Divergent by Veronica Roth ~ Book ReviewPosted: February 12, 2014
* CONTAINS SPOILERS
Even though I wish I was Dauntless, according to the test at the back of Divergent, I’m Erudite which means having or showing great knowledge or learning (who me?). The fact I’m even taking a personality test after reading a book is probably a sign of how much I liked it … and I really liked Divergent! Holy cow, I devoured this book. I didn’t have any intention of reading the series, but I was in a funny place craving something different to read, anything the opposite of a classic book. Divergent was the perfect mix of intriguing plot, lots of action, some interesting characters and a little romance.
As Veronica Roth’s debut novel, Divergent is the first book in the Divergent trilogy. The story takes place in a Chicago of the future where humans have been divided into factions based on personality types. When she turns sixteen, Beatrice Prior (Tris) takes the mandatory personality test and discovers she doesn’t belong to one particular faction, but is Divergent. What this means is very vague, but apparently life-threatening as Tris is urged to keep this important news to herself. Tris makes the very tough decision to leave her family and join a different faction. The Dauntless are edgy, strong and fearless. To fully join the faction, Tris has to complete three stages of initiation. During this time, she makes both friends and enemies with her fellow transfers, feels intimidated by her aloof instructor, Four, and is fearful of the violent Dauntless leader, Eric. Tris successfully makes her way through initiation; all while terrified someone will discover her secret. Slowly, she grows closer to Four and a quiet romance blooms between them (yes!). Then murmurs of the political unrest between Erudite and her former faction, Abnegation reaches Tris. With Four’s help, she discovers the Erudite are planning to attack the Abnegation with assistance from the Dauntless. The attack occurs before they can act and Tris is separated from Four. In the chaos of the attacks, she is reunited with members of her family, but sadly not for long.
Divergent was fast-paced and I liked that the plot always kept moving along. Even though she was presenting a dystopian society readers had never encountered before, I appreciate that Veronica Roth is from the show-don’t-tell school. She doesn’t over-explain her vision of this future Chicago or felt that it was necessary to provide endless details on how things work. She kept things simple and let readers learn through the story.
Perhaps it is the part of me who will never stop being a teenager, but I had no problem relating to Tris and her friends in Divergent. The coming-of-age theme resonating throughout the book still hits home. I was with Tris as she struggled to figure out who she is and where she belongs because her heart was so divided. What does Divergent mean? Is her life predetermined or still of her own making? Even though she is young, I liked that Tris had a good head on her shoulders and wasn’t too irrational in her behaviour. I admired how much she wanted to succeed and all the times she put on a brave face and acted like a warrior, even though she was quaking in her boots.
I enjoyed being immersed in the world of Divergent. Not because I would want society to be divided so coldly into personality types, but because I think it shows that people can never be categorized and live in a society that doesn’t recognize our unique personalities. Next up is Insurgent and I can’t wait to find out what happens to Tris and what all this Divergent business is about!
Did you love Divergent? Have you seen the new movie tie-in cover for the book (see below)? What do you think? It’s slowly growing on me, although I’m very excited for the movie coming out on March 3rd.