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Sunday, 26 June 2011

Review: Divergent

Author: Veronica Roth

Release date: 28th April 2011 UK
Genre: Dystopia
Target audience: 12+
UK Publisher: HarperCollins

Summary from Amazon:

One choice can transform you. Pass initiation. Do not fail…

Thrilling urban dystopian fiction debut from exciting young author.

In sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior’s world, society is divided into five factions – Abnegation (the selfless), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent) – each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue, in the attempt to form a “perfect society.” At the age of sixteen, teens must choose the faction to which they will devote their lives.

On her Choosing Day, Beatrice renames herself Tris, rejects her family’s group, and chooses another faction. After surviving a brutal initiation, Tris finds romance with a super-hot boy, but also discovers unrest and growing conflict in their seemingly “perfect society.” To survive and save those they love, they must use their strengths to uncover the truths about their identities, their families, and the order of their society itself.


Divergent is an addictive, thrilling novel set in a Chicago of the future. Let’s just start by saying I enjoyed this book so much!

Beatrice is raised in the Faction of Abnegation. The city of Chicago is divided into five Factions each with a different set of beliefs. In essence each faction value one virtue over another. For Abnegation that virtue is selflessness. But when each person reaches the age of sixteen, they can choose to transfer to a different Faction. A choice which will mean they will be cut off from their family forever. The Faction becomes the family of the member and they leave their old life behind.

Beatrice faces this choice. She finds it impossible to follow the selfless ways of Abnegation. She asks questions when the selfless choice is to listen. At school she is mesmerised by the crazy pursuits of the Dauntless. They value bravery over the other possible virtues. But Beatrice is not alone in making her choice. There is an aptitude test which will identify which Faction she belongs in to help her make her decision. But as in life sometimes there is more than one possible answer.

Beatrice’s story grabbed me from the very first page. The problem of the choice was a great hook to get the reader involved in the story. The stakes are set impossibly high: does she choose herself or her family? Once she makes her choice, the story becomes a thrilling chase to the end. There is violence and brutality. There is propaganda and deceit. The society which began with such strong ideals about how to create a fair and equal world for its people begins to break down. If you believe in one virtue over another, there is so much room for prejudice and a belief in your own superiority for choosing that virtue.

The friends that Beatrice made along her journey were also well characterised. I loved the way that Christina had no filter. She would just say whatever popped into her head. Those Candor folks do love their honesty. I keep wondering what my own Faction would be. I think it might be Amity but I guess I’ll have to wait and see as we didn’t get to see so much of them. How can any review not mention Four? I just adored his character. You know how I love those tortured souls.

I have several questions which I hope will be answered in future books. But the main one is this: Is the fence to keep the Factions in or some other dark force out? Either way, I am really eager to read the next book. I haven’t been in a dystopian mood lately but Divergent was as much a thrilling adventure as it was an exploration of a corrupted future society. I highly recommend it!

Thank you to HarperCollins for sending the book to review.

Read for the Debut Author Challenge 2011


MC Rogerson said...

Great review! I've only heard good things about this book so far. It's now on the must-read pile.

Jesse Owen said...

Great review, I loved Divergent too - can't wait to the next one :D

Caroline said...

Ooh that one sounds interesting :)
I have been a bit cautious with dystopians recently as I feel they're a bit today's vampires and paranormal romance...
But you are convincing me!