Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Author: Veronica Roth
Publication Date: May 3, 2011
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books an imprint of Harper Collins
Pages: 487
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Source: Bought it

Book Description from Publisher: 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 brace), 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.

I bought this one on recommendation from an Indigo employee during my post Hunger Games book search. I didn’t buy it immediately, and it took several trips back to Indigo before I actually bought it, and then it proceeded to sit on my shelf - I wasn’t ready to move on from the afterglow of The Hunger games yet. So when I took it as my plane read on my trip to New York - I still didn’t read it, until I was stuck on planes/airports for 16 hours on the way home. In those 16 hours, I fervently read it cover to cover, only stopping because I had to get off a plane and rush to the next one. My biggest regret is leaving this book unread for so long!

The bold flame designs really pop on the cover given the cooler neutral colouring and the mixed skyline and wilds design, it’s definitely eye catching- even if it reminds me of Sauron’s eye from Lord of the Rings.

The world that Divergent is set in is a very bleak, steel/concrete and structured one. The sites of habitation and the set uniform styles/colours are meant to be used to equalize and signify your role in society. But it isn’t really these mundane sets that you’ll pay attention to, it’s the death defying world of the Dauntless that Tris jumps into that snares a reader’s attention.

The story is told from Tris’ (aka Beatrice) point of view, and we get to experience the self sacrificing and painfully bland life of the Abnegation that Tris was originally born into. She doesn’t fit in there, and she struggles to be selfless. When she makes her choice to join the Dauntless, she still retains her timid nature at first- but she realizes that she has to put that behind her and embrace her decision in order to survive. This is where I really start loving Tris, she keeps her morals but harnesses her fears and pushes herself to try all the new things associated with the Dauntless. Her whole experience is like an initiation into a viking inspired biker gang where if you don’t participate in the extreme stuff that you’re expected to do, you aren’t getting in or worse you may not get out alive.

There are some seriously gritty situations that Tris gets thrown into and I sat there white knuckled until she got through it! These situations are coupled with exhilarating moments of insane stunting that Roth does an amazing job describing. These scenes made me remember what it was like to jump off the side of a mountain attached to a cable upside down (zip lines are seriously fun go try it!) and the rush of adrenaline and the feeling of freedom that accompanied it.

When Tris first gets to Dauntless training camp, she's completely alone and has to carefully pick and choose her allies. Roth does a great job presenting these characters. I could never tell who I could trust or who to root for, so I just sat there and lived vicariously through Tris, hoping she'd make the right decision and holding onto dear life when she didn't.

Then we meet the mysterious Four, teacher and semi-love interest for Tris. He’s another one of those characters where when you first meet him you’re conflicted in trying to decide if he’s going to help or hinder, and it keeps you guessing throughout the book which made him such a thrilling character to follow. He’s absolutely my favourite character even if there are times where you want to smack him upside the head. His whole back story and the origin of his name was by far one of the best character builds I’ve ever read. More importantly, his role in Tris’ evolution into a Dauntless has him involved in some very pivotal and haunting scenes that follow the reader well after the book is over.

I loved that Roth leaves little clues throughout the book that I initially brushed off as unimportant and then it comes back explosively in the reveals. The ending to Divergent is action packed, the culmination of secrets and plots reach their apex and blow the doors wide open for the sequel Insurgent due out May 1, 2012, that I just CANNOT wait for! 

Rating: 5/5 Steaming HOT Cups of Tea!
If you're looking to fill the post-Hunger Games void, Divergent is definitely a great place to start! 


  1. Take away the hullabaloo surrounding the film adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ best-selling young adult book and what you have is an absorbing film with a dire premise that stands pretty much on its own. Lawrence is also the stand-out here as Katniss and makes her seem like a real person rather than just another book character brought to life on film. Good review.

    1. Hmm...I think there was a technology related error that occurred between the posting of this comment and the posting of my Divergent review. But anyhow, I agree that the movie can stand on its own and it definitely is piquing non-reader's attentions. It's a good feedback system, people are introduced to the movie - end up really liking it and then going on to read the books because they want to find out what happens next! Thanks for stopping by!

  2. I actually have a review up of this too. I thought the chemistry between the two main characters was AMAZING! There was so much tension! I especially loved that neither was dependent on the other but rather they grew from each other. Really detailed review, Ann!


    1. I am sooo excited to see what happens with Tris and Four in the next one, but mostly what happens to Four lol


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