Oct 17, 2013

Review: Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, 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 alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating 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 unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

From Goodreads

Knowing that you don't belong with the family that raised you is one thing; choosing another family is a whole other thing entirely. That's essentially the dilemma that Beatrice Prior is faced with on her selection day. By choosing another faction than the one she was raised in, the newly named Tris faces untold perils. If she fails the initiation process for her new faction, she will be factionless & forced to live on the streets. Determined to find out just who and what she really is, Tris forges ahead in her initiation process. With untold perils lurking around every corner, Tris must decide who she trusts, who her enemy is, & just how she really feels about a particular person. Her decisions have consequences she can't even begin to imagine.

Naturally I'm late to the party on reading this book. I fall into one of two categories when it comes to popular books: either I read it before it became popular or I avoid it like the plague until a lot of the hype dies down just so I can say I read it. I'm glad I waited to read this book. While I'm sure it would have been awesome to fangirl with other readers when this was first gaining steam, I am able to basically binge read by reading Divergent, Insurgent, & Allegiant which comes out NEXT WEEK!! :)

I dove in head first during a 13 hour ride home to North Carolina. The beginning of the book was a bit slow since there was a lot of information to cover. The world building is fairly simple since it so closely resembles our present world. Set in a near-future Chicago, the book moves at a quick pace. I think only a few weeks have passed from beginning to end, and considering just how much happens in those few weeks it was amazing.

The writing style was much to my liking as it gave you just enough detail to give you the picture, but still left room for you to imagine some of the details yourself. It was also a good mixture of action & storytelling. While not an action-driven story, Divergent provides you with more than enough interactions to keep your heart-pumping and your mind-racing.

While the premise may seem overdone (girl with something special about her has to navigate her way through several tricky situations) I think this book gives us a different view on strength & self-sacrifice. Tris is not your "average" teenager. She's actually smaller and more often than not extremely underestimated. I think this is a type of character that isn't seen in this kind of role very often and I think that, if nothing else, makes it worth the read. Also, she screws up all the time (like a normal person) but learns from it and moves forward. That's something that I think everyone can learn from Tris.

I'll have my review of Insurgent (Divergent #2) up soon, but for now enjoy the teaser trailer for Divergent, due in theaters in 2014.

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