Book: Divergent, Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent series #1
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: January 1st, 2011
Rating: 4 stars
Everybody in the reading world has at least heard of Divergent, even if they haven’t read it. As I’m not particularly fond of dystopian novels, I steered clear of them, but eventually caved when I received a copy for Christmas. And I am so glad I did! Despite not loving dystopian novels, I really enjoyed reading this book and fell for the characters.
Divergent tells the exciting, action-filled story of 16-year-old Tris, who comes from one of the five factions in a dystopian America. She must choose one of the factions--Candor (honesty), Abnegation (selflessness), Dauntless (bravery), Amity (peacefulness), or Erudite (intelligence)--to live in and serve for the remainder of her life. Tris makes the decision to leave her old faction, Abenegation, in favour of Dauntless, and the majority of the book focuses on the dangerous trials that the new initiates must endure in order to find out whether they qualify to stay. Failure means living a factionless life--or death.
While the background of the book was quite confusing (I kept getting the factions confused), it was still very interesting to read and there was plenty of action and fight scenes that kept me glued to the page. As Dauntless was the bravery faction, the new recruits had to learn fighting immediately and there were a limited number of spaces available so they were all competing against each other. This made the relationships between all the characters very complex as they tried to form tentative friendships with each other whist also knowing they had to be rivals.
Tris was a very interesting character. She doesn’t jump off the page as a kick-ass heroine, although she does have her moments to shine. She starts off in a faction where she doesn’t feel she belongs, and yet having lived in this faction, this means she doesn’t quite fit in with her new faction either. She makes many decisions based on her own wants, which I feel the author did to show the contrast between the old Tris and the new, but all I feel it did was make the character seem a little self-centred. She reminds me a little of Katniss from The Hunger Games in that she’s a very cut off character and isn’t a very friendly person to others, but you know in the end she would do whatever she would to save her family and friends.
We’re introduced to many new characters that I really enjoyed, especially Four. He was an extremely mysterious person and the author develops him so casually throughout the book you wouldn’t realise straight away just how much he’s changed by the book’s end. I loved his and Tris’s relationship and how they each helped each other come out of their shell. We see the other characters develop throughout the book too and we see how the initiation period is slowly moulding them into harder, stronger people.
While this book isn’t as amazing as The Hunger Games, it was still hugely enjoyable and I can’t wait to start the sequel and see what happens to these characters.