Monday, July 18, 2011

Review: Divergent- Veronica Roth

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, 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 to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating 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 a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

When Divergent first came out, I was on the brink of starting exams, and in no position to order it from Book Depository. Then I spotted it in my local Waterstones a few weeks later, and picked it up along with a few others. I’ll admit that the cover was an initial hook; it’s eye-catching, though it doesn't tell us too much about what's going on. To be honest, I wasn’t expecting much. Dystopian is a huge trend in current YA, and apart from the Hunger Games, not much of it really appealed to me. (It also took me almost a year to read even THG with its near-obsessive fandom!)

Divergent blew me away. Although there are dystopian themes, it is first and foremost an action adventure, chronicling the transformation of worrying, striving Beatrice into the tough, self-assured Tris, who’s still not without her occasional moment of vulnerability. There’s conflict between Tris and her family, between Tris and her fellow initiates for their new faction, between Tris and her instructors… especially the quietly dangerous Four. The tension between them was tangible, and his scenes were some of my favourite in the book. Roth is great at creating multilayered characters whose true intentions are unmasked piece by piece, and whose actions are never predictable.

Roth says in her FAQs that her aim is to make each book in this trilogy work as a story that stands for itself, and while I’m anxious to read book two, the ending was still deeply satisfying. No cheap cliffhangers here; the balance between withholding enough to drive the reader crazy and not enough to keep them interested is done perfectly.

The fast pace and high stakes kept my adrenalin levels soaring throughout almost all of the 487 pages, which I turned without stopping until I reached the last one. Veronica Roth seamlessly blends futuristic technology, a uniquely structured society and a varied cast of characters into a book that just works. Pick it up on your next trip to the bookstore. If you like being kept on your toes, you won’t regret it.



  1. Great review! I love this book :)

  2. it came out in the middle of my exams too, but since i'd already read 100 pages on the HC website i HAD to read the rest to find out what would happen. and i'd finished the novel before i knew it!

    while i did love it a lot, it wasn't a 'favorite'. a 4-star read, sorta. but yeah, it is a pretty great book, and i'm glad it's so popular :)


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