Author: Veronica Roth (author website)
Release Date: May 1st 2011 by HarperCollins Australia
Age Group: Young Adult
Look, I have a confession to make: I’ve known about Divergent for months, and I’d intentionally ignored it. I saw the cover and thought it looked... I don’t know. Like action? Wasn’t interested. Then someone had to go and rave about it, and ignoring it was no longer an option (it was an eminently convincing rave). There’s nothing Divergent doesn’t offer: high stakes, intrigue, action, romance and characters I’ve fallen in love with. Putting this book down at 3 in the morning to sleep is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Sound good? You have no idea, and I’m just getting started...
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.
Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.
In a dystopian future, society has divided into five factions, who co-exist in peace. At an appointed time, all sixteen year olds choose the faction with whom will align themselves for life: Erudite (the intelligent), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless) or Dauntless (the brave). The faction they choose will dictate their behaviour, their future, and possibly cut them off from their family. To live factionless is to be cut off, drifting, unwanted, and not a life at all.
Beatrice Prior is sixteen. Her time to choose has come. Renaming herself Tris, she leaves her family, joins her new faction, and starts the terrifying and competitive training that will shape her future. But danger surrounds her on all sides. Tris worries about Faction unrest, one of her fellow initiates is a psychopath, and the life she’s chosen may just get her killed...
Tris:Selfless, brave and intelligent, Tris is an extraordinary character. Faced with more or less sanctioned threats to her life and sanity as part of her training, Tris doesn't just survive, she thrives. She learns to stand up for and protect herself, and question who she is and wants to be. Despite growing up meek, she’s a fighter, and she grows into her strengths over the course of Divergent. She has backbone, and she has self respect. I loved this girl. She's the perfect balance between action-chick, brains and heart.
One, Two, Three...Enter Four. Tris’ enigmatic trainer, Four is tough, fascinating, and... kind of scary. But despite an intimidating outer shell, Four is layered, his character nuanced, and he has depths we slowly begin to see as he and Tris grow closer. I loved the humour and Tris and Four shared, and the level the (sometimes) seem to 'get' each other one. The chemistry Four and Tris share is electric. A living, sparking thing that consumed whole scenes, pages and chapters. Tris has never so much as kissed a boy and each of Four’s touches are new, exciting, and hold an intensity and heat that I swear wouldn’t be out of place in an adult romance, but are never being graphic.
Absolutely Absolute:Divergent presents a rather chilling picture of what humans are really capable of. When a single trait is prized and cultivated in isolation from all others--intelligence without selflessness; bravery without compassion; honesty without wisdom--values which do make up the best of humanity are taken to extremes and become ugly, twisted, perverted things. You remove any selflessness from intelligence, and you wind up with greed for power, knowledge, and corruption.
You've heard the phrase 'absolute power corrupts absolutely', but Divergent posits that absolutism itself is the danger. The world in which Tris lives tried to eradicate war by cultivating the best of mankind. This worked for a long time, but ultimately, it relies on an expectation of innate goodness in human nature... A nice idea, but no one--not even 'good' people--are black and white, and Tris' world is filled with people who are most definitely grey--many of those she loves included. Tris is starting to see cracks form in her world. Tiny hairline fractures that could topple the whole structure. It's a dangerous time to live in the world of Divergent.
The Verdict:Exciting, terrifying and completely and utterly captivating, Divergent had me sold from the get go. I shared Tris’ excitement as she joined her new faction and began to learn and understand her new way of life, and herself. I also shared her fear and trepidation when people began to show their true natures, and learns her world is not as safe as it seems. Despite a society that has come to value one defining trait over all others, and requires people to act within the parametres of it, we begin to see other aspects of the characters in Divergent... and it’s often scary seeing what some of them are hiding behind their outward show of faction loyalty.
I’m often left rattled by dystopians, as I see a possible future for our own world. While this is not necessarily the case in Divergent, I see so much of our world already in it. Wars started by lust for power, greed, misunderstanding. Media games and manipulations motivated by politics. The lengths people will go to prosper themselves. The world Veronica Roth has built is vivid, real and frightening, and despite turning the final page on Divergent, it’s still with me, quite literally haunting my dreams (goodness I'd like a good night's sleep). 3D characters I care about, a surprisingly electric romance, stunning betrayals and stakes so high they threaten to topple an entire civilisation, Divergent is not to be missed.
BIG LOVE to the fabulous Sammie for the read along. Amazing books? EVEN MORE AMAZING with amazing company xx
Books in This Series:
- Insurgent (May 1st 2012)
- Currently Untitled (expected 2013)