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.
Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.
FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS *****
There is a lot of hype surrounding this book, and as usual, this is completely and utterly justified. One thing to know about me is that I am generally a slow reader. Well, okay, no, I’m an average reader but I usually read every single word, I hate skipping when I’m reading so longer books generally take me longer to read. Divergent was not like this. I finished this book in just over twenty-four hours. It captivated me so much that I simply could not put it down or think about doing anything else until I had reached the very end.
Just for this reason, because I adored it so much, knowing where to start on this review and how to express my thoughts has turned into an extremely difficult task as I want to do this book justice, I want others to pick it up and become enthralled by the words on the page but I also don’t want to over-hype it. Therefore I am apologising now that this review took so long to publish but I’m also going to apologise if this review doesn’t do the book justice in your own opinion. I will try my hardest to get a decent view out there for you all though.
So, to start, I will focus on the characters. And my, what characters! Within the first few pages of this book, I was already in love with the main protagonist. I found such a strong bond with Beatrice and I could not wait to listen to where the story would go and where it would take me. She was a character that I was able to sympathise with, someone that I could understand and just wanted to cheer on whenever she did something. I think I loved her so much just because I saw so much of myself in her and therefore I saw all of her struggles too. Then we have Four, who just captured my soul. I was in tune with him right from the first time we see him and I just loved how he treated Tris. It was just… so beautiful. I loved that they felt like real people. They had their good qualities along with their bad ones, they had their struggles and their fears and worries and they just felt so… normal and this is one of the hardest things to accomplish when writing and Roth just managed to grasp it. Other great characters include Christina and Will, Tris’ mum, Eric and Peter. Everyone was just written so well, with such depth and background that it helped to create a realistic illusion of this world.
And what a world! Dystopian novels usually have quite a heavy task on their hands when it comes to world-building because the whole idea is that it is a world completely void of our own. One that is full of destruction and despair and yet, at the same time, there is just that inkling of hope. And boy did Roth do a good job of this! It is certainly not an easy feat and I think that this is one of the reasons that I simply loved Divergent so much. I was so intrigued to hear about the different factions and what each of them stand for and why they’re all in separate factions in the first place. And it’s just so powerful how well she made the idea of being factionless scary and undesirable. Her descriptions were just so well written that I could imagine everything in my mind, could see how the different people would mingle, or not mingle as the case may be, and I just loved the world that was being brought forward to my mind from the page. I was inspired because I am certain that I could never imagine such a place on my own.
Not only did Roth create a wonderful world, however, the plot that unravelled throughout the story’s process was just… mind-boggling. I don’t want to give too much away but I will say that she simply has a way with words that managed to grab at my heartstrings. There were twists and turns that were unexpected, twists that were forseen yet still were awesome to read and discover along with Tris and it was really the moments of shock that really captured this book for me. It was slow to begin with, a lot of world building had to happen though, so this was expected, but then it sped up in the middle, with exciting tasks shown and then it was a fast-paced race towards the end and the ending left you just wanting more. I finished the book and simply couldn’t think straight because I wanted to read Insurgent straight away. I want to know what happens next. No. I need to know what will happen now.
Divergent is not a book that you can pick up and read just for pure entertainment. It is not a light, easy read where you can escape for a few hours in pure bliss. It is a magical story that truly pulls you into a different world, one that lets you escape your own life to live the life of Tris and her faction-filled world. It grabs you by your ankles and it doesn’t let you go until you were fully submersed in another reality. (Yes, reality). Divergent is one of the best books that I have read in an extremely long time and, dare I say it, rivals The Hunger Games in my affections.
It is not a book for the light-hearted, or someone who just wants an easy escapist read, it is for the nitty-gritty book lovers who crave something more than most books give them. It is simply amazing and one that I am just so glad I owned and even feel a little guilty at how cheaply I managed to buy it. This book deserves to be paid full price for. And with all of that said, it is easy to understand why I am waiting on tether hooks for Insurgent, which is due to be released 363 days after the first on May 1st 2012.