkness of the Dauntless compound training to be a Dauntless initiate. 
         Which brings me to my next point. Try not to be eating whilst reading this book because there is a lot of violence. I thought this aspect was very brave of the author. Normally in YA the fight scenes are semi-romanticized, but in Divergent it's all there page after page. And our heroine has a lot of it directed at her. 
        I'll be honest and say that I didn't know what to make of Tris to begin with. For the first half of the book, I found her to be dull to the point where I was kind of hoping that she was secretly some sort of cyborg. As the book progressed, Tris began to grow on me and I started to think that maybe her grey personality was a throwback from her upbringing in Abnegation. Slowly but surely, her reactions to the situations that she found herself in became surer and by the end of the book I was really rooting for her. I love a strong woman who will stick to her convictions and isn't always 'nice'. 
       I think the turning point in my dislike of Tris mostly happened because of her emerging feelings for her trainer Four. Four is without a doubt one of the most kick ass male characters in any book that I've read. Start running Mr Dimitri Belikov because you've got competition on your heels. It was so refreshing to read  about a romantic interest who has confidence in the heroine and believes in her ability. Four exhibits just the right amount of protectiveness without being overbearing and there is a depth to his character that speaks beyond his outwardly cold persona. The best thing about Tris and Four's budding romance is that there isn't another person getting in the way (read: I am over YA love triangles).
       Overall, I really enjoyed reading Divergent and am curious to see where the author will lead us in the next book.

What the?/Cover your eyes: Spoiler Alert
1. Did anyone else wonder where the trains came and went to?
2. I didn't understand some of the character's reactions sometimes. One minute Tris' dad is giving her a lecture about shooting people and the next he goes all commando....
3. I still have no idea what Divergent is exactly...

My image of Four:
Imagine Wentworth Miller minus 15 years and if you still can't see it, meh, it's Wentworth Miller! Sheesh.


  1. I LOVED this book! Great review! Your assessment of Four is right on (sigh). For a breakout novel, I felt it was really well done.

    I also wondered about those pesky trains. I though, hmmm... maybe they're more like those commuter trains that just wrap around the city or go back and forth like subway trains. Either way, for a populus too poor to finish paving the damaged roads it seemed like a waste of energy (whatever it was that kept them going).

    You should check out Enclave by Ann Aguirre if you haven't already! Another great dystopian with a strong female heroine!

  2. Thanks J.J! Enclave is next on my wishlist. It's a bit scarce here is Australia from what I can tell so I might order it online.

  3. I loved this book also! I agree that it is not like The Hunger Games. I think all the comparisons come from them both being dystopian fantasies. Veronica said she imagined the trains to be like the ones in Chicago when she wrote this book and I think those ones just go around the cities and not really TO anywhere. (I'm from Southwest Michigan and Chicago is two hours away.) About the title, divergent means to deviate or differ. I have always hoped there was a more in-depth meaning than that, but I couldn't find one in the book.

    Did you hear that this is going to be a movie also? I read that yesterday in one of my Goodreads forums. I LOVE Wentworth Miller! I think he would make a good four…minus the majority of the tattoos. Some are ok. I will have to check out Enclave also.

  4. Thanks Tammi! Your comment about the trains answered my question then. I'm from Australia so I haven't the slightest clue how public transport works in the US :)I really wish Veronica has put in a little more explanation as to what exactly is so dangerous about a divergent person because honestly if it's just about control, I saw a lot of those trains in almost all of the other characters.

    Yes it seems like almost all the dystopians are being picked up for movies before they're even out for public release. As long as they don't stuff up The Hunger Games I'll be happy!

  5. Hello there! :D I totally agree with you, before I read Divergent, I saw many reviews saying that it was like The Hunger Games. Some even went as far as to claim it was a rip-off! But I think Divergent is unique in its own way, and dystopian novels will inevitably share some similarities since they're from the same genre (:

    Anyway, you hit the nail on the head with Four. He is awesome and I can't wait to see more of him and Tris! :D

  6. Wentworth Miller - YES! love him and am totally entranced with Four. I was not very impressed with Tris, but did like that she was strong, kickbutt and feisty. Some of the whole divisions thing didnt really fit with me - doesnt make total sense that people will be one or the other? How did humanity get that way? I really enjoyed the romance betwn four and Tris - it was very restrained so that i was totally dying for them to hurry up and get together by the end.

  7. I have Got to read this already! It's sitting on my shelf, mocking me, because I haven't had a chance to get to it yet. I must read it soon!

  8. I'm glad you didn't think it was like the HG. Personally I wasn't a fan of that book. (I still haven't read the last two though) I've seen so many awesome reviews for this book, and have been dying to read, and finally got it a few days ago so it's very close to me reading it. I loved how you mentioned Dimitri he's one of my fave male characters so to know that you think Four might give him a run for his money makes me want to read it even more. I saw somewhere that you mentioned Enclave and reading it. If you do let me know I loved that book. There were parts that were iffy, but over all love.

  9. I didn't think this book was like HG either. I was pretty shocked when I heard people making comparisons! The underlying themes were totally different, I thought. I really enjoyed reading this book, but it just didn't strike me like some of the others did. I felt bored a lot of the time and the people were displayed so two dimensionally that it was like a bad case study. IMO!

    Great review! I love your site. :)


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