Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Divergent by Veronica Roth
Published 2011, 489 pages. Library copy, but I just might buy it. We'll see.
Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place in mortal danger. Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances.
Yep, I picked it up because of the comparisons to The Hunger Games. There are some similarities, but I think they differ more than they relate. 1st person present tense? Yes. Heroine who is kind of prickly, but also badass? Yes. Dystopian? Yes. Violence and people being pretty horrible to each other? Yes.
The writing is addictive. I stayed up until three reading the first half, and I eagerly waited for a chance to read the second half and finished it today. The first half leaves you with a lot of, 'Wtf?' moments. The world building leaves something to be desired. There seems to be a lot of senseless violence, and I kept thinking, 'What is going on here. . .' It's not exactly a realistic society, either, but like other reviews have said, that's not really the point of this story. It's a thrill ride, just like the Dauntless' entire lives, and the reader watches Tris struggle with her identity. Is she Abnegation (selfless) or Dauntless (brave) or something of both?
Personally, I liked the second half more than the first, but maybe that's because I'd decided to suspend all disbelief at that point. I bounced between love and hatred for Tris. At times, she was a compassionate person and I applauded her bravery. Other times, she was just cruel and I wanted to hit her over the head. But I think that was the author's intent, to show these two extremes in Tris and how they battle within her. It also dealt with those questions like how much one should self-sacrifice or turn the other cheek or seek out justice. I know how I feel, but I've never been in a situation like Tris'.
The romance between Four and Tris was well done. It wasn't completely one-sided, cheesy, or blown way out of proportion. Four is definitely flawed, but I liked the mystery that surrounded him and how his personality slowly came out. I also liked how Tris recognized she didn't really know him that well even though she did have feelings for him.
I really liked the climax of the book, even though I cried at a few different parts. I couldn't read it quick enough. The technology at the end was really interesting. I'm looking forward to the next book, Insurgent, which doesn't come out until next May. One benefit of self-published books: I don't have to wait a year between books in a series!