I’m back from a short hiatus due to finals week. And to start it off again, let’s get to my first book review!
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books / HarperCollins
Pages: 496 ( Original Paperback), 576 (reprint version)
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction, YA Romance
Release Date: 05/03/2011
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 threatens to unravel her seemingly-perfect society, she also learns that her secret might be what helps her save those she loves . . . or it might be what destroys her.
This series was only my second venture into the dystopian literature. I went into this book not knowing really anything about it at all. There had not been much hype around it and it had already been out for a while. Really I was just recommended by a few fellow readers that mentioned it was another YA dystopian novel. I had to check it out. I had zero expectations going into this book. I skimmed over the summary and said, “Let’s get reading!”
Long story short, I loved it. The setting was really well thought out and, knowing how Chicago is now, I found it TOTALLY interesting how Roth separated the society into five factions and pretty much created an entirely new world within one we, as readers, already know. I could also consider this post-apocalyptic considering how she explained the history of the factions.
The characters are pretty well rounded. Beatrice (later renaming herself Tris) falls into the usual category of the type of person that considers herself ordinary, flawed, unsure of herself, and incapable of being what she later becomes in the book – the heroine. She reminded me of Katniss from Hunger Games, which made me like her a little more, especially since Hunger Games is probably my all time favorite book (next to Harry Potter, because, duh wizards). Some people might not like this, thinking that Tris and this whole book is just trying to be a “Hunger Games” wannabe. But I wanted to give this one a chance. I’m glad I did.
The book was a wild ride from beginning to end. From the moment that Tris found out she was a unique individual, called Divergent, to the very last page when she’s jumping onto a train, I found myself unable to put the book down. There were thrills, arguments, budding romance, and even some thought-provoking secrets that are later exposed.
During Tris’ test we get a small glimpse into her character. Underneath the veil of her upbringing as an Abnegation, we can see that she is actually courageous and strong-willed. We end up seeing more of this as her character develops during the initiation of the faction she chooses. Tris ends up developing into a short, badass little spitfire through the initiation and also later when a hidden agenda is revealed and chaos ensues. I loved her development and the fact that she is described as short also made me happy because I am also a short, tiny person. Short people that can kick ass are awesome in my book and Tris is one of them!
Tris’ love interest in the book happens to be one of the Dauntless dudes that trains her. His nickname is Four, though we learn his true name later in the book. It took me a little bit to really understand why she was attracted to him in the first place. Four comes off pretty cold and focused on nothing but the training. I suppose Tris is just physically attracted to the guys that come off as tough guys. However, what I did enjoy was that their romance actually took some time to develop before anything actually happened. There was no insta-love in this story (THANK GOD) and there was a considerable amount of the book that was devoted to the two learning more about each other. I did also like that Roth delved into Four’s own fears and made him seem more human rather than keeping him as the tough guy. We definitely find out that Four is damaged in his own way, which grounds him and also brings out a softer side to him when it comes to Tris.
There is a part in the book where Tris also finds a few things out about her own parents, which can be connected to why SHE of all people ended up being Divergent. I found that very interesting as well especially since some of it played a large part in the ending of the book.
In the end, I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Not only was it a fun read full of thrills, violence, and some young puppy love, but reading deeper into it, it can be really thought-provoking, especially when comparing the leaders of the factions to real-world situations, such as our own society and the government in America. I can definitely say that Hunger Games did the same thing to me, which was part of why I loved it so much. It was a fantastic read. And I couldn’t wait to get my paws on Insurgent.