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, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.”
Reading level: Ages 14 and up
Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (May 3, 2011)
REVIEW 4 STARS–YOU GOTTA READ THIS!
In Roth’s dystopian Chicago something interesting happens – people divide into different factions based on ability. It’s the ultimate need to fit in, but I had issues accepting the factions would occur to begin with. The background as to why the factions occurred wasn’t compelling enough to pause believablity. But, I looked past it because the story seemed different than a lot of what’s out there.
The other reason I gave it four stars was the ending. I refuse to post a spoiler here, but everything lined up to be horribly romantic–but it seemed like the author chickened out at the last second and went for the crowd pleaser/ cheeser. As an adult, it irked me, but I can see younger teens enjoying the end of the book.
Due to the violent nature of the book, I think this is better suited for older teens. Izzy (our Pirate Princess Reviews) couldn’t stomach it. There is some gore in scenes where kids are fighting to the death. Kids who don’t get into a faction are factionless, and are better off dead. And Beatrice’s faction only takes the best. The rest are tossed out. Or killed while trying to claw their way into the faction.
That was some of the issues I had with the factions. I had trouble believing that people fit so squarely into one slot for so long, and that parents would willingly sever all ties with their children if they chose a different faction. So, you know I have issues with the factions…
Looking past that, it was an excellent story. It was adventure driven with elements of survival, trust, and a tiny bit of romance. The story moved at a good pace. I enjoyed Four, even though his name threw me initially. In some scenes where they were counting (which they seemed to do a lot when jumping onto/ off of stuff) it took me a bit to figure out they were talking about him, especially if Four’s name started the sentence. The proper name capitalization alone didn’t make it clear that it was Four the person and not four the number.
I liked how Roth wove the world that we know with what it became. Her dystopia is barren and dry. The sections of the city are dangerous and deserted. This book also has bad bad guys. They aren’t nice guys dressed up as monsters–they were actually bad people doing evil stuff. I liked that. It made the story more compelling.
And the heroine was kick-ass. She stuck her neck out and risked everything. Stuff goes to hell and she doesn’t cower and wait for someone to save her. But she still accepts help when she needs it. Great character. So, you have a book full of awesomeness with some minor flaws.
INSURGENT is the second book in this trilogy and is scheduled to be released on May 1, 2012.
PS – The Kindle edition has several formatting/ grammar issues.