To give the group a chance to read different books (and more frequently), the Super Reviewers are doing smaller, but still as super reviews on other books. One such review is this one. But the rules are still the same, where we:
- share several points of views
- use a handful of paragraphs
- take down one big, bad book
Today we’re starting with a review of Veronica Roth’s Divergent.
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, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
See what we think, and then see what you think. If you’ve already read the book, we’d love to hear swhat you think. Hell, if you haven’t and you think you might, you can share that, too.
Holly Addictive is the best way to describe Divergent. I read it in one day, glued to Veronica Roth’s tale like a desperate crack addict glued to the trail of her next hit.
Roth’s characterisations are, perhaps, overly simplistic, but the heroine Tris is far less annoying than most young adult heroines, so I’m choosing to ignore any lack of depth. The romance story is quite predictable, but not in a bad way. Tris’ love interest is the most interesting of the characters, and I hope to see his background fleshed out more in the sequel. I loved the dynamic between him and Tris, who both alternate between moments of strength and vulnerability, and care and protection of each other as the story progresses.
Roth doesn’t get too caught up in setting descriptions, yet while I’ve never been to Chicago, I now have a perfect image of what it will look like in the future, should the premise of Divergent come to pass. The action and pace was brilliant. Usually I struggle reading stories in the present tense, but Roth carried it flawlessly and proved that, when done well, writing this way really can pull the reader right into the action.
The premise of the story initially takes some suspension of disbelief, but soon becomes an interesting extension and discussion of the way society insists on boxing and categorising individuals. The story becomes a lovely refusal to accept such categories, a call to individuality, and an acceptance of difference. Weirdly, however, this acceptance of difference extends to the story’s metaphorical categorisations only. In a contemporary sense, the characterisations within Divergent are very mainstream. The idea that people should be praised for individuality or difference does not extend to any real or significant concepts outside the dystopian premise. While I love the discussion created by Roth, had it been followed through a little further, I believe this book could have been truly amazing. Equally, I find it a little strange that it didn’t go that bit further. It would have been so simple, and made so much more sense.
Certainly, Divergent could have been a whole lot better, it could have been totally awesome. But criticisms aside, Divergent is still the most exciting and enjoyable Young Adult fiction novel I’ve read in a long while. I freakin’ loved it.
Jalisa Upon first picking up Divergent, I was struck by the familiarity of the novel as far other YAs springing out from publishers these days, because let’s face it: dystopians are in. But as Marta Acosta (author of DARK COMPANION) pointed out, we’re getting a lot of broken societies without a lot of explanation as to why they are broken, or how they got that way.Unfortunately Divergent doesn’t really break from the pack in that respect.We get some vague explanation as to unrest and perhaps war in this society and then as a result the factions we learn about throughout the book, but there’s no solid line from point A to point B.
And while Divergent doesn’t do that, Roth does do a great job of creating an interesting world for us to visit, even if it’s not terribly detailed. Her characters are worth caring for, though they’re not overly intricate, and Tris—the main character—is not the typical vapid heroine twisting in the wind and waiting for circumstance to work her way. No, Tris’ problem is that she doesn’t know when to back down, even if her life is in danger. But I loved that about her. I could and did root for her throughout the entire novel.
I loved (and re-read and simpered over) her chemistry with Four, main love interest. It had all the spark and awkwardness all first, exciting loves have and I enjoyed following along, though we knew at the end of the day they would end up together. I loved that Roth broke the book up into the stages of choosing and joining a faction, and while I thought the book was overly long for its content, I didn’t mind staying longer in this world. I thought it was nice to see Roth toy with the idea of what makes a good society and that it much of it comes down to the individual; I hope to see her go deeper into this throughout the series.
The ending seemed a bit abrupt, but I’ll be happy to pick up the second book when I get a moment. A great YA read—I recommend to teens and adults alike.