Saturday, July 7, 2012

Divergent by Veronica Roth

**Quick note: I am now following all my followers’ blogs.**

Anyway. Now for the review.

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, 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 alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together, they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes-fascinating, sometimes-exasperating 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 unrest and growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly-perfect society, she also learns that her secret might be what helps her save those she loves . . . or it might be what destroys her.

(summary from the author’s Website)


This book was getting a ton of hype. There were over 1,000 reviews on Amazon and it seemed to be getting a lot of positive reviews. “Best thing since The Hunger Games!” So, I finally bought it. Was it a good book? Yes, I enjoyed it? Was it as good as The Hunger Games? Well, no. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad book!

My major problem with Divergent was the world-building. While it wasn’t necessarily flat or unoriginal, it lacked logic and we had a limited view of the world. The idea was original: I liked the idea of the factions. However, in my opinion, it lacked certain logic. We never get a good explanation as to how the world ended up this way. (Or maybe we did and I just don’t remember.) And I honestly can’t imagine society ever saying, “Pick one virtue/personality trait and commit yourself to live it every day.” While it’s true people may have a more dominant personality trait, I can’t ever see people being able to say, “I’m going to be peaceful and friendly for the rest of my life!” Going over my own personality, I saw a couple factions I could have fit into.

Which brings me to my next point. Why is being “Divergent” so rare? Why is it so special? Although, by the end of the novel, more characters were revealed to be Divergent. Another problem I had: If being Divergent is such a threat to the government, how has this government survived so long with so many Divergents running around?

I also wish we could have gotten more of a view of the world, besides being limited to seeing a future Chicago. Is the rest of the world split into five factions? At least with other dystopia books (like Hunger Games or Matched or Delirium), you know that the whole country is under this government.

So, I wish the world-building had been a little more logical and we could have gotten to see more than future Chicago.

That said, I enjoyed the rest of the book.

Tris was a character I liked. She took some warming up to, since at first, she’s sort of a “stiff” character (Pun semi-intended.) However, as the book went on, I came to like her character very much. She was very well-rounded, making mistakes, but also regretting them.

Debating how I feel about Four. He’s certainly an interesting character. But he had his moments where he came across as rather flat and I’m not sure how I feel about him overall. Interesting, but also sometimes flat and hard to like, if that makes sense.

Speaking of them, their romance felt a tad forced. I’m glad Roth decided not to do a love triangle (*gag*). While Four and Tris had some sweet, romantic moments, it still felt a little forced. Tris had a crush on Four, and it seemed realistic, but the next thing you know, they were (very) quickly falling in love and Four is revealing all this stuff about himself. Definitely a bit of insta-love going on here.

The secondary characters, like Will, Christina, and Al, were all likable. I do wish we’d gotten some more character development for them though. They were all likable characters, but they could have been more well-rounded.

The plot felt a little lost at first. It did take a while for me to figure out just what, exactly, the main conflict was (yes, there was Tris’s initiation, but it didn’t feel like an immediate conflict.) However, it was still exciting enough to make you want to keep reading. While I couldn’t discern an conflict, Roth wrote many exciting scenes that made me want to keep reading.

I feel like I’m being too harsh on this book. I really did enjoy it. Maybe I was being too critical because of all the hype it’s been getting. Divergent is a good book. It’s worthy of its hype. Roth has crafted a good book, especially considering how young she was when she wrote it (22 or 23. While not a teen author, that’s still very young and I was impressed with her writing.)

Divergent is a good dystopia whose main problem is semi-illogical worldbuilding. Other than that, it was a book I really liked and I will be reading the sequel, Insurgent.

No comments:

Post a Comment