Author: Veronica Roth
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Teen/YA, Dystopian
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4 out of 5
It’s the distant future, and the city of Chicago is now divided into five factions, each devoted to a virtue. Beatrice is a member of Abnegation, which means above all, it is her duty to be selfless. But her sixteenth birthday is quickly approaching, and she will soon be able to choose the faction that will house her for the rest of her life. She doesn’t feel like she belongs in Abnegation, but doesn’t want to leave her family either. But what Beatrice doesn’t realize is that there is more at stake than just her future, and her decision will have lasting repercussions that will shake the foundations of the world she lives in.
I’ll admit it: I went into Divergent expecting not to like it. After all, I have read many YA dystopian novels, and it’s easy for too much of something to quickly become old. Adding to that is this book’s inclusion of factions made it sound a little too much like The Hunger Games. However, I had been hearing good things about it, and I was in the mood for a little YA dystopian fun, so I settled down with it – and could not put it down.
During the first 100 pages of Divergent, I still maintained my skepticism. The novel started off slow, and didn’t explain a lot. There was virtually no worldbuilding, which is one of my favorite aspects of dystopian novels. How did the world get to this point What drastic events occurred to morph the world we know now into the one Beatrice calls home? There was a vague mention of a war, but not a lot of description or history, and I found that disappointing even after the pace of the book picked up.
However, once the faction choosing takes place, the story really takes off, and it doesn’t stop for a breath until the very last page. I was hooked, racing through the story, desperate to understand Beatrice’s situation, wondering how far she could push herself before she broke. She wasn’t perfect – she is hotheaded, with a quick temper, but she grows so much over the course of the book. I was surprised at how much I sympathized with her and truly cared for her. She was a wonderful protagonist for this series – she becomes strong and wise, but the book is realistic in that it takes a lot for her to come to that point.
The book does move a little faster than I expected, and I was shocked by what it came to. In some ways, I feel like it moved a little too fast – I still had a lot of questions about what was left behind. I can’t say more than that without giving away key plot points, but I can say that I was breathlessly reading, unable to even shift my gaze away from the action for a second.
Veronica Roth has me completely hooked on this series – the second I finished it, I was asking about when the sequel is coming out (because, of course, it’s a trilogy). I really enjoyed this book, despite my minor quibbles; if you’re in the mood for a fun, brain candy-esque read that will have you mesmerized, Divergent is a great choice.