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 threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
So I finally broke down and read Divergent after be told to do so for ages by pretty much everyone. I also wanted to read it before the movie comes out, because it’s practically a travesty to see a movie based on a book without having read the book first. I have to say, it was definitely different from what I expected it to be.
Divergent is obviously a dystopian novel, so the world as we know it is completely altered, and the government has been remade and shaped into something much more strict and ruthless than is ever probable for mankind. Of course that’s what makes the story, the fact that the world is unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. There’s a whole new game to play, one that must be played perfectly in order to survive. However, there are always a select few who choose not to conform to the ways of their government, and that is where Tris comes in. She is Divergent, so she does not “belong” in one single faction, but has parts of all of them within her (as should any normal human being). Tris learns to work this to her advantage and makes allies as well as many enemies in doing so. One of those allies is of course the infamous Four of Dauntless. Together, the two of them make the story, their relationship has the foundation that is strong enough to carry the plot through all of it’s action and ingenuity nicely.
Things I particularly liked: Though Tris is obviously afraid of her situation as being Divergent, she doesn’t let it stop her from achieving her ultimate goal. She works hard and fights for what she believes in, and overcomes any obstacle that is thrown at her and supersedes everyone’s’ expectations. She chooses a faction and rolls with it, even when she knows it will put her in constant danger (I won’t say which faction, but it’s kinda obvious). Tris has to put up with a lot of crap in this book from not only people she thought were her friends, but from her own family as well. Through it all she never backs down. Tris is a great lead female character to admire, especially when Veronica Roth makes a point throughout the book of how short she is (power to the short people!). Just as in The Lord of the Rings, even the smallest of creatures can make the largest of changes on the world around them, and that is definitely exemplified in Divergent.
Tris and Four’s relationship was not over-exaggerated, nor was it underplayed, it was developed in a way that made sense for the plot. There was no dwelling on any romantic conflicts for too long (thank god), and when one occurred, it was quickly resolved, but not quick enough to the point where there was no time to feel some emotion over their dynamic. Their feelings gradually grew, and as a reader, you were able to easily see that. And even though this book is not predominately romantic, their relationship is still pretty adorable, its based on a special trust and understanding for one’s deepest emotions and fears.
By the time the ending came, I was entirely hooked and could not put this book down. It was pretty dang flippin intense. That’s not to say there wasn’t any action throughout Divergent, there was some, it was just in shorter spurts, but the suspense is predominately in the last 75 pages or so.
A few set backs: Due to the amount of dystopian novels I’ve read, parts of the plot were a little predictable. But then again, I suppose many dystopian books follow the same sort of pattern. Also, there was very little progression toward the main conflict of the story for most of the book. I kept waiting for the main event to at least be addressed in some way that was emotionally crippling or something, but I didn’t get any of that until the last 75 pages like I said, and this book is 487 pages, so that’s kind of a long wait! The majority of Divergent focuses on Tris’s initiation into her selected faction. I just wanted the story to move on to something else besides that, at least for a good portion of the book. Not that the initiation process wasn’t entertaining, it just seemed to drag on a little longer than necessary, especially when you knew that obviously something big was coming. I will say that the ending definitely makes up for it though!
Final Thoughts: Though parts of Divergent were a little over emphasized, by the time the ending rolled around, I couldn’t put the book down. I was completely enthralled by the suspense/action filled content, and thoroughly enjoyed how it ended, it got right to the point and didn’t leave me hanging in frustration, but eager to see what happens next. Not to mention, the character dynamic in this book is pretty fantastic, and very well developed. I can only hope that now that most of the build up has been taken care of in Divergent, the best is yet to come! I would definitely recommend you read Divergent if you are in to Dystopian reads and looking for a new addiction.
You can buy Divergent on Amazon here and anywhere else that sells books!