Saturday, February 18, 2012

Review of Divergent by Veronica Roth - 4 stars!

Author: Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent
Series: Divergent #1
Release date: 3rd of May 2011
Published by Harper Collins
Imprint: Katherine Tegen Books
Reading level: FICTION – Young Adult: Dystopian
Pages: 487 in paperback
Source: Purchased

Summary from Goodreads:

In a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.

My review:

I added Divergent to my TBR list almost a year ago, but did not manage to read it in 2011. This is also the reason why this review will be added to my TBR Pile 2012 Challenge.

Last year I was really hesitating to pick it up and start reading and there was a simple reason behind it – it was so hyped up and the reviews were so high and praising, so I did have my suspicions that it will be again one of these books… It was not. I know it is important to read the book yourself before getting any opinions about it. This time reviews did not lie about how good Divergent is. Divergent has its flaws as well, but it did not ruin the pleasure of reading it for me.

Divergent by Veronica Roth was a refreshing read amongst few other YA Dystopian books I have read. I enjoyed the brilliant world which she has created based on different skills people have and interesting characters were captivating. Divergent is a book which you do not want to put away after you started. It was little slow in the beginning, but the pace is picking up quickly and after that I read until I realized that I just finished the book.

The other fact which I was amazed by that the author is quite young herself. It should not surprise me, because lots of talented authors became good writers with their first book, but still. When I started Divergent, I did not do any research about the author prior to reading and after I finished Veronicas’ book I was literally amazed. Veronica Roth is definitely talented author and I hope that the next book in series – Insurgent – is as good as Divergent was. Looking very much forward to Insurgent and this time I will not wait until one year after the publishing!

Regarding the plot:

The reader is introduced into a dystopian world where people are divided into 5 factions - Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). You meet Beatrice/Tris who is about to choose her faction. She has grown up in Abnegation, but being selfless is not exactly what Beatrice is looking for because she is curious, likes to have her own opinion and she is little more rebellion than other people from her faction.

After Beatrice gets 16 she needs to pick a faction. Through the tests she finds out that she is divergent – hence the title of the book –which means that she has parts of all 5 factions hidden in her. Her choice is Dauntless though.

To become part of the Dauntless she needs to get her training and pass the tests and this is pretty much what the book is about. Of course there is much more in this book, but the first part in series dealt mostly with becoming a Dauntless. At the same time, Tris finds out that everything is not as it seems, there are big problems and competition about power between the factions and that brings Tris to quite difficult choices: how to hide that she is divergent which is seen as being dangerous; how to remain invisible together with her impressive test results; how to find out what is going on between Erudite and Dauntless faction; how to know whom to trust; how to understand her love interest Four.

What I was missing in the story was the background and reason why the humanity was divided into these factions? I personally did not understand that. There were some referrals to the society before the factions were created, but it was far from being enough to understand it. I am hoping that next books will bringer a better understanding of the world. Don’t get me wrong – I loved the idea of having these factions and generally I liked the world what Veronica Roth created, but at the very end it did not match up due to lack of the reasoning behind it.

While reading the book and after finishing the book, I was trying to relate myself into these factions, I found out that the number of factions was what disturbed me mostly – I think most of the humans have characteristics from all the 5 factions - plus several other non-existing factions. I think that was probably the challenge for the author too, because you never find purely Dauntless or purely Candor or purely any-kind-of-faction people in real world. It intrigued me yet!

The other thing which I was missing was the late beginning of story development. Despite the fact that I really enjoyed the book, it took too many pages to come to the point and conflict – the problems between the factions, the war between Abnegation and Dauntless. That was also reason behind me saying that the pace was slow in the beginning. It definitely gave some information about Abnegation and the Dauntless, but I wanted to see that conflict coming earlier in the book.

Otherwise, the plot was interesting, filled with action and rarely well written fighting scenes! Besides Divergent being of a dystopian genre, the author really gave a lot of good fighting scenes and action – it blew me away and I loved that!

Regarding the characters:

Let me start with stating that I liked Tris. Yes, she was sometimes immature, sometimes hollow and annoying but boy, she was suitable to the Dauntless. She was what I like to call kick-ass heroine (excuse the language). She was smart, brave, but there was vulnerable side in her which I liked.

When I liked Tris, I loved Four!

There were quite many characters I enjoyed when thinking of the supportive characters. I think Peter (who was actually a bad guy in the story) and Eric (even more twisted bad guy) were fascinating! The author did really well with the bad guys. I was also intrigued by Tris’ family: her mom being from Abnegation, but was born in Dauntless; her brother choosing the Erudite instead of Abnegation; Four’s father – the list would be quite long!

The supportive characters gave a lot to this book! It was definitely an added value to the story.


The idea and the world of Divergent were fascinating. It did have its flaws, but it kept me reading and thinking. It had this magic way of drawing me into this book.

I will definitely read the next book in the series – Insurgent, but Divergent left me with mixed feelings: in one side I loved it for its originality, but on the other side there were important aspects missing, so I will take the average of 3 and 5 – 4 stars.

5 Flowers!

Happy reading!

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