Tuesday, October 25, 2011

DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth

Two things initially kept me from reading this book (even after I bought it):

1) The comparisons to The Hunger Games

2) My fear that all Dystopians have crappy endings

Number two I think is understandable.  I've only read a few Dystopians--only two that I've loved, more that I didn't--and one of my big pet peeves is the unhappy/hopeless endings.  What?!? You know it's true.  I know just by calling a book "Dystopian" that things aren't going to be all candy hearts and warm fuzzies, but that doesn't mean the end can't be satisfying.

That brings me back to my number one.  Oh, Suzanne Collins…you so won me over.  You lifted the veil, invited me into Katniss's brutal world, and made me fall in love with her and it.  Here's how the conversation used to go--Question: "Do you read Dystopian?" My answer: "Not if I can help it."  The conversion from Dystopian hater to lover can be narrowed down to three words: The Hunger Games, and maybe even just one: Peeta.  When I picked up Divergent by Veronica Roth, I was just coming off my Hunger Games high, and I didn't want to chance disliking it simply b/c it didn't stand up to one of the best series I'd ever read.

But when I finally gave in, I was happily surprised.

I can see where all the comparisons come from, but instead of feeling like Divergent was a Hunger Games wannabe, I was instantly drawn in by the characters, the world, and the choice that determined everything.

Sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior isn't allowed to look at herself in the mirror.  Her clothes are a muted slate gray, the same as the rest of the "stiffs" in Abnegation.  Selflessness above all; that's the faction's motto.  But as much as she tries, Beatrice isn't as selfless as she should be.  When the time comes, Beatrice must choose which faction she will belong to for the rest of her life.  Five factions, five possible choices: Abnegation (the selfless), Erudite (the intelligent), Candor (the honest), Amity (the peaceful), and Dauntless (the brave).  The outcome of Beatrice's choice leads to a new name, a grueling initiation process, newfound friends (and enemies), and the discovery of a plot by one faction to overthrow another.  Tris's secret could save them all…if she isn't killed first.

I enjoyed the book's mix of adventure, personal discovery, and romance.  Tris and Four were great together.  I loved how Tris stood up for Four and how Four always recognized Tris's inner-strength.  I look forward to seeing how their relationship develops in the next book.  One of my favorite character quirks was that Tris really wasn't perfect.  She was selfish at times--and I wanted to reach out and make her do the right thing, feel more sympathy, not look down on others for their weaknesses.  But that just wasn't who she was.  I didn't love how quick things happened in the end.  Some things seemed to be thrown in simply to up the drama (especially unnecessary character deaths) or to clear the slate for the next book.

Overall, a great read, and  Divergent definitely gets added to the "Dystopians I Liked" category J

Happy reading,

Ninja Girl


  1. I also thought a few too many people died at the end, but I liked the ending in general, because I loved how Tris ran around kicking ass and blowing the bad guys away. That's kind of how I wish things had gone for Katniss in Mockingjay.

  2. Don't get me started on the random death at the end of the book. I don't understand why there is all this Hunger Games comparison either. Apart from the dystopian genre that's all I can see the two books having in common. I'm still not sure if I actually like Tris as a person because of the reasons you mentioned. She was selfish and sometimes very arrogant but I guess that's what made her human. I did enjoy her romance with Four and I look forward to seeing more about Caleb in the next book.

  3. @TG I totally agree. I loved how Tris went after the baddies in the end--but I loved the end of Mockingjay more, probably b/c it was the conclusion of the series. Collins can pretty much do no wrong in my book ;)

    @Lan Yes, those comparisons made me so confused. On the one hand, they made me not want to read, but on the other, they made me super curious. Guess curiosity won out in the end. And I'm glad I wasn't the only one who felt that way about the deaths!

  4. I loved this book, she's a great writer! I'm looking forward to the next one :)

  5. @Hope Hey! Yes, I really liked it, too. I hope the next one is just as good. It seems like it would be hard to write the 2nd in a series, especially if the first one was really great :)

  6. I LOVED Divergent. I'm a big time dystopian fan, and normally don't mind the doom and gloom from this genre (although I do prefer a happier ending). This book though just blew me away. So creative, and really sticks out above the rest of dystopians I've read so far. Mainly because I fell hard for Four. Can't wait for the seqeul!

    Kristan @ Lost Amongst the Shelves
    P.S. Come check out my blog's first giveaway here

  7. I completely fell in love with this book, and with Tris and Four! I am so glad you liked it, too!

  8. I don't know what's my deal, but for some reason I never get around to reading Divergent! I seriously need to read it!

  9. I enjoyed Divergent - but still wasnt convinced by the whole 'diff virtues' arrangement of society thing. Maybe Im a just clueless or i read too fast - but i couldnt see how the factions really worked... I am very entranced with Four tho. I will defn get the next book, because the relationship between him and Tris is one that caught me.

  10. I loved this book. I was lucky enough to snag an arc. Like you, i'm not really a dystopian fan. There are a few that i like, and a scant that i love, but in general, meh.
    This one, though. I really really liked it.

  11. This is a fantastic review! Seriously. And I have to say that Divergent is my #1 favorite read of 2011 so far. LOVED it! :-)

  12. I have the same feelings for Dystopian books. It all just seems so bleak. I did however love, love, love the Hunger Games. I have been dithering over wether to read Divergent or not, but I think from the beginning of your review (I didn't read it all cause I don't want to ruin the book) I will pick it up soon!

    Thanks!! Emma @ LostinaYAbook

    Oh and thanks for being my 99th Follower!! xx

  13. When I read the word "the blade is stuck in Edward's eye" I gasped and dropped the book. I rarely read works that evoke such a physical response from me (the last time was when Dobby died). While reading I found myself sorting my friends into factions. I found myself thinking (Insert name of friend here) would be a member of Amity." My parents had to come retrieve my from my room to open my Christmas presents, because I was so enthralled with Divergent.