book, book review, books, bravery, divergent, dystopian, review, reviews, veronica roth, YA, young adult
by Veronica Roth
genre: dystopian, YA
Synopsis 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, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Absolutely stellar reviews, I first added it to my TBR pile because it won the Goodreads Reader’s Choice Award. When I started reading it, I didn’t understand what all the fuss was about. There are some good concepts and fantastic quotes. It’s spurred conversations with my roommates on a number of occasions. But if I grade it purely on my level of enjoyment, it falls flat.
At first I was annoyed by Roth’s (apparent) definition of strength and bravery. Sorry kiddo, you’re not athletic enough to jump on a moving train or land on a rooftop (even though you were brave enough to jump off a moving train onto a rooftop) so you fail or die. Then it clicked. Roth was making a point of distorting the good traits into negative ones. That helped me like the book more, but it took a while to get interesting and I didn’t connect with Tris. Around the 80% mark, I wanted to shake Tris and be like “WTF is wrong with you? Do you have a death wish or are you an idiot?”
Then I hit the final chapters and, how can I put this…
However, there’s enough good material for several blog posts, so if you’re a blogger, this is a good book (or if you’re in a book club).
Overall, 3 out of 5 stars.
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Never liked the movie
What didn’t you like about it?
It was cool but to simple for me
Anne Schilde said:
I’ve heard a couple of qualified one star reviews, so I appreciate this tweener. I actually loved the movie, but couldn’t imagine myself tolerating its ridiculous premise on paper. You can’t put people in a box and expect me to read your book. You can’t. The premise of this story rather neatly packages all people into five boxes and so bye-bye.
The movie trailer lured me in with the dreamscapes and the falling, two of my guilty pleasures. It was hit and miss with chemistry between Tris and Four, but she reminded me of me, and he was hot, so it was okay. The rest was just great fun on screen. If I could have just been stuck in the popcorn line for the first seven minutes, I would have raved about it to the point where people thought I was a blathering idiot. …those who don’t already, of course. 🙂
I see what you mean about putting people into boxes. To me, it didn’t seem that different from what we try to do in society already, but on a smaller scale. A job is not a permanent thing, but generally you select a path and are expected to stick to it. People in Marketing have very different personality traits than people in Sales. Reduce the number of options to 5 and you have Divergent.