Divergent

(Divergent #1)
by Veronica Roth

Divergent CoverIn the future, people are sorted into a lifestyle. Based on an aptitude test, where a person came from, or desire to embrace another life, a person can commit themselves to a life of selflessness, bravery, honestly, education or harmony. The selected faction becomes more important than family – it becomes a person’s everything.

Which is why Beatrice’s inconclusive aptitude test and indecision about where she belongs is so problematic. And dangerous.

I have wanted to read Divergent for a really long time. You all know I love a good dystopian novel (I am tossing around the idea of doing the Occasional Dystopian of the Month. Up for debate.), and Divergent did an excellent job of kick-starting my reading habit again.

When it comes to dystopian novels (and fantasy/SF, for that matter), one of the most important elements to me is the world building. When specifically dealing with dystopians, I also think the world building is better if I understand how present-day society evolved into the future society the author is presenting. Roth did quite well the world building, providing excellent descriptions of the various factions and who populates them. I’m not sure I fully understand why society decided to split into factions, but I loved the nods to present-day Chicago as it crumbles and decays.

Divergent is commonly compared to The Hunger Games and, in this case, I think there’s a validity to the claims. There was actually a moment late in the book when I thought Beatrice was about to do something exactly like Katniss and I was pre-outraged. Luckily, Roth put Beatrice on her own path and the outrage was stopped immediately. Ultimately, I think Divergent stands on its own, only sharing common themes and ideas with THG.

Beatrice, or Tris, was an engaging character. I loved her struggle to understand who she is, where she came from and what she wanted to be. (Another thing that good dystopians do well is showing basic struggles are still the same.) I also wanted to stand and applaud Roth for taking an entire novel to develop a romance, instead of a single chapter (or page)(or paragraph). It was so very refreshing.

I’m very much looking forward to the second book in the trilogy, which comes out in just a few months. I highly recommend Divergent as a fast-paced, interesting take on the future.

Where this book came from: my very own bookshelf
Published by: Katherine Tegen Books

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