Saturday, 14 February 2015

Book Review: Divergent

Divergent by Veronica Roth

4 Stars

Recommend: Dystopian lovers!

Society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue, in the attempt to form a 'perfect society'. On her Choosing Day, Beatrice Prior renames herself Tris, rejects her family's Abnegation group, and chooses another faction.


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This book has been on my radar for a while. It’s had a lot of hype which is almost always a bad thing, and it’s got a many well-loved shadows cast over it. I’ll do my best to treat Divergent fairly.

Let’s get it out of the way: The Hunger Games was better in premise, thrill factor, world building, and characterisation (book 1, anyway). Divergent didn’t need to be the next Hunger Games to get five stars out of me, but it didn’t hit the spot either. I still enjoyed it, I still can’t wait to read the next one, but I think the greatness is yet to come in this series.

The world is split into 5 factions which each focus on one good trait: peace, knowledge, honesty, bravery, or selflessness. When you think about it, the whole book concept revolves around stereotypes and hazing, which is quite a scary but intriguing idea.

It’s a bit jargon heavy at first, but information is layered on and gradually the different factions felt natural. The world concept is probably my favourite thing about this novel, although there’s a lot of wiggle room for books 2 and 3 to flesh out the details.

Tris struck me as pretty normal at first. As soon as she was able to make choices, her true character started to shine. I love the dark and rough aspect to this, and the fact that our usual morals are kicked aside to make way for the strong and the brave (although a little mean). Tris is a character who doesn’t act the way I expect, and that’s what made me want to read on.

I’m glad the romance was the subplot. I didn’t feel the chemistry, although Four really intrigues me. He seems a complex character, and I found myself trying to read more meaning into his words. I felt like his dialogue was chosen very specifically, although I still don’t fully understand what that reason is. If you haven’t already guessed, the theme of this review is ‘maybe the sequel will give me more answers’.

Light spoilers ahead, guys!

Some of the other stuff seemed a bit... uninteresting? The fights only gripped me at first, and the simulations were too superficial to hook me in. Even if the characters tend to believe the simulations are real, I can’t. At least those sections were short and pointed, and there were other twists and gripping scenes to mix the plot up a bit. Tris chooses to move from the selfless faction (Abnegation) to the bravery faction (Dauntless). Things get rough, dark, and dangerous as Tris has to prove she’s brave in a corrupt and tough faction. The brutal ranking the individuals kept me on the edge of my seat to make sure both Tris and the nicer Dauntless folk would make it.

The ‘Dauntless folk’ isn’t exactly what they’re called, but none of them stood out too well, apart from maybe Christina. Roth needed a big pool of characters to whittle down. I think characters were handled as best as could be expected, with Roth focusing on the mains and working the sides in over time. Again, the next book could be where I really start to care about the others.

The end almost felt like a simulation to me. A rush of events and twists and deaths and what the hell’s. If the rest of the book had been a bit shorter and this section was a bit longer, the pacing would have felt better balanced. Overall, the pacing was above average.

There’s enough of everything in this book. There are enough thrills, enough twists, and enough character to root for. It was easy to read and I can’t wait for the next book. I kinda feel like this book is a prequel to something big, and so fingers crossed it’s all up from here.

Source: Paid for it myself with money and everything!