Monday, July 11, 2011
Divergent, by Veronica Roth- Review
Now amazing as it might sound, I'd heard about Divergent long before the buzz began from a co-worker who was taking a library studies course and had gotten it at the OLA back in early February. We were at a staff meeting and she leaned over and asked if I'd seen or heard anything about this new book called Divergent yet. I had not, so she gleefully told me she loved it and that it was "totally the next Hunger Games". Sadly she was rarely at work (because of her course), so I never got to borrow it and had to wait to buy it like everyone else.
In another stroke of rare good luck I happened to win a copy during one of the epic blog hops this spring, from a blogger who's email I've misplaced and can no remember her name (shame on me!). So all I was lacking was the time to sit down and read it, which the the bike accident kindly provided, as I could do little else but sit and read.
Divergent is the first part in a three part dystopian series which follows the trials and tribulations of Tris as she comes of age, has to pick a faction and then has to live or die by her decision. Her world is split into five factions: Candor (who honor honesty above all else), Abnegation (who honor selflessness above all else), Dauntless (who honor bravery above all else), Amity (who honor peace above all else), and Erudite (who honor learning above all else). Between discovering she's a mysterious divergent, learning to live a new life, surviving initiation, and falling for the boy, you would think she has her hands full, but Tris also uncovers a maniacal plot against her very way of life. This has two sequels after all.
Although a book involving many a breathtaking daredevil antic, and of course the pain that can come from them, is not the first thing I would have read to distract myself from my scary and very painful fall, Divergent was never the less completely engrossing. I wouldn't say two and a half hours in the emergency room and X-Rays flew by, I was really hurt people, but it certainly went much faster than I would have thought.
Tris was a fairly likable character, a bit out of character ruthless in some instances, but likable (IE-I didn't love her). This story has been compared to The Hunger Games a great deal, and I have to say that Roth's mistake may have been not making Tris more of a loaner like Katniss. Oddly her friendships were what seemed to shine on her dis-favorably to me, somehow in comparing against them she seemed more ruthless then a likable character aught to be. Which is weird as it's a cut throat competition she's in so it should be totally acceptable she's ruthless. I'm thinking if Peeta and some other group of kids were hanging on Katniss throughout the games it may have made me feel similarly about her, but Collins was very good about keeping her largely on her own for the first book so you could fall for her and forgive her instinct for survival later down the line.
Four, the sometimes love interest, was the character who stole the story for me. The mysteries surrounding him, and his slow reveal was truly one of the most captivating parts of the story and he was by far my favorite person in the group. I was almost a little disappointed he wasn't the main character. I can only hope he holds up as the story progresses in book 2.
There are some excellent twists and surprises through out about Tris's family, Four (though part of that one I saw coming), the factions and of course the mysterious divergents. Between the plot twists and the daredevilry, the story caught me unawares when it took a political left right at the end. Although I'm excited to see more of another faction I hope it doesn't mean the loss of the Dauntless flavour of Divergent. Book 2- Insurgent, has a title but no release date as of yet, but you can bet I'll be eager to get my hands on it and see where this story is going when it shows it's face at a book store near me.
Divergent, by Veronica Roth
Published by Harper Collins, May 2011
Veronica Roth's website
Buy Divergent on Amazon
Read the first 100 pages first!