Second Look: Divergent by Veronica Roth

PLOT:
In a dystopian version of Chicago, people are split into 5 factions: Amity (the peaceful), Dauntless (the brave), Erudite (the intelligent), Abnegation (the selfless) and Candor (the honest). On the day of the Choosing Ceremony, the 16-year-olds of the community must choose the faction in which they want to live for the rest of their lives. No swapping or mind-changing here, kids. Once you’re in, you’re in for life. Either that, or live factionless among society’s derelicts. On the day of the choosing, Beatrice makes a surprising decision, renames herself Tris, and takes the opportunity to reinvent herself. In doing so, she discovers there’s big trouble in their idyllic world, including a group trying to overthrow the government. There goes the neighborhood…

CHARACTERS:
Two main characters are worth discussing here. Tris is eerily similar to our favorite heroine, Katniss Everdeen. She’s tough as nails (with some insecurities), strong willed, rebellious, fights hardcore for her family, and has a fire in her that can’t be put out. She meets up with a young man nicknamed Four, who could potentially be my new fictional boyfriend. He’s rugged and hard, and there’s nothing I love more than a guy who can take charge. But he’s not all rough and tumble. There is an affectionate side to him that, yes, is sweet and romantic, but can be ever-so-slightly fluffy. With a little polishing, Four and I could get along REALLY well.

EXTRA GOODIES:

  • Four. ‘Nuff said.
  • The trauma of wondering what it would be like to confront your worst fears. All of them. In rapid succession. *shivers*
  • Learn how to abandon your family without any of the guilt!

OPINION:
Hey! If you read this and really like it, I have a great recommendation for you. It’s this book called The Hunger Games. Ever hear of it?

In Divergent, you’ll find fights! Shooting! Teenagers pitted against each other for nothing more than glory! Young girls getting the crap beat out of them! Political upheaval! Huzzah! (Sound like any other awesome dystopias you know?) Divergent may scream HUNGER GAMES RIP OFF, but, to be honest, it’s a really good book. I was skeptical at first, but once I dug in a little deeper, I was hooked. The pacing is similar to Suzanne Collins’, in that it keeps rolling and never slows down. Roth’s fictional world is NOT one I would want to live in, but her writing made it feel very real. It’s suspenseful and action packed, but also has a legit storyline.

Roth hits on some interesting topics in Divergent. It could hit close to home with anyone who is preparing to leave home, especially for college. Tris is a young teen who voluntarily decides to leave her parents behind so she can strike out on her own. Roth also throws in political and moral dilemmas without being preachy.

I would absolutely recommend this to any fan of The Hunger Games. Divergent is nearly identical to THG in terms of content: it ranks pretty high on the violence scale (there’s some pretty brutal stuff in here), no sex (but some romance), and some harsh language. The ending sets up the next book nicely, and I’m very excited for the sequel in this planned trilogy (titled Insurgent, tentative release date May 2012). My only fear is that Insurgent will be nothing more than filler to get to the conclusion. My advice to the author: Don’t sell out! Keep the good stuff coming Veronica!

OFFICIAL RATING: 8.5/10

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