Author: Veronica Roth
Hardcover, 487 pages
Published May 3rd 2011 by Katherine Tegen Books
"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." - publisher's description
I just finished reading the book Divergent, and trust me when I say that this is and will be the next huge thing in young adult fiction and more than likely there will be a film, and in a year or so it will be everywhere, not quite like the Hunger Games but close. (Why can’t you buy stock in books? I’d be rich!) So do me a favor and jump on the bandwagon now so we can have it to ourselves for a little while longer. (Except not really as it was voted Goodread’s “favorite book of 2011”.) I’ll start with my one primary criticism and that is that it's a little too similar to the Hunger Games in several respects. That being said, she is an excellent writer and the characters, the plot pacing, the vivid and detailed descriptions that she sneaks in unexpectedly, and overall theme of the book are all her own. So she was clearly inspired by the Hunger Games, so what? I didn’t find myself irritated by it and in fact, didn’t think about the similarities too much until the end of the book (to be fair, I read the Hunger Games over three years ago so it’s not as fresh in my mind). The book critic in me could point out a few others things but I won’t because the book lover in me is too in love with the characters and well, there’s the review in a nutshell.
Tris (Beatrice) is a strong female protagonist which is always refreshing to read and what I loved most about the book is her tremendous growth as a character throughout the story. You are right beside her as she makes difficult choices, learns the consequences, makes and loses friends, deciphers who her enemies are and who really has her best interests at heart, and you are there as she feels the ache of growing up and realizing her own naivety. She asks questions concerning what is selfless and what is selfish, the truth behind acts of bravery, the difference between necessary and senseless acts of violence, how mankind can twist what seems good, and what kinds of people it takes for a society to function in a fair and prosperous manner to all.
There is definitely some romance and watching it develop is a lot of fun and happens more naturally than in many other young adult books. The dynamic between them is refreshing as they support and challenge each other and are attracted out of mutual respect for one another, not something I can say for most YA books either. If I were way less mature and perhaps still in my teens I would say I had a mad crush on the love interest but, ahem, that’s simply not the case.
Every character is multi- dimensional with something else simmering beneath the surface and readers can only guess at how that will play out. As typical with this brand of dystopian fiction, it’s a gritty futuristic world she’s created, tragedy does eventually strike, and you’ll find that Tris is almost too tough to be relatable but you root for her nonetheless. The plot pacing is fantastic so be prepared to stay up all night finishing this one. Something I would never do, but you might. *Yawn*
Conclusion: 4 stars starts out of 5*. Let go of comparisons to the epic Hunger Games and enjoy. You’ll get attached to Veronica Roth’s characters fairly quick and find yourself lost in this page turner and in a voice that is all her own. When you hit the end you’ll want to run to your computer to search when the sequel comes out. Let me save you the trouble:
Insurgent hits shelves May 1st, 2012. What is today’s date again? Aw, man.
Favorite Quotes (without giving anything away)
“He told me once to be brave, and though I have stood still while knives spun toward my face and jumped off a roof, I never thought I would need bravery in the small moments of my life. I do.”
- Tris from Divergent
“Becoming fearless isn't the point. That's impossible. It's learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it.” - Tris from Divergent
* a note about my rating system, when reviewing young adult fiction I compare it to other young adult books and not, to say, timeless literature. That being said, I am not downing this genre in any way, as a good book is just a good book and good writer is just a good writer.
Has anyone else read this? I need to discuss!
Tell me your thoughts!