Released on: May 4th, 2011
Published by: Katherine Tegen books
Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, 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 to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating 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 a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.
Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.
1. (+) Tris, the Protagonist - Even when Tris is doing something that's kind of vicious, I was still rooting for her. Maybe it's because she's small and from the most hated faction, and I love cheering for the underdog. Or maybe it's because she's tough and doesn't break despite the shit she has to endure, and I wish I had that sort of fire and courage. Or maybe it's just everything about her--her view of the world, the way she develops and matures, etc. Tris is a strong female protagonist that readers will love.
2. (+) The Story Idea - This sort of reminds me of Harry Potter and how people would sort themselves into different houses, but the idea of separating society based on virtues is still fascinating to me, and something to which I think everybody could relate. And I could see how such a society could quickly lose sight of what its original goals were. Roth did a good job developing this.
3. (+) Twists and Turns - Let's just say I was surprised by some things. And I couldn't stop reading Divergent (which brings me to my next point...).
4. (+) The Writing/Pacing - The writing is simple and beautiful, which makes the pacing of the book appropriate. I worried that since it's close to 500 pages, it would be a slow read but not at all! It was an engrossing story.
5. (+) Novel Feels Complete - I hate it when novels end on cliffhangers. Granted, this has a cliffhanger in that you don't really know what happens next, but that's to be expected with a dystopian novel (shit happens, society falls apart, etc.). When I say Divergent feels complete, I mean that this novel could stand-alone and it would still be one of my favorite reads of 2011.
6. (+) The Romance - Sometimes I take issue with YA novels that have characters that fall in love easily... but this isn't easy. Tris and her romantic interest face their fears together and (Tris especially) have everything they've known challenged. It's believable and endearing. I loved that the her romantic interests likes Tris for her--not because she's pretty but because she's fierce and independent. I also loved that Roth didn't completely describe the romantic interest--just a few things about him. And thank God, he's not one of those extraordinarily beautiful boys.
7. (+/-) The Villains - Some of the villains were believable and compelling, but the issue I had was that they had seemed to have the same flaw--a competitive nature that led them to be scared of losing their power. I wish they were a tad more developed beyond that, but Roth does make the reader sympathize more with Tris because of them.
8. (+) Flawed Characters - I think that the story idea also allowed for Roth to create such flawed characters, which, in my opinion at least, makes them much more interesting, realistic, and compelling.
9. (+/-) Other Characters - At the same time, I wasn't all that attached to the other characters. I think that this is because I was siding so strongly with Tris that when she questioned whether or not Christina or Will were her friends, I did too. And I also nursed a grudge against them. This also speaks of the excellent writing in this book--that the reader is so able to slip into Tris's world. Perhaps the other characters will redeem themselves in later books.
10. (+) The Cover - For a dystopian novel, I think this cover was just the right fit. A simple symbol of the faction that she questions and loves at the same time. Anything more would've probably not represented Tris's character very well.
This has become one of my favorite reads of 2011. Can't wait for the rest of the trilogy to be published!!
[It was also one of my WoWs. Definitely well worth the purchase :).]