Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Pages: 496
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/Dystopia
Pub. Date: May 3, 2011
ARC received through Book It Forward Tours
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "One choice. One choice decides your friends, defines your beliefs, and determines your loyalties . . . forever. Or, one choice can transform you. In Veronica Roth's debut novel, Divergent, a perfect society unfolds into a dystopian world of electrifying decisions, stunning consequences, heartbreaking betrayals, and unexpected romance."

Beatrice, or Tris, is sixteen years old and at this age all members of her community must decide who they are and where they fit in society as this choice defines them in many ways.  There's factions: Abnegation, which is the faction she grew up in, Dauntless, Amity, Candor, and Erudite.  Being raised in Abnegation was challenging as it's a selfless faction and Tris never really felt good enough and self-sacrificing enough to fully fit into this community; however, she doesn't necessarily want to leave her family behind.  Because if and when you choose a new faction at sixteen, you rarely, if ever, get to see your parents again and this is a decision that Tris doesn't take lightly. One the most important days for Tris occurs when her community makes their faction recommendation.  Tris makes a startling discovery.  After the simulation, it is reported to her that she is a Divergent, meaning she falls in more than one faction, which is considered extremely dangerous.  Veronica Roth's spine-tingling debut, Divergent, is a roller coaster ride of emotions as readers follow Tris's whirlwind decision as well as journey that undoubtedly changed her life forever.   

Roth's world is so unique and terrifying at the same time. It takes place in Chicago, one of my favorite cities, and her descriptions of what the once beautiful city has come to was startling.  I wish she had given the readers more background on how the factions came about, but perhaps she will in the next book.  Nonetheless, Roth creates an unforgettable and eerie world that truly stayed with me.

The character of Tris was pretty intense as well.  I can see why many people are saying that this book is along the same lines as Hunger Games as Kantiss and Tris both have many similarities.  However, for me, there was something missing in Tris. I enjoyed her and I was most definitely rooting for her, but I couldn't connect with her as much as I did with some other heroines out there.  

One thing I wasn't really prepared for was all the violence, which sounds silly, I know. I mean Hunger Games was violent as well as Maze Runner, which are two of my favorite books, but the violence in Divergent felt different to me. There was a lot of bloodshed, death and fighting; this book was definitely action packed. I didn't mind it, but it took me by surprise. 

The writing was captivating and quite impressive, I might add, as Roth was only twenty-one when she wrote this book.  My only complaint regarding the writing was towards the end, it felt rushed.  Without giving anything away, there's a horrific event that occurred and I feel like it was a bit brushed over by Tris.  On the other hand, one thing is for sure: Roth knows how to keep her readers in suspense.  This book is one of the most suspenseful books that I've read in a long time and I'm not talking edge of your seat....I'm talking gripping the book while my knuckles turn white, cringing at every page turn, anger boiling over, my heart pounding and racing a mile a minute...you get the idea.  This book was intense. Seriously intense. 

Fans of The Uglies, Hunger Games, Maze Runner, Delirium and Matched will enjoy Divergent. I realize it doesn't come out until May, but this is definitely a book you want to pre-order if you can't get enough of dystopian literature.  I'm going to be honest....I don't think this book will give Hunger Games a run for its money, but I think that it will fill a void for many fans out there who need their Katniss fix.  I can see many of my students enjoying this one!  As for me, I will be taking a break from dystopian thrillers--I think my blood pressure will thank me!

*Pre-order Divergent


  1. I had a hard time with the violence in The Hunger Games the first time around. I remember having to put the book down because I felt so anxious and then picking it up again because I couldn't wait to find out what would happen.

    I've enjoyed the other dystopian fiction out there but some titles are more like The Giver rather than the Hunger Games and sometimes I like that better. I just got my copy of Across the Universe yesterday and I have a feeling that will be my new favorite of the year.

    Fantastic review! I didn't really know that much about Divergent but I will definitely be reading it when it is released. I will try to prepare myself for the extra dose of violence and the gripping tension of the story :)

  2. I LOVED this book! I connected with Tris and loved Four. Oh, how I love him! To me, this plot and this world were just so unique and well-planned and intriguing. I want to know more...So, I hope that it's going to have at least one sequel!

    As for the violence, I just think that makes the world of a dystopia all the more realistic. If you think about the great dystopias in history, they're all infamous for their violence and disregard for human life. I just think that this element makes a dystopian world more authentic.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  3. Great review! I haven't really heard much about this one yet. I've enjoyed a couple of dystopian books of late, but I've yet to fall in love with a YA dystopian book, so maybe I'll check this out!

    I'm not a fan of violence in books either. I just prefer lots of romance! :)

  4. Wow! So I'll definitely be getting this book when it's released. I love books that are really intense. Divergent sounds like it has everything I like, I'm not a fan of rushed endings though so hopefully it'll be fixed before it comes out.

  5. The intro reminded me of a few other recent additions to the YA scene (ironically, Matched as you mentioned) but with the twist of having a choice, or rather the chance to make a decision (even if it isn't a very good one). Sounds like one to watch for indeed. Thanks for the share! Happy reading... ^_^

  6. Christina- I agree...sometimes the violence is hard to deal with. I actually didn't have a problem with HG's violence b/c it didn't seem overdone. I hope you are enjoying Across the Universe- it was awesome!

    Mrs D- I'm glad you connected with them. I had a hard time, although I enjoyed the story. I believe there is a sequel and Roth is working on it currently. I understand what you are saying about dystopias and I agree violence is necessary, but at times, I felt like it was included just for the shock factor and not necessarily needed. Thanks for visiting!

    Leanna- I agree! Bring on the romance instead. :)

    Adriana, Juju and GMR- Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate it. I hope you guys can get a copy of this book in May. Be sure to let me know what you think!

  7. Fantastic review. I really want to read this, it sounds like a great read.

  8. I just started reading dystopians and had this on my wishlist but haven't seen too many reviews for it. I'm definitely looking more forward to it now!

  9. hi there, just found your blog and thought I would say hello!
    thanks for this recommendation, i'll have to check it out


  10. Ahhhh I'm so excited to read this one now! I love a book that can keep me in suspense, and even if things at the end are a little rushed, it sounds like her world and her characters make up for that flaw. I need this book now, fantastic review Christina!

  11. I really want to read this because, I'm reading the last book of The Hunger Games series and I've heard about the ending, and it was just so sad. I love the ending, but did somebody that important have to die?(I'm trying to not give away anything here.) I really want to read Divergent, but I can't stand a book without romance, and wanted to know if it had romance and to what extent exactly?

  12. i LOVED this book! i read it twice now. any one know of any more dystopian books besides the hunger games siries, or the maze runer siries? i already read both of those :)

  13. I actually enjoyed it more than Hunger Games. They are different books with different flavors. I am very impressed that the author is so young. I have read a LOT of adult dystopian fiction and I think this book was more original in its concept than Hunger games.

  14. Thanks for all your comments, guys!

    Gypsy- Thanks for your thoughts. I agree that Divergent is more original, but for me, HG was an all around better read. My students would agree too. They are obsessed. :)

  15. I can't believe I have still not read Divergent! It will be hard for it to surpass the hunger games in my eyes though.

    I just wanted to let you know that I love your blog and I added your blog button to my new blog roll page.

    -Michelle @ Book Briefs

  16. I am almost finished with the book and I LOVE IT! This is a great review!


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