Book Review: “Divergent”, by Veronica Roth

Book Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Harper Collins
Date Published: 2011
Type of Book: Young Adult Fiction; Identity; Family; Courage; Social Classes; Science Fiction.

Recommended By: An Online Reading List

I Received this book from/at: Barnes and Noble. Care of someone who knew me well and gave me a gift card. Thank you.

Plot: “In future Chicago, sixteen year old Beatrice Prior must choose among predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.”

I Would Recommend this Book (to): Anyone who enjoyed The Hunger Games, Enders Game, The Giver, or The Uglies series. (12+)

20140117-123201.jpg Consider yourself warned that the proceeding may contain a few very very small spoilers.

OK so the above is pretty much the record I keep of all the books I read. That is, that is the format I record it in, minus the plot, I usually write my own plot summary. However as you notice from the quotations, I quoted the summary in the book.

I was fortunate when I bought this book, to have picked up the extra content version. It includes an interview with Veronica Roth, a study guide, and all the faction manifesto’s in them. (If you haven’t read it yet you probably don’t know what I’m talking about.)

I have to say I enjoyed the extra content. Usually I skip over it but it was nice to ‘pick’ her brain on her book/series. Yes this is a three part series. I don’t know why young adult authors like their 3 part series books? It’s interesting that it turns out that way. And also trains…
I thought that this book was well done. It didn’t seem too over the top and yet had that futuristic/sci-fi(ish) feel. It’s the same kind of feeling that you get when reading about dystopian futuristic societies. And like Veronica said in her interview, which I whole heartedly agree with, we love to read about societies like this because it allows us to think about what steps it took to get from where we are today to where this story is. (summ.) I would also go on to add that we can, for ourselves, evaluate or minds and hearts and decided where we would be in the society. In one such as this where we choose the faction to belong to, what would I choose? And after things fall apart, where would I stand? What is right?
We can also identify with the chosen ‘hero’, so to speak. I guess really it’s the protagonist of the story, since it is easy to find another in the story line to be the ‘hero’ of the society. Now the main character we follow is Beatrice, or Tris as she is called through most of the book. I think it is interesting that most of these books I have read about dystopian societies have a female protagonist. But maybe that’s because they are written by females?(IE: The Hunger Games, The Uglies) Which would make sense since the male lead characters of the same type are written by mostly males (IE: Enders Game) Although The Giver would be an exception since it’s written by a female and features a male protagonist.

Back on point now, after finishing the first book, there is of course going to be at least a sequel since our main characters are left out of their homes after fleeing for their lives when one faction decides to usurp the balance and eradicate almost an entire faction while using another to do their dirty work.

My concern is that the next books will not be as good as the first (sorry Veronica). I should really say that the third will not be. Usually, from experience, the second is very well written and has great plot and character development, but the third, when it comes to the end of a story, is rough or feels rushed. But who can blame the author? Endings are hard. Have you ever tried to write a story? Beginnings are easy, middles are a cinch, but the ends? And to end a book of this type without being all mushy and gushy “Happily Ever After” is difficult. There are rules! OR is suppose there are… I would assume that they would be something like this:

1. No “Happily Ever After”. When you set your story in a time where society got so bad that they pretty much erased everything and started over and “forced” people into certain classes, then it is impossible to put the bandaid of ‘a happy ending for all’ on it. It didn’t start that way, it didn’t ever look that way in the story, and it certainly can’t end that way.

2. They can’t all die. There is no “They all died. The End. Scar.” (that’s an old Harry Potter book 7 joke btw). Seriously there can’t be an ending where they set of a nuclear bomb and all the people died and no one was there to learn from the past. If they didn’t do it when society first fell apart, they can’t do it now just cause it fell apart again.

3. It can’t stay the same. Obviously. If the first time around it didn’t work, it’s probably not going to work again. It’s got to be different. Or else we are left pulling our hair out. Like in The Hunger Games. I’m sorry, I had to say it. For those that read the books the ending pretty much has the important people of the revolution deciding that the hunger games will continue but with the Capitols children, so they can know what it feels like. Really!? REALLY! I was not happy with that. How does it make the new government better if they do the same things? The answer is, it doesn’t!

4. Those that bring about the catalyst of change, are never in charge at the end. (SPOILERS I’m actually half way through book 2 as I write this). And let me say that I find it odd. In my mind the ones that start the change should be at the top, but it never works that way. They usually go crazy…(spoiler)
Part of me thinks that’s not fair, but another thinks that that’s the way it has to be. Part of what we love about the protagonist is that they don’t want to leadership, but they find the courage within to do what is right and do something to change the situation. I would say that we love that because deep in all of us is the hope that when we are faced with difficult things in our life, we would have the courage to do what is right and stand up for those we love, even at the risk of dying ourselves.

Well that’s all I have for the individual book right now, it kind of took a life of it’s own. I will review book 2 and 3 together next time (Insurgent, Allegiant).

Tell me your thoughts on the first book (if you’ve read it).

And if you have any book suggestions for me please let me know! I am always looking for more books to read!

Happy reading and DFTBA