Sunday, November 27, 2011

Divergent review

by Veronica Roth
May 2011

Sixteen year-old Beatrice Prior is on the verge of her choosing ceremony. Raised by the strict Abnegation sect, a group so selfless they don't even allow themselves to look in mirrors, she's always wondered about what life might be like amongst one of the other factions: Candor, Dauntless, Amity or Erudite. Each faction lives in a separate part of the city and each has a dress code: Abnegation in grey, Candor in black and white, Dauntless wears black, Amity is yellow and Erudite favors blue. After undergoing testing, teens are assigned a sect, although they can make a different choice if they want. Most choose the same faction as the family they were raised in. Much to her surprise, Beatrice tests show that she is Divergent - not a clear pick for any of the factions. She's cautioned to keep this information a secret. She chooses Dauntless, a group that focuses on bravery. Her brother chooses Erudite, focused on knowledge.

Most of the book deals with formerly shy, hardworking Beatrice, who re-styles herself "Tris" once she joins Dauntless, and her struggles to keep up with the daredevil hazing of her new group. I liked Tris enormously, and I liked the way she was able to surprise everyone who underestimated her.

I was very curious about how the world came to be set up in this way... why five factions, and why were they dedicated to those particular qualities? We never really find out. I also wondered what purpose Dauntless really serves - why does a city need a group of tattooed adrenaline junkies? Tris ends up being in a perfect position to learn some family secrets, and other secrets that impact the whole city.

This is a thrilling book and how could it not be, with Tris spending most of it acclimating to her new life in Dauntless by riding ziplines off of abandoned buildings, jumping onto moving trains, undergoing combat training, and fighting another one of her fears - her fear of intimacy means she suppresses her crush on one of the Dauntless leaders, known as Four. Things between Tris and Four develop very slowly - most of the emphasis is on where the action is: Tris's training at the Dauntless headquarters and unravelling a conspiracy by the city's leaders in Erudite. Divergent should be an automatic go-to for readers who enjoyed the brave female warriors in The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Alison Goodman's Eon: Dragoneye Reborn or Kristin Cashore's Graceling. The story ends with a bit of cliffhanger as  Tris makes her escape from a war zone to one of the other factions. I'm already looking forward to the next book in the series, Insurgent.

I purchased this book.


  1. Hopefully the sequels will answer the question of the origin of the factions. That would be a question that would bug me too. I have a copy of this...somewhere :)

  2. The worldbuilding is a bit vague... but the characters are so great, it kind of doesn't matter. For example, all of Tris's fellow inductees in Dauntless have such unique personalities.



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