Monday, January 13, 2014

Review - Divergent by Veronica Roth

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.
At the urging of a pretty cool tattooed chick with funky hair and facial piercings who works at the bookstore I frequent less than a mile from my house, I grabbed Divergent by Veronica Roth. I didn't read it right away, however. As a matter of fact, I didn't pick it back up off my bookshelf until after I saw the preview for the movie.

It's Choosing Day and Beatrice knows she won't be able to choose the faction she's grown up in, Abnegation. A faction full of selfless, invisible people. Instead, she chooses Dauntless... a faction full of wild and crazy people who just seem so... FREE... to her. She starts her new life with a new name, or at least a nickname, and sets to work attempting to make it through initiation so that she can become a permanent member.

Four is her instructor. And there is definitely chemistry there. And some confusion. She makes friends with the transfer initiates in her dormitory, or at least with a few of them. A handful seem to have it out for everyone they deem weaker than themselves and start to pick people off, vying for a coveted Top 10 spot and a place in the Dauntless faction for good.

Things aren't what they seem though. Not once initiation is over. Tris and her friends find out that there's an evil in the only city they've ever known. One that could take over their entire world and destroy it and everyone they love.


I would like to say.... it's been a while since I've LITERALLY not been able to put a book down. Since I've stayed up until 3 or 4 in the morning reading because I can't bear to go to sleep until I know what's going to happen. It's messed up my sleep schedule something awful, and I'm exhausted, but it was definitely worth it.

Tris, who thinks she's selfish actually ends up being one of the most selfless people in the entire book. She seems frail and afraid at the beginning, but (unlike SOME popular heroines in SOME popular noves (no hate, I've read them too, it's ok)) she doesn't stay that way. She doesn't depend on everyone else to take care of her. To protect her. She does the work and ends up being pretty badass.

Four is broken, that is painfully clear. But he is beautiful in his brokenness and his willingness to be vulnerable where Tris is concerned. And his willingness to let her help him try and put his pieces back together.

There are so many different characters that I could write about, but I just wouldn't know where to start or stop. Aside from Al, it seemed Tris chose her friends well. They were all super supportive of each other and even though they were from different factions with totally different personalities and completely different views on what was important in life, they ended up being amazing friends.

I love Dystopian novels. And I love them when they are similar to each other, but different enough that they don't just seem to be the same idea copied over and over again. The factions are supposed to help everyone find their place in the world and tell them what their function in society is going to be, but even the best laid plans don't work 100% of the time. Tris is proof of that. In spite of everything thrown at her though, she never quits.

The world Divergent is set in is a futuristic, post somekindofworldchangingevent, Chicago. It was interesting to see the specific nuances of each faction. Everything they chose, from their hair to their clothes to the decor in their houses screams what faction they're from. Abnegation don't look in mirrors. Dauntless wear tattoos and jump from trains. Erudite wear glasses even if they don't need them because it makes them appear more intelligent. Candor wear black and white clothing because that's how they see the world. And Amity are supposed to always appear happy and smiling.

I would like to think that I'd be in Dauntless. I definitely dig the tattoos for one thing. I can't NOT look in a mirror at least ONCE a day. Black and white all the time would bore me. I wear glasses, but not so I look smart... it's so I can see. And no one can be that happy all the time.

Anyway, long story short... Amazing book. Amazing story. I recommend it to any fan of dystopian in general or people who love books like The Hunger Games.

And cool tattooed chick with facial piercings and crazy hair who works at the bookstore.... thank you.

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