by Veronica Roth
genre: dystopian, action, adventure, YA
A future where our world is split into five factions to stop future wars, what could possible go wrong? Find out why I gave it a 3 out of 5 stars!
(Taken from Goodreads)
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.
There is a lot of hype over Divergent on Goodreads and elsewhere. I listened to Divergent through an audiobook. I was very impressed with the first few chapters of this book. I felt like the story was grounded, I was able to immerse myself in this Faction-based world.
I wasn’t super in love with Beatrice but I liked her enough. As the story progresses, we see as she hardens. I liked this transformation and I thought that there were sufficiently significant events that occur to appropriately shape her personality and thoughts on the world. She learns about how dark and cruel this world can be, and she begins to internalise these features into her personality.
From my previous YA rants, you know how I hate brooding love interests. Unfortunately, this book does have that. Thankfully, it doesn’t have a love triangle though. While the love interest is brooding to start, he does seem to be a genuinely nice guy. I LOVE when good guys are portrayed as appealing. So, even though the romantic side started off rocky (brooding, moody guy), it does turn around. I wasn’t sold on the romantic side of the story but it didn’t infuriate me either.
One thing that troubled me was the Dauntless faction morals. They stand for courage. To stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. I don’t understand why they were so violent and cruel. Being violent and cruel doesn’t make you courageous. While the book does delve into this, exposing the corruption and erosion of the faction values, this bothered me for a long time. I liked how Roth turns around the values of courage and also highlights how selflessness and courage are not always that different.
I did enjoy how much action, fighting, and violence-oriented scenes were in the book. So many YA novels just focus on the romance. I’m glad that the action was the strongest theme throughout the novel. It was refreshing and this was the reason why I bought this book for my teenage sister.
I’m not sure why this book fell flat for me near the end. It started off as a solid 4 out of 5 but it ended with a 3 out of 5. I try not to be influenced by the raving reviews but I also struggled to understand why people thought it was SO great. I don’t like YA books much (but love so many of their story concepts!) so for it to get a 3 out of 5 is quite an achievement. If you love YA, then you should definitely try this novel.
The ending felt a little too Hollywood. I think that was it. Everything else felt so grounded, authentic. I felt like I could imagine this dystopian society. Then at the end, there was so many ‘save the world’ scenes. Since this was a trilogy, I thought maybe that kind of ‘epic’ story would come along later. I found myself internally rolling my eyes a little with how ‘Hollywood’ it seemed.
The ending was sweet and it’s definitely prepared itself for a next book. I’m tempted to listen to it since I also have the Insurgent audiobook. Maybe I need to give the series another go? I did ENJOY the book, I just didn’t LOVE it. I’ll have to get to it after I finish the 5th Wave.
3 out of 5 stars
This book is for you if you:
- Love YA novels with an emphasis on action and romance
- Enjoy a strong female lead
This book is not for you if you:
- Don’t enjoy fighting scenes. There’s lots of violence-oriented ‘training’ during the faction initiation
- Want a story that consistently feels ‘realistic’ and doesn’t venture into ‘save the world’ plots
– Ermisenda Alvarez
Enjoy this review? Leave comments below or to submit a review request for your novel or see what other books we’ve reviewed, please check the Book Reviews page.