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.
One choice decides your friends, defines your beliefs and determines you loyalties...forever.
Divergent is set in a world that is unrecognisable from our own. The world, the people have changed and they are only capable of limited personalities and accordingly they will choose and live in only one of the five factions.
The five factions are -
Dauntless - The brave
Abnegation - The selfless
Erudite - The intelligent
Amenity - The peaceful
Candour - The honest
While I did have some issues with some elements of Divergent I really liked the character of Tris (Beatrice), she wasn't your typical damsel in distress that seems to plague a lot of the YA dystopian genre. She was determined, strong and still vulnerable all at the same time. I liked her. And she is memorable.
I also dare anyone who reads this not to like Four, the dauntless teacher that will put all the new recruits through their paces and a lot more. And I really enjoyed the part of the book where you learn why he was given the nickname of four. Again he is a character that I will look forward to reading more about as the series continues.
However, as much as I loved some of the main characters a lot of the other characters felt a little underdeveloped and some were little more than a stereotype. Some authors have the knack of really creating a range of strong minor characters and personally I think Veronica Roth just fell short of that.
Throughout the book there were a few scenarios that made me feel uncomfortable when reading them. There was a lot of bullying going on in the dauntless training camp and it was all seen as ok, expected even. For a dauntless it seemed that it was braver not stand up to bullies than to report them for fear people might think you are coward - my personal view just kept shouting WRONG, tell someone, tell anyone don't let that person nearly kill you before you stand up to them. It all just grated on me a bit.
I found it hard to understand the dauntless society it just didn't fit with what the initial explanations behind the creation of the original five factions. Yes the author did try to explain the discrepancies but I felt like it was all glossed over and didn't really get to the heart of the matter, i.e., why a faction that favours bravery has turned more cruel than brave.
I just wasn't convinced by a lot of situations throughout the story and often the characters seemed to act or do the opposite of what I would think of as brave choice.
Again, most of what I didn't like came down to the fact that I thought a lot of the world building aspects were poorly done. There wasn't enough history or explanation why the society developed as it did and I really struggled with understanding why people fit so nicely into one faction or another. It didn't make sense, it made sense for more people to be Divergent. There is a sort of explanation towards the end of the book but it felt tacked on and not completely though through.
There was just too many moments in Divergent that seemed to easily addressed by the author in a very convenient manner. I want more in depth answers. I want more complex world building. I want something more than formulaic relationships. I want something that just isn't ok. I didn't get moat of those things from Divergent.
But, what I did get from Divergent was an entertaining story. And although I may have said some negative things I really did enjoy following the recruits from initiation onwards. Even if some of the sections felt a tad repetitive, as they have to participate in similar tasks more than once.
I do think that this series has potential and I am looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of Insurgent. Hopefully some of the answers and explanations I really needed to like Divergent more will be laid out in Insurgent.
Recommended? Definitely, but just don't expect anything like all the hype surrounding this book suggests.
To sum, reading Divergent was one choice that didn't transform me. I have read so many reviews from people who have loved this book, perhaps my main problem was because I was expecting more. If you do or have read Divergent be sure to let me know what you think.
Genre - YA, dystopian
Published by HaperCollins (2011)
Paperback - 487 pages (£9.99 - £6.99)
Source - I received a copy of Divergent by Veronica Roth from the publishers in exchange for an honest review
REVIEW of INSURGENT coming soon :D