Title: Divergent (Divergent #1)
Author: Veronica Roth
Published: May, 2011 by HarperCollins
Rating: 4 out 5
Purchase: The Book Depository
Beatrice “Tris” Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth’s dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite.Well it seems like YA book lovers have moved away from the Vampires fanatic-themes books, to now living stories of a futuristic, dystopian society.
To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place in mortal danger.
Hunger Games fans rejoice; there's a new dystopian in town and it’s good, really good. I’m not saying that its similar to The Hunger Games, because it’s not, however both creates those same feelings of heart pounding, sweaty hands, shivering sensation that nearly all dystopian stories create and I experienced reading both books. Especially those thoughts ‘what if the world really becomes like that in the future, what if we do indeed eventually have a corrupt government and all humans lose what they call their free will?’.
Beatrice (Tris, as we come to know her) is from one of the five factions—Abnegation and they are known for being selfless. As the time of the ‘Choosing Ceremony’ (is it me or do mostly all these dystopian books need some sort of big event, where the initial plot of the story takes place i.e. ‘Matched-the Matched Banquet or THG-The Reaping?) it is time for her to choose which of the five factions she will enter. I won’t tell you which faction she enters, but believe me, she goes through a range of emotions and guilt, for leaving her family, is a constant once.
Once in that faction she is faced with unimaginable obstacles and indeed heartbreak. However, she uses her strength and courage to make herself stand out at the top. While there, she makes friends who enable her to figure out exactly who she is and some who are jealous at her new found strength. One of the leading figures in her new faction manages to break through the wall Tris has around herself and show her exactly how powerful she can be. By doing this, he also finds his way inside her heart, (sigh), would any book be complete without some sort of romance between the protagonist and a broody young man, preferable one who has power at his disposal or a dark secret....either way works for me.!
Veronica Roth seamlessly describes this foreign world to us in clear detail. Each character helped compose a plot that makes the reader feel like they are in the room with them during the action. I admired the character Tris, she cunningly swaps between two sets of personality; one where she is vulnerable to cleverly manipulate people that she is no threat to anyone (and her height and weight reinforced that) and she is vicious and brutal. I’m happy that Veronica made the main girl have somewhat strength at her disposal, can make decisions for herself and showed everyone she is a force to be reckoned with.....needing no irresponsible guy to protect her and being illustrated as the ‘damsel in distress’ as Stephanie Meyer likes to...eurgh! I’m also glad that these newcomer authors actually portray the main girls’ stronger characters. It’s what young girls reading these books actually need, some role model, someone who actually has a backbone and uses her wit to get what she wants. However, mostly all of them do like to describe the main girls as rather plain looking, dull person, who acts or looks more like a boy then a fully developed girl. Maybe they are trying to change the perception that heroines do not have to be this stunning lady, but it does annoy me that they have to look or act like boys in order for them to be taken seriously in the book. Anyway, Tris was perfect as a character! I never got annoyed with her; she just got on with things and made the best out of the situation. I even rooted for her when she thrashed the character Molly during stage one initiation. Good on her!
I loved the character Four. Not too much as I did with the character Delos from ‘Night World; book 8’ but nevertheless Four was well written. He was the typical bad boy guy, where his moody, never smiles and never cares what people think of him. Veronica hints within the chapters that he has many admires, but none that touched his heart as Tris had. Despite the tough, unbreakable amour that we see Four having, there is a soft side to him. Aww don’t we just love it when the tough guy has a soft spot and only the love of his life finds a way to show it. It just shows that they are in fact humans. When Veronica displayed Four’s humane side, my heart went out to him. You can see that he has suffered a lot and it takes him a lot to gather up his composure, especially when we are told what his deepest fear is and when he comes out of his fear landscape. He looks like a lost little boy! Double awww!!!
The passionate chemistry within the pages of this story will honestly leave you breathless. It's one of those romances where the boy can look at the girl across the room and every touch that they share gives you the chills! I loved the chemistry between the two main characters. It wasn’t too childish and it was too graphic, displaying illustrations for the taste of adult romance books.....such as Breaking Dawn and the (gulp...excuse me) ‘bed-destroying and pillows being ripped apart’ it could be! Veronica created Four and Tri’s relationship as something forbidden, stolen glances here and there and portraying this demeanour that they have no feelings for each other whenever people are around, when in actuality they yearn for each other’s touch. Arghhh loved it! Both characters bring out the best in each other.
Divergent was well written and constructed. I never felt it was rushed or unrealistic and I can imagine it when it turns into a movie. I loved the fact that Veronica goes in detail with ever brutal incident....maybe a little too much....and doesn’t shy away from the blood and gore. It just adds to the intense and imagination that she successfully creates. The world-building was flawless and Veronica Roth has set up the foundation for an astonishing continuation to this series.
The cover of the book is also crafted to excellence. The fiery sign is original and the landscape at the bottom of the page illustrates the futuristic society that we have entered.
The setting, characters, plot, romance, and writing were all done to perfection. Divergent is exactly what I had been looking for in a book. But I would not go as far to say it was better or I enjoyed it more than THG, hence why I gave it four stars. In fact I don’t think I’ll ever find anything better than THG. Would liked to have seen more of a bad side to Four, more brutal, like the psycho in ‘Shatter Me’...but maybe I’m just weird to think that! However, I do look forward for the next instalment of the second book ‘Insurgent’ coming out in May 2012.
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