Thursday, 17 January 2013

Review: Divergent, by Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Format: Paperback
Length: 487 pages
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
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In case you missed it, this was my initial reaction to Divergent... "OMG. Wow, my head has just imploded from the unexpected love that I now hold for this book. Honestly did not expect to like it this much."

So yes, I did kinda like it a lot, when I didn't really expect to. Foolish move- pick up a book that ranked incredibly highly in the goodreads.com readers' choice awards, that has been read by what seems like everyone in the blogging community, and loved by all of them, and then expect to dislike it, because dystopian type books generally aren't my cup of tea.

Anyway. Plot and stuff going on etc... Tris lives in a post-apocalyptic city where the population are divided into 5 factions, each of which value a different quality. Everyone's behaviour, clothing and even career paths are determined by the faction in which they reside. There is only one chance to change factions, when at the age of 16, everyone takes the aptitude test to discover which faction their personalities swing towards, before they choose their faction.

Tris is told by her examiner that the results are inconclusive- she shows traits applicable to three of the factions; Abnegation (who value selflessness), Dauntless (who value bravery) and Erudite (who value intelligence). As she shows an affinity for more than one faction, she is Divergent; those who are found to be divergent are usually disposed of "accidentally" by the leadership, and so the examiner covers up her results for her, and advises Beatrice to keep her status a secret at all costs. Tris chooses to become Dauntless, leaving her parents behind in Abnegation, and embracing a new future for herself, and the hardest challenge she has ever faced. The rest of the book is a mixture of Tris training to become Dauntless, and trying to get through the initiation process, which involves both physical and mental training to combat fear, whilst trying to hide her Divergent nature, as well as uncovering the big bad plot (which I won't detail, because of spoilers).

Ah, there are so many things to say about this book, and so many ways to look at it. Its kind of interesting to consider what faction I would choose, both if I were Tris, or based on me personally (I think I can sense a potential discussion post...). From whatever angle you look at Divergent I think it handles a load of issues really well, especially about identity, but without being preachy. Oh, look at me, analysing stuff. I think the whole future post apocalyptic world aspect is handled quite well- the way the factions are explained fits neatly into the telling of the story, and doesn't slow down the story progression- in fact, the factions and their dynamics, and the whole fabric of this future society feeds directly into the story. There is just the right balance of explaining the current situation, without adding in extraneous historical background that would sooth the complaints of nit pickers but would detract from the story.

I mean, the writing is not the most spectacular (although, by the writing gods, I swear I have read much worse). But the plot is interesting, and there is a lot of stuff packed in. The pace is also pretty good- I read it in a little under 24 hours because I was always intrigued by the progression of the story. I am also sooo glad that Veronica Roth didn't feel the need to set up a love triangle. Four (silly name, but I can deal with that) as a character is well rounded and impressive enough that there was no need to sneak in another love interest to cause an emotional clash.
Plus, tattoos. The only reason this book took me a whole 24 hours to read was because I kept stopping to look at tattoos on the internets.

Basically, I could write a whole bloody essay on this book. Essentially, I really liked it. If you choose to venture out into the sea of Dystopian novels, then this is the vessel you should hop on board. 8.5 stars.
Yuck, did I just use a boat metaphor? Won't happen again guys!

8 comments:

  1. I loved it as well and reviewed it near the end of November ^_^
    I can't wait till the movie though! :D

    ~Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts

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    1. Cool, I'll be sure to check out your thoughts on it! I can't wait either- it was reassuring for me that the actress cast to play Tris looks somewhat like I imagined her. I hope they do it well- there is so much scope for aesthetics with the film and the look of a dystopian Chicago.

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  2. I was wondering why I hadn't been seeing your posts on my blogger dash!! Google or blogger unfollowed me! D: Great review! (:

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    1. *Shoots evil glare at blogger* sometimes I hate technology! Thanks!

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  3. Great review, Rach!
    I've nominated you for the Liebster Blog Award. Have a look :) http://thebookworldofanne.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/liebster-blog-award_18.html

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    1. Thanks Anne! I'm glad you liked it! I did see your post earlier- very impressive to be nominated for 4 Liebsters!!

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  4. Awesome review Rachel! I'm a huge fan of dystopian novels and this one is easily at the top of my list. I love this series <3

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    1. Thanks Jalyn! I'm on the hunt for Insurgent now but my local library didn't have a copy. Hopefully the library near my parents house will have a copy- I am a member of like 4 libraries now I think!

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