Saturday, February 4, 2012

Divergent, Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth (author website)
Release Date: May 1st 2011 by HarperCollins Australia
Age Group: Young Adult
Genre: Dystopian
My Rating:1 star2 star3 star4 star5 star

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...

From Goodreads:
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:

  1. Divergent
  2. Insurgent (May 1st 2012)
  3. Currently Untitled (expected 2013)

53 comments:

  1. Eeeee! Soooo.... I'm ah, kinda in the same boat as you were Sarah. I've known about Divergant for ages and heard all about it, but I've been kinda putting it off, despite all those great reviews. And it's been sitting on my shelf for about a month now, lol. I LOVED your review though!! So much!! Makes me wanna pick it up straight away and dive into it!! Awesome review!! <3 <3

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    1. Oooh, Rachel, seriously, I was all like 'yeah, yeah, EVENTUALLY', but it's SO good. You won't regret dropping everything else in your life and reading it NOW. PROMISE :D

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    2. I might read it next perhaps. I just started Everneath, but i'd love to read it next if I can make a dent in mt to-review list soon.

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  2. I think I really need to read this one, everyone just love it. I hope it'll be the same the day I'll give it a try. So glad you enjoyed it. it sounds so awesome!

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    1. Melliane, I swear you won't regret it. I'm not even a massive dystopian fan, and I fell CRAZY IN LOVE O__O

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  3. Now I really want to skip the books I'm currently reading and start Divergent! Just a few more days ...

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    1. Oh, seriously--it's AMAZING. I SO hope you love it! <3

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  4. So happy you loved this book! I have still to see a bad review from any of my book blogging friends, and well, if you gave it a bad review I would probably have to stop liking you:P Haha, but seriously, such an amazing book!:)

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    1. RIGHT? Oh my goodness, I was perhaps *slightly* dubious? NOT a massive dystopian fan, but this was just... wow.

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  5. Glad you enjoyed it Sarah :)

    I must admit to being the only person in the entire world who didn't like it though. I loved Four (a LOT!) but that was about it for me! I think the problem was I read it when I was going through a rough patch and I thought a book everybody was raving about would be the perfect read. But it turned out to be too dark for my mood and looking back I think something a bit lighter would have been better *sigh*

    I might try it again another day to see what I think of it when I'm in a better mood! Great review :)

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    1. Ooooh, I'm intrigued! I'm sorry to hear you didn't, but I'm always fascinated when 'buzz books' don't do it for someone. It IS pretty dark.

      If it's any consellation, I didn't really *enjoy* The Hunger Games. Don't get me wrong--I freaking LOVE that book--but when I read it, it freaked me out, and made me miserable. But yeah... I still EFFING LOVE IT XD

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  6. Another person on the Divergent bandwagon :) I'm glad you enjoyed it Sarah. I am so in love with Four. What a cliffhanger ending. Will be great to see where Roth takes this series.

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    1. I know! We might have to make it multi-story bandwagon... like a double-decker bus? Thoughts? It *IS* getting crowded :D

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  7. Oh, I'm so glad you ended up liking it! I did, too, and I'm looking forward to Insurgent. :) Nicely reviewed!

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    1. Eee! Thanks Wendy! That seriously means a lot coming from you--I LOVE your reviews! ♥

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  8. THIS BOOK. I loved it so much! I'm so glad you did, too. Tris was such an awesome heroine. I fell in love with her badassery, and Four's sweetness. Great review! :)
    - Lauren

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    1. Oh my goodness, YES! Tris is a fantastic heroine! So brave and badass! <3 her!

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  9. I STILL haven't read this one. I swear I'm probably the last blogger in the book blogosphere who hasn't! If only I could just lock myself in my room and read all the fun books I want for a few months...THEN maybe I'd catch up!

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    1. NATALIE!!! YOU NEED TO READ THIS. I swear, I'm going to swim across the ocean and forcefully lock you away (I guess the term is: kidnap) until you devour every last page.

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    2. Oooh, Natalie! I'm with Brodie on this one (runs of to Twitter to collude w/Brodie about your kidnapping... I mean, uh... yes)

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  10. You know how I feel about this book. You know how I feel about this review. But I feel the need to repeat myself because ASDHFKGGUHFJLK!!! You make me want to go grab my copy and devour this all over again. Well actually, no. You make me want to go kidnap Veronica and hold her ransom until Harper releases early copies of Insurgent to the world. Because DAMN that book is going to be incredible.

    I love you dig deep and explore every element of the story <3 And I love that you love this almost as much as me (I say almost because I am convinced I'm the number 1 fan). AMAZING REVIEW.

    By the way, what faction are you? I got Dauntless when I took the faction test on the Divergent FB page, but *hides under rock* I'd totally choose Amity!

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    1. Wait... how on EARTH did you comment on a post without me jumping it on immediately and going *stalk stalk stalk*

      I could totally be onboard with this kidnap plan. Give me a time and place.

      Uh... I took the faction test this morning... and got EFFING AMITY. NOT. HAPPY. I don't wanna be uncool :'(
      But there were some questions where I was just like... 'uh, neither'. So I went back and answered another question differently, and got Dauntless... which I was slightly more OK with :D

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  11. I'm glad that you really liked Divergent. It was one of my all time favorites for 2011. I can hardly wait until Insurgent comes out!

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    1. *FLAILS! OMG! YOUR ICON! IS WIN!
      I LOVED this book! Was really surprised! Insurgent! RIGHT? NEED IT NOW. Want to help Brodie and me kidnap Veronica? :D

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  12. OMG, this sounds like a freakin great read. Now it must go into my shopping cart at amazon because I will soon be buying a bunch of books. I always get scared reading Dystopian books because they usually depress me but I am getting use to them now. I love the concept of this book, the seperation into groups. It intrigues me. Great review.

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    1. Oh my goodness, I swear I keep saying this--I KNOW you don't read a lot of YA, but this is GOOOOOD. SO. GOOD.

      And the romance between Tris and Four is just *sigh* ♥♥♥

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  13. Oh wow, I love your review! You basically said everything I thought myself, just in a more awesome way. I absolutely loved it and couldn't understand why I'd ignored it myself for so long!

    I'm so glad she convinced you do read it!!

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    1. Eee! So glad you liked it, too! And I ♥ your reviews, so there :P

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  14. Yay! You liked it! Isn't this book just amazing? I feel like re-reading it again after your review. Which is probably a good idea with Insurgent round the corner. Eeek! :D

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    1. YESSS! Oh, seriously, don't tempt me. I'd drop everything and read it again right now if I could :O

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  15. Fantastic review! I really enjoyed this book and the sequel - I bet - will be as equally as awesome I reckon. Anyway, Four was totally worth the swoony praises . . . oh Four . . . oh Four. haha. And then there's Tris . . . she really grows in this novel from naive/scared to totally badass and brave.

    I noticed Brodie mentioned the fraction test . . . lucky for me I was Dauntless. Hell to my yeah! haha. I think if I were given the choice, I would choose Dauntless like Tris.

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    1. AWWWW! I'm jealous! I just commented above, and I did the Faction test this morning... and got AMITY. WTF? I only picked the cheese, because I'm slightly obsessed with cheese. Is tasty... Hmmm :D

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  16. I'm loving this review :D
    Everything you said is just soo... true! And it was such a PLEASURE to read it along with you. Made it all the more exciting, and fun! xD
    Especially when I'd get ahead and be all... CAN'T WAIT TILL SARAH READS THAT BIT! ... which I'm sure happened for you too! eeeee!

    But I am so glad you liked it too! Great review <33

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    1. EEEEEEEE! Mwaha! YES! OMG! It was so SO fun reading this with you! I've never done a readalong before, and I was like 'OMG! Has she read this?' and twitter spammning you! Sammie, I LOVED your review, BTW. Perfecto xx

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  17. I'm so glad you liked it. I haven't read it yet, but I've read so many good reviews about it (including yours).

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    1. Oh my goodness, MESA! You must read it soon! Can't wait for your review. You WILL love this one. Promise :D

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  18. SO GLAD YOU LOVED THIS!!! This was one awesome book and I regretted the fact that I didn't read it earlier!!!!! I really really want to be in Dauntless but I can't even jump that high like Tris (when she had to jump to get to the Dauntless place?) but anyway, AWESOME REVIEW, Sarah! I am so dying to read INSURGENT!!! Four <3

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    1. Oh goodness, yes, me too. I feel like a moron for not noticing it earlier. It's EXTRAORDINARY.
      You and me can be Amity if you like? I took the faction test this morning, and apparently I"m a farm-lovin' hippie.

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  19. Fantastic review Sarah!! Everytime I see this book I really want to read it..but for some reason I never get it!
    I guess this means I need to read it now :D

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    1. Thank you, Sarah! *hugs*
      I seriously think you'll love this one--I totally judged it by it's cover, but it's AMAZING. You'll love it ♥

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  20. you reviewed it fantastically/ the titles 4 every paragraph/ my fav; 1.2.3.....[genious]
    hoping 2 readit soon
    its free 2 read on harper collins site

    http://browseinside.harpercollinschildrens.com/index.aspx?isbn13=9780062024022

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    1. Hehe! Thanks Roro! It's a FANTASTIC book--you won't regret it. Ooooh! Thank you for the link! ♥

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  21. Oh my gosh, Sarah!! I'm SO SO SO SO incredibly and totally excited that you loved this book like I did! There are so many reasons why it was voted the best book of 2012, and you listed them perfectly! The whole faction idea and Tris and the unpredictability and FOUR. Four, Four, Four, Four! <3

    I absolutely LOVED this review just like I absolutely loved this book, Sarah! Now you have to join the very long line-up of people desperately waiting to get their hands on Insurgent! ;)

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    1. ADHJAFDHGAF! MIMI! I missed your gorgeous comment first time round, but have I mentioned I love YOU?!
      So many reasons why Divergent is AMAZING... oh, having read Insurgent I just can't WAIT for book 2 *dies*

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  22. There must be something in the water because I just finished mocking up my Divergent review. The book finally came in last week and I was through it by the next day. I loved the book but since I've read the amazingly amazing Cinder recently, every book is now compared against that.

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  23. "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."

    let's make that: "Racquel 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." *swoons and dies* FOUR, Y U SO FIIINE?!

    Shallowness and the opposite sex obsession aside, I LOOVED this "intelligence without selflessness; bravery without compassion; honesty without wisdom-" you got it perfectly!

    as much as it kills me to admit this sad truth, but good can't exist without evil. Happiness won't exist without sadness so forcing one single trait will not result in anything good, just the opposite. It will create a much more terrible trait.

    As always, fabulous review:D

    Racquel @ The Book Barbies♥
    -thank you&come again.

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    1. Mwaha! Four is... yes. 'swoon' about sums it up. Thank you thank you thank you Racquel!
      YESSS! It's awful, but it's true: forcing a single trait to the neglect of all others winds up UGLY. I LOVED how Roth tackled it. So subtle and clever and brilliant done. SO in love with Divergent!

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  24. OH MY FOUR. You finally read this. *faints* Amazing, right?! I don't think it's possible not to like this book <3 Great review!

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    1. EXACTLY. Seriously, you'd be mad not to like this Divergent. It's perfection! ♥

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  25. Yes to everything! Like you, I was very reluctant to read Divergent, I'm just not a big dystopian fan. I just didn't see how it could possibly be as brilliant as everyone said. Boy was I wrong?! I was so happy that I was wrong about Divergent. And Four?! Oh wow. Loved him!
    Awesome review!

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    1. YES YES AND YES!
      I SO don't know why I didn't read it... because I actually really *DO* like the cover... I just thought it wasn't for me >___<
      SOOOO glad I read it. It's beyond amazing.

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  26. You know what ? I totally agree with you.. Lately I developed a obssesion for this kind of books.. And when I found out about Divergent I was "meehh , another Hunger Games kind of book" ..Yea , you can slap me.. No , seriosly , this book is amazing and I am so glad that I got to read it..

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  27. This book is centered around society and the characters' positions within the society. Readers will meet some people who they would want to call their friends, and others that make you want to watch your back. The heroine, Beatrice is incredibly strong. Her bravery and commitment take readers on a wild ride.

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