Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Book Review: Divergent

Let it be known that I borrowed this book from my roommate Lauren after weeks of her fangirling about it haha. Anyway, as it is an upcoming movie and the internet seems to be excited about the series, I decided to finally read it.

Here's the blurb:

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.

I am a huge fan of dystopian novels like 1984, Brave New World, The Handmaid's Tale, The Giver, The Hunger Games, etc so I was already in my 'dystopian mindset' while starting this book. Like some other teen fiction, the writing is pretty basic. This can be a good or bad thing depending on your reading preferences. I was a little let down there, but I will admit there were a few scenes that were very well written. 

Let me be honest in saying that it is very slow until about the middle of the book. While I liked the time to get to know the characters, I was waiting and waiting for something big to happen. I had so many questions- about the factions, their world, and being divergent. I was sort of annoyed that they weren't addressed until I was well into the book. How does Roth expect me to understand the danger of being divergent when it isn't explained to Tris, and therefore not to me either?

One aspect that truly stood out was the complexity of the characters. They are definitely not one-dimensional. No character is truly evil or wholly good. While I don't agree with them, I can still understand why the 'bad guys' in this book act the way they do.

As a lover of dystopian novels, I was more concerned with how the world changed, the factions and politics, and the daily lives of the characters rather than focusing so much on the love interest. I know that it is important to have that in a teen fiction novel, but I would have rather read about the factions than how attractive a certain boy was.

All in all, Roth has created a very compelling world that had me reading for hours on end. While her writing style is sometimes lacking, the character's personalities make up for it. I assume that my other questions will be answered in the next two books, which I will definitely be reading.

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