Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth
Published: 3rd May 2011
Publisher: HarperCollin's children's books.
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.
This is one of those books you dread writing a review for, because no matter how long you spend phrasing it, or how insightful you try to be, you just cannot do it justice. This book is stunning. Literally and figuratively stunning. I don't think I can fault it at all. Well, I maybe figured out a few of the twists, but I kinda think you were supposed to figure those things out. Hmm okay there was a fair bit of exposition at the beginning which I'm not always a fan of, but it was sorta worked in with the idea of Tris considering each faction and I'm really trying here for negatives aren't I?
The concept sorta reminded me of Plato's republic taken to an extreme, everyone in society doing what they're best suited to for a harmonious and well run city. In the end, it was as much a study of human behaviour as it was a gripping story. It really made me think about the dangers of pigeon-holing people, of forcing them to live a certain way and act a certain way and wondering if it is even possible for a person to apply one value to every aspect of their lives, whilst at the same time wondering if what people really need is a fixed and definable position in society in order to function well both as a part of a whole and as an individual.
I loved Tris, she's so easy to love. I really got her anguish at the decision she had to make over leaving her faction. Then her bravery throughout the novel was spectacular, it wasn't a brash, obvious sort of bravery but how I imagine true bravery to be. Again, I thought this was really philosophical in the idea that it suggested bravery wasn't a fixed concept, it was fairly relative and dependent on many other factors. Tris really grew into herself and that was so great to see, I loved watching her struggle to incorporate her new, dauntless values with her old Abnegation values. Four. Ohmigod Four. I totally have a new fangirl crush. He was so...complicated. I really liked him, I liked how he had flaws and was nicely snarky. I thought all the characters were well developed, there wasn't a single one where I felt they were there for plot development purposes alone.
The world building in this book was just so detailed. I really liked the different factions and their values and lifestyles. The Dauntless initiation had a battle royale feel to it that I really enjoyed, and I love a good conspiracy as much as the next person. I can imagine Veronica must have stacks and stacks of notes about the workings of each faction, because it really appeared that way. I loved the ending, totally bittersweet, both heartbreaking and heartwarming. This is one of those books I desperately wish I had the sequel to right the hell now!!
I don't think 5 stars truly expresses the awesomeness of this book, so I'm giving it 7/5.
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