Friday, July 06, 2012
Author: Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #1
Genre: YA, dystopian
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books, 2011
Read for: Fun
Tris lives in a world of five factions: Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, and Erudite. Your faction is more important than your family, and it determines your way of life -- what you know, who you marry, where you live. However, when Tris's placement test gives her some unexpected results, she must decide which faction she really belongs in, and in the process discovers an ugliness about the world that must be fought.
I had heard about Divergent for almost a year before I had the opportunity to read it and discover for myself what all the fuss was about. I'd heard it touted as the next Hunger Games, with very few dissenters saying they didn't enjoy it. While I can certainly see where the comparisons to The Hunger Games arose, Divergent is a very different but very enjoyable story.
While I greatly enjoyed Divergent, it took me several pages to really become invested in the story. I think the main reason for this was that the two factions I most related to, the Candor and the Erudite, were the two that Tris hated most. And I can definitely say that Dauntless, the faction that is most highlighted in this book, is one place I know I would never, ever choose. The brutality of Tris's training and the constant competition in The Hub were the aspects of the book that most reminded me of the Hunger Games, but they were very unappealing to me in this book at first, I think because I was picturing living an entire life in that setting. I simply couldn't see the appeal.
However, as I became better acquainted with the characters, I became more involved in Divergent. While Tris's decisions were at times alien to me, I loved getting to know her character. I loved the fact that she was tiny, with an upbringing that didn't prepare her at all for the life she was facing in Dauntless, and yet she still continued fighting and working to overcome the greatest odds. I loved seeing her past affecting the decisions she made in a positive way. I also loved -- loved -- Four. I frequently feel as if I can't really picture the love interests in YA novels. I feel as if the characters are so blinded by their emotions that the only picture I get of the love interest is an emotional one made up of the narrating character's reactions. However, Four was clearly painted, an individual apart from his and Tris's developing relationship. He was also deeply complex, revealing layers of himself slowly throughout the novel. I also absolutely loved the way he came to be called Four, although I'll leave that for you to discover in the novel.
While the training scenes (especially the First Stage) were distasteful to me at first, as the plot developed I became more and more involved in the novel. Much of Divergent is Tris's initiation into her new faction and the struggle that is, but the last several pages build into a climax that affects her entire world, setting up the next book excellently. I am hungry for more and excited to see the new paths the characters take.
For those who enjoy the dystopian genre, Divergent is a no-brainer must-read. Even those who are not die-hard fans may find something to love in this unique and exciting series.
Warnings: Mild references to sexuality, violence