Monday, January 19, 2015

Review: Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth

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, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

I am so glad I finally decided to read this book despite the negative reviews of the final book in this series.

In Divergent, Beatrice is from the Abnegation faction. During the Choosing Ceremony, she decides to switch to Dauntless. Now she must survive the initiation process or else she will become factionless. Surviving Dauntless initiation is difficult enough on its own, but Tris is different and her uniqueness may be an advantage or it could be something that puts her in danger.

This book was even better than I thought it would be. The idea of factions based on values isn't necessarily original, but the portrayal of the people inside the factions does show some complexity. While people do tend to show one of the five faction's traits more than the others, that doesn't mean there isn't a little bit of the other factions in him or her too. Also, dividing people into factions in the hope of maintaining peace is not a super sustainable idea. Some people are just inherently selfish or evil or have so much pride in their abilities and superiority.

The amount of violence in the book made me cringe sometimes, although, since I am a fan of wuxia and action films, it wasn't as disturbing to me as it could have been. There wasn't any unnecessary violence anyway. Everything happened to prove a point.

The characters were all very interesting to me, even the noes I hated with a passion. Jeanine is nuts, though. She's intelligent, sure, but she completely lacks morals. That's the most dangerous kind of intelligence.

Four is quite swoon-worthy, in my opinion. He's smart, brave, and he has a good heart. I really liked Tris, too. I wouldn't go so far as too say she's my spirit animal, but a lot of the choices she made and the thoughts she had were the same reactions I had or would have had/done.

I'm going to start reading Insurgent soon and I hope it's as good as this one.


  1. Tris is tough.
  2. The world-building is terrific.
  3. It shows the complexity of human nature well.


  1. It can be a little violent. 

“Human reason can excuse any evil; that is why it's so important that we don't rely on it.” 

  1. You liked The Hunger Games.
  2. You like strong female characters.
  3. You like books that are practically a study on human nature. 



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