Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
The plot centres around Tris’ initiation into Dauntless (one of five factions that comprise her society). The five societies are as follows:
- Abnegation (representing charity and selflessness)
- Candor (truth)
- Erudite (knowledge)
- Dauntless (bravery and courage).
- Amity (peace and kindness).
Tris leaves her family behind in a quest to discover herself but being divergent, she poses a danger to the faction leaders and Tris must do everything she can to fit in and survive the physical and mental tests that lie ahead.
There are obstacles enough to keep the reader reading. Tris must overcome physical and mental assessments that push her to the limit, cruel adversaries and even crueller leaders if she is to make it into Dauntless. The only issue I had with the plot is that 80% of the book deals with Tris’ initiation and while it’s great to see how tough it is for her to leave her family behind and embrace her new faction (and the sheer brutality that is standard in Dauntless), I would like to see more about the factions and how they function individually and collectively to form this so-called peaceful society. We get a great sense of Dauntless and how hard it is for Tris but this tends to overshadow other aspects of Roth’s world.
The narration is first-person, present tense and for the most part, it works in getting us closer to Tris and the action. It’s particularly effective in the fight and action scenes. The narration sometimes lacks personality though. There are occasions where it can seem a bit distant and robotic.
Roth chronicles Tris’ journey from Abnegation, where she is taught to be selfless, to Dauntless, where she performs death-defying stunts and lives on the egde. Before the Choosing Ceremony, Tris’ personality is difficult to locate. I know she’s supposed to be selfless but others in her faction still manage to demonstrate some sense of personality. Christina is one of the standouts for me. Her smartass Candor remarks really keep the conversation lively. Though Roth’s collection of characters are situated in factions, the factions do not define them completely. They show themselves to be multi-faceted.
Quality of Writing:
Roth is great at crafting most scenes, her speciality lying in action scenes and fight sequences – but the scenes between Tris and Four could do with a little bit more tailoring.
Great world-building but I wan to know more about how the society functions with the five factions and what each faction does specifically to allow for the society to continue to function as it does.
Better than some dystopian fiction – such as Ally Condie’s Matched – but flawed in areas that Marie Lu and Suzanne Collins manage to address in Legend and The Hunger Games, Divergent is not at the front of the pack though it does deliver on numerous levels. There is evidence of world-building even if it is not thoroughly explored as it is in The Hunger Games, a strong heroine and a vivid insight into faction life in Dauntless.
NOW SKIP TO THE GOOD BIT…
- An interesting world divided into factions
- A daring hero that must fight to survive
- Great fight scenes
Books You May Also Like:
Matched by Ally Condie – if you liked the romantic element and the world-building
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – if you loved the savagery and cruelty of Roth’s world
Legend by Marie Lu – for a corrupt, dystopian world, lots of action and strong male and female protagonists