Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Why the hell did I pick up this book? For months, I’ve been seeing its cover on Goodreads, and just been like “No.” So why did I pick it up?

I cannot answer that, because I do not know. But what I do know is that Divergent is an incredible read. And anyone who complains about it being too similar to the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is stupid. Just because they’re both set in the Land of the Free and feature 16-year-old bad ass girls, does not mean they’re that similar. And let’s be honest here, people, once you’ve written so many stories, there’s always going to be another story that sounds just like it. You know why that is? There’s a few basic story types that all run along the same lines: adventure, romance, comedy, and horror. And typically, a book will contain more than one of those story types. Okay? Stop being assholes about it and enjoy the read.

In the world of Divergent, there are five factions and each is named after a specific virtue: Candor (honesty), Amity (peaceful), Erudite (knowledge), Abnegation (selflessness), and Dauntless (bravery). Our main character, Beatrice, is from the Abnegation faction. It’s immediately evident that she has a few issues with being selfless, as she says so herself. But don’t we all?

It’s the day of the aptitude test, which helps determine which faction the youngsters (all 16 year olds) should go into. Once she’s gone through hers, she’s informed by a Dauntless, who we meet again later on, that she’s a Divergent and that she can’t tell anyone, that she’s in danger because of it. No one quite understands what Divergent means, but at one point, the reader does learn that Divergent people are incredibly good at getting out of simulations.

I do feel that Beatrice (later Tris in the novel) does come off a little cold and unfeeling, but I got to thinking about it, and how do you build a character without him or her either being seen as psycho?  I think it’s easier to write from the 3rd person for this reason: you able to show the qualities better than trying to portray them from the view of an “unreliable narrator”. Am I right? Or maybe that’s just the lack of sleep talking. But I could forgive Roth for that, because I felt the emotions she wanted me to feel. I felt the panic, the fear, the joy, the anger. And all the time Tris was running around, being awesome and Dauntless (oops, did I let that slip?), I was trying to figure out what faction would I be in? Definitely not Abnegation or Dauntless. Gods help me if I ever attempt to jump onto a moving train or onto a seven story roof.

I enjoyed it and at one point, I stopped and said “Is this really a debut novel? How can this be a debut? Roth is too frickin’ good to have released just one book!” (She’s released two, but that was earlier this year.) I’m waiting for the library to tell me “Hey, come get book two!” And I literally read this in about 12 hours, if you factor out the fact that I had to sleep at some point. I highly recommend this book and I hope Insurgent lives up to the pace that Divergent has set. Now go read!

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

  1. Amazon recommended this book to me based on my browsing history (take this statement as you will, I’m not afraid of your judgment!). I didn’t read the blurb but your review has gotten me intrigued so I suppose I might as well go check it out. 🙂

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