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Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, 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 to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating 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 a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

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Challenge: 2011 Debut Author Challenge Next: T.B.A. 

Another phenomenal, mind-blowing dystopian addition to YA lit that I was fortunate enough to read! The premise, the characters, the story line, everything about DIVERGENT hooked me! I was slightly intimidated and put off by the page length - I didn't want to be bored or pulled through a terribly slow-paced story. I was so wrong. Even when the action wasn't happening, I was learning something fascinating, be it the factions, the people, society itself - it didn't matter which. I was, quite simply, stunned.

This world Roth transported me to is dark and gritty and, to me, extraordinary in its contrast to the society I live in now. I was astonished at every turn, at how monumental, life-altering decisions are placed on the shoulders of teenagers, at how callous some of the families of these teenagers, some of the factions could be, at how in a single moment one could be factionless and that decides that one's life will be horrible and meaningless. It was brutal and painful, and heart-wrenching for me to witness. I myself am an adolescent and I don't think I would've lasted a single second in the face of some of the challenges these particular adolescents face, i.e. the initiation process. And that evoked a well of sympathy from me for not just the characters, but everyone living there. And while I wanted to tear it all down, scream at the strangeness of it all, I loved learning every detail about this place. Roth coaxed me into delving inside and I found that it was nearly impossible to prevent total absorption. It was all so very intriguing!

This story is epic, with a heroine that fits beautifully. I have a massive girl-crush on Beatrice, later Tris.  Like I really wish I was her. I admire her strength, her willpower, and her bravery. I was rooting for her all the way through. And I knew that she would shine in the faction that she chose, impressing me as she impressed her faction peers and leaders. Tough is a poor, inadequate definition of her character. A word like hardcore strikes me as an excellent substitute. She's quick, she's smart, and, eventually, a great ass-kicker! She's worthy of being idolized! I think everybody should have a little bit of Tris in them.

And although Tris is my favorite character, besides Four, I adored the other characters as well. They all really grew on me. I noticed that easily, how I hated the villains and loved the good guys, really fell for the characters or despised them. The fact that they pulled that kind of emotion out of me, the fact that they didn't just get my attention but lured me further into the book with their personalities, says a lot about what kind of writer Roth is - and that would be exceptional. The characters meant something to me, made me feel something and I was dazzled by that alone. But, Christina drew me in with her loyalty and her undeniable, rather prominent fluency in sarcasm, Will with his agile mind and quick wit, Al with his sensitivity and ability to draw out sympathy from me, as well as the other minor characters with their addictive daring personalities.

And Four, Tris's love interest, definitely takes the cake. He's gorgeous (at least in my imagination), and utterly delectable in his seriousness. But, what really made me fall for this guy is the fact that I really got to know him, just as Tris did. And seeing that he's intelligent and savvy, secretive yet open, caring but guarded, brave while frightened, tough and, beneath all of that, vulnerable, made him feel like a real person - relatable and lovable. I loved watching Four and Beatrice grow more and more attracted and aware of one another. And while it was obvious to me that they are in love, it isn't realized by this pair until much later, making it all the sweeter. Refreshing. All that time in between is a slow, delightful journey into love, one that made me frustrated and furious, blush and swoon, and eventually sigh all love-struck like as if I was the one doing the falling. It was wonderful and genuine and exciting, yet it didn't take away from the overall issue that needed to be combated. Hence the epicness.

And then nearing the ending so many emotions surfaced - a sadness for so many of the characters that brought me to tears a few times, empowerment in regards to Beatrice, hope for the survivors of the other factions and for the relationship between Four and Tris, finishing with an overwhelming anticipation for what's to come. I couldn't put this book down. I shouted, cried, laughed, smiled, and cheered. I am mega-fortunate to have indulged in such an amazing book, one everyone should give a go! Without a doubt, one of my favorite reads. I don't think it's possible for anyone to be disappointed with DIVERGENT.

Some of my anger has faded, but it isn't hard to call back. All I have to do is think about how cold the air was and how loud the laughter was. Look at her. She's a child.
Molly stands across from me.
"Was that a birthmark I saw on your left butt cheek?" she says, smirking. "God, you're pale, Stiff."
Molly starts toward me and throws her weight into a punch. As her body shifts forward, I duck and drive my fist into her stomach, right over her bellybutton. Before she can get her hands on me, I slip past her, my hands up, ready for her next attempt.
She's not smirking anymore. . . (172)

"Why is your heart racing, Tris?"
I cringe and say, "Well, I. . ." I search for an excuse that doesn't involve his arms being around me. "I barely know you."Not good enough. "I barely know you and I'm crammed up against you in a box, Four, what do you think?"
"If we were in your fear landscape," he says, "would I be in it?
"I'm not afraid of you."
"Of course you're not. But that's not what I meant..."
He stands in front of me. He's grinning, and I'm not sure I like the look in his eyes.
"Maybe you were cut out for Candor," he says, "because you're a terrible liar." (327)


Small Review said...

You make this book sound so good! I've been wanting to read it anyway, but oh wow, the way you describe Tris and Four, both as separate characters and their slow burn romance, I CANNOT wait to read it now! Thank you!

Small Review said...

Oh, is this a standalone or part of a series? Is there a cliffhanger?

A. Knight said...

Series, definitely. (I'm glad of it, too.) And I wouldn't say it ended in a cliffhanger. There's more to come, for sure, but it didn't end abruptly or anything like that. I was more than satisfied with it. I hope that helps!

nea barabea said...

Asher you were so so SO RIGHT!! God I finished it like 5 minutes ago! OMG OMG! This book is amazing!