“One choice can transform you” reads the cover of Divergent, and already I was sucked in.
Divergent is a dystopian young adult novel set in future-Chicago where human kind has divided itself into five factions (so not quite four houses of Hogwarts, but close enough): the Dauntless (the brave), Candor (the honest), Amity (the peaceful), Erudite (the intelligent), and Abnegation (the selfless). Beatrice, the protagonist, is born into Abnegation, and at sixteen she must choose whether to stay with her family in Abnegation or to be true to herself.
Time to read: one night (and that was even though–or maybe because–I should be preparing for exams)
What makes this book great:
The idea itself is amazing. Roth makes it easy to believe that this is our future. I could immediately put myself into the setting and wonder what would I do if I was Beatrice? What would I choose: blood or faction?
Beatrice is a strong female protagonist, but she’s not perfect. Yes, there is a romance, but it doesn’t detract from Beatrice’s strength. In fact, it adds to it.
Speaking of romance, I haven’t fallen in love with a male character so quickly since St Clair in Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss. And the scenes between them are completely swoon-worthy.
What could be improved on:
You can tell this is a debut book because there was something lacking in the writing style. It felt awkward at places or drawn out, but I was reading so quickly I hardly noticed.
Also, it was a Mockingjay of death: some of them just felt pointless and by the end you hardly realize that someone else had died or didn’t really care. This could easily be solved by what I like to think of as a Deathly Hallows approach. Make the reader care about the character before you kill them. Not easy to do in one book, but if the reader doesn’t care the death doesn’t have a strong an effect as it could.
Novels with similar aspects:
The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
The Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld
Recommended to those searching for the next dystopian novel and who enjoy cliffhangers (Insurgent won’t be out until May 2012).
Not recommended to those who can’t handle
eye violence and suicide.
Already read Divergent? Check out the discussion post here.