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Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Published: February 2012
Length:  487 pages
Source: Received for review from the publisher through Netgalley
I should probably preface this review by saying I haven’t read The Hunger Games trilogy. I mention this because I’ve heard time and time again that Divergent is a little too similar to The Hunger Games. Now in terms of Divergent, I have mixed feelings… So the premise of this book is that basically a war broke out, and to restore peace factions were created. These are basically groups each based on a virtue:
⦁ Candor is based on honesty
⦁ Dauntless on bravery
⦁ Amity on peacefulness
⦁ Abnegation on selflessness
⦁ Erudite on intelligence
The reason for these factions are that if everyone belongs to a particular group, chaos is prevented and there would be a lot more order! The story follows our main character Beatrice Prior who like all 16 year olds has to choose a faction they will become permanent members of. We follow her after she’s made this decision and as she uncovers a secret about herself that is pretty much a threat to her existance if anyone finds out!
As someone who hasn’t read a lot of ‘popular’ YA books this premise to me seemed unique, HOWEVER having said that I found that this book was quite predictable… I generally enjoyed reading the book and got through it quite quickly, however there were some events that really made me step back a bit. Lets get on with the review:
World Building: This was actually done quite well, I really got a sense of this dystopian world and a feel for the faction Beatrice was in and also ones she’s just knows of. What I would’ve liked a little more was for someone to fill us in on what happened that lead to their current situation. Anything would’ve helped really justify this new system to me and also help me understand why anyone saw this as a viable solution. I’m finding it quite difficult to actually review this without accidently spoiling anything. The synopsis/blurb for the book doesn’t actually give that much away and I really appreciated that!
Characters: I actually didn’t mind Beatrice Prior I completely understood her character and her struggle to fit in her parents faction. Tris however got a little annoying at times, and did some things I really couldn’t reason with. Again I’m not going to spoil anything but towards the end she did something very stupid, who knows maybe in the next book they justify this? I also found Beatrice a little more believable than I found Tris. However I really liked Tris’ group of friends, their friendship felt really genuine and when there were betrayals it made sense. There’s also some romance which I really appreciated. When the initiates are going through the grueling physical and emotional stages a little romance story is a welcome distraction!
Plot: Again this is difficult to talk about with no spoilers! I enjoyed the pace of Divergent, I didn’t at any point feel bored or that it slowed down which kept me reading to the end! However the main plot is something I’ve read multiples times before and I think because of that I found the ending a little bit predictable. Having said that, I didn’t find that it took away from the enjoyment, I literally breezed through the last 50 or so pages because as I reader I was engaged in the story! Throughout the book Tris always asks about what the outside world is like, and I’m thinking that may be hinting at what will happen in the next book so I’m very excited to read it!
Is it the best YA book I’ve read this year so far, probably not. BUT I do understand the hype and I see why this is a popular YA trilogy. I know for the most part my review is critiquing the book but I actually really had fun reading it. Its written from the perspective of a 16 year old and the writing style does reflect that. If you enjoy reading YA dystopian I definitely think you should give this a try!