17 April 2012

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.

 Divergent came with insistent recommendation from my best friend.  She practically slept with this book--that's how much she loved it.  Me?  I admit to a bit of skepticism.  (1) any book that blows up so violently in the blogosphere warrants a bit of wariness and (2) it's a dystopian, which I tend to stay away from because they're...well, depressing.  But my best friend was so determined that I read it that she sent me a copy as a Christmas gift.

Well.  Can't let that go to waste.

Divergent was a surprisingly fantastic book and one helluva read.  The main character, Tris (formerly Beatrice) was a dynamic character.  The romance was well-balanced, if unsurprising, and the world thick with details and intrigue.  Veronica Roth knows how the dish out the good stuff.  For a debut author, I take my hat off to her.  I can't wait to see what she does beyond this series.

Tris was, as I said, dynamic.  Meaning with good and bad appeals.  Firstly, she felt fear and just because she had her meek moments didn't mean that everything went miraculously her way.  She was a fighter.  I cheered for her.  Until about halfway through the book and she started to piss me off.  She started to feel entitled, and it made her arrogant.  That was a turn off.  My feelings towards her were a tad bittersweet at the end, but I truly want to see where she goes in the next book.

Her relationship was not a shocker, but I like how their romance wasn't perfect.  They had squabbles and misunderstandings and reunions.  As a couple, I totally cheered them on.

The world Veronica Roth built was incredible.  The setting was painted crisply in my mind, it was as if illustrations were included.  Also, the trademark of a well-layered world, was the feeling that if I ever lived in their world, I would be at once terrified and thrilled.  I like how Veronica Roth took her time and didn't skimp on the details.

The plot was well put together, though some of the major arcs were easily predictable.  It still leaves me thirsting for more.  Just like the rest of the cool peeps in the literary world, I'm waiting in breathless anticipation for the sequel, Insurgent.

Quotes
My father used to say that sometimes, the best way to help someone is just to be near them.  I feel good when I do something I know he would be proud of, like it makes up for all the things I've done that he wouldn't be proud of. (p. 191)
The rhythm of his breaths slows, and I prop myself up to see if he is asleep.  He lies on his stomach with one arm around his head.  His eyes are closed, his lips parted.  For the first time, he looks as young as he is, and I wonder who he really is. (p. 288)

Book Info:

  • pages - hardcover, 487
  • published - May 2011
  • publisher - Katherine Tegen Books
  • genre - dystopian
  • received via - my bestie :)
  • rating - 5/5
  • series - Divergent
    • Divergent
    • Insurgent (coming May 2012)
    • Untitled #3 (coming 2013)