Review: Divergent – Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #1
Publication Date: May 3, 2011
Author Website | Goodreads | Amazon

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.

For a long time I’ve been aware of Divergent and have been seeing the copious amounts of praise it gets. I have no idea why, but I just never felt the pull to read it. The announcement of the book being made into a movie jumpstarted my want to read it… and boy, I’m glad I did.

I’m not going to lie: when I first started reading Divergent I wasn’t exactly sold on it. I even started to dislike it at one point because it was so full of fighting and… bleck. I thought it would never end. The fighting wasn’t the problem, just the amount of it. It cleared a bit eventually and I moved on. If you don’t like books with fighting/combat/war or the like then you might want to move on from this one. It doesn’t take over the book, but it does play a very important part in the overall story.

With that rough patch aside, I was very impressed with the plot of Divergent. Obviously, the idea of a divided society isn’t anything new, but I don’t know that I’ve read anything where the characters are divided by mannerisms, characteristics, or personality in general. It’s interesting to think about where you would end up in that type of society. As a whole this book caused me to do a lot of critical thinking. Where would I end up? What would I do in XYZ situation? How would I react to XYZ? I honestly have no answers for any of those questions, which serves to show the strength of the characters in this book and most importantly, Beatrice (Tris), who had to make important decisions like that everyday.

Tris goes through a lot in the span of Divergent. She left her family, was constantly harassed and assaulted, and tested all the time alongside all the other Dauntless initiates. She was trying to find herself, but at the same time she already knew herself and her boundaries. I really liked how even when she was doing something she normally wouldn’t have done she still knew and kept in touch with who she was and how far she was willing to go. Tris was transformed into a major risk-taker by the end of the book and I loved it. Even when she was screaming inside she managed to think clearly and just get things done. I have a lot of respect for Tris, but still… I don’t know if I quite like her. I’m more neutral.

I really liked the role fear took in this book. Dauntless people are supposed to be brave and willing to go running into trouble when no one else is. They’re fearless, but not technically without fear. The Dauntless go through a ton of training to learn to control their fears, so throughout the book we get little glimpses of what certain characters were afraid of. I was impressed with Veronica Roth’s thought on the subject. There were common fears (heights, significant people in a person’s life, etc.) that totally made sense, but also random things that seem completely irrational to most people–like the fear of an insect or a totally unlikely situation happening. I loved how realistic it made the characters and give major kudos to Roth for even having the imagination to think of these things.

For the most part I really enjoyed Divergent. It stood up to the hype and kept me engaged the whole way through. I have some lingering questions, but hopefully they’ll be answered in the next book. This is definitely worth the read, but of course you’ve probably read it and know that already.

Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Reviews from the rest of the series:
Insurgent (#2)


14 thoughts on “Review: Divergent – Veronica Roth

  1. I feel pretty similarly about the book, though I may not have liked as much as you (though I do like it). I think you made a good point, how the fighting seemed to overwhelm the first book. If you haven’t read the second book yet, you might want to pretty soon because I spent the whole time during the first book trying to keep straight a lot of characters introduced in the first book that I apparently didn’t remember. I feel pretty neutral about Tris too… don’t love her or hate her, and that didn’t change after the second book. My expectations are a little higher for the third book after the second book ended, because it looks like we’re finally going to learn more about how/why the factions were formed, and I care way more about that the faction war or Tris and Four or most other things happening.

    1. Thanks for the heads up. I was thinking about taking a break between books, but I might as well keep going while I still have everything fresh in my mind. Now that I think about it… it’ll prepare me for the third book too.
      I think I forgot to mention that in my review. I really wished we had learned more about why their world is all split. Like, yeah, the book said it was because everyone was disagreeing about everything, but I need more. Haha.

  2. Actually, you’re not the last person on Earth to read this book. I still haven’t gotten around to this series, but after constant “You must read this!” messages I finally bought the book – just haven’t gotten around to reading it yet! Glad to see another good review though!

  3. I’ve read it a few months ago because everybody kept telling me how great it is and how I HAVE to read it and they weren’t wrong! This book was very good and kept me interested from the beginning to the end. I liked Tris a lot and adore her strength and fearlessness. I also liked the writing style, which was very fluent and easy to read.
    Like you, I had an issue with the fights. There were too much of them for my taste! I am more into romance than action-packed fights.

    I am really glad you enjoyed this book! Great review and thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    Sapir @ Diary of a Wimpy Teen Girl

  4. I’m definitly going to have to read this soon! I had kept putting it off, but I’ve heard so many great things about it! How you described Tris and the Dauntless seems really fascinating, as does the fact that you said it made you do a lot of critical thinking! 🙂 Loved the review!

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

    1. Thank you! Yeah, this book had me thinking A LOT. Mostly just because you have to wonder where you would end up. Not where you WANT to end up, but where you honestly would fit in. You know?

  5. I’m really glad that you loved this book, it’s personally one of my favorites all time! I loved the whole construction of dystopian setting as well as all the characters. ;D I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t picked up the second book yet, I haven’t even bought it, but I constant remind myself that it’s soon time to do so, haha 😀

    Great review! ❤ I adore your blog, the design is so beautiful, and your reviews are honest 😀 I'll be following you on bloglovin as well 😀 Finally more good book reviewers in this society 😀

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