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Divergent (1) by Veronica Roth

Divergent (1) (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Veronica Roth

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sturlington's review
Set in a devastated future Chicago, the surviving residents have divided themselves into five factions, each intended to cultivate a quality that will prevent more war; each teen has to choose a faction in their 16th year and is stuck with that choice for life.

DIVERGENT is yet another entry in the sub-genre of dystopian fiction aimed at teen girls. It owes a lot to THE HUNGER GAMES, and it does suffer by comparison. The protagonist, Beatrice -- or Tris, as she calls herself for much of the book -- learns that she is Divergent, which means she doesn't fit into any of the five factions. She is warned to keep this a secret, for reasons that aren't clear -- and the plot is off and running.

Much of the story concerns Tris's initiation into the Dauntless faction, which means learning how to fight and face her fears. During the initiation, a tough, self-reliant young woman emerges, a character who can take charge and lead the group during the climax. One thing I do like about these stories is that they model good role models for teen girls (albeit by going heavy on the violence, but something is needed to make the story exciting).

DIVERGENT is written in typical YA fashion: present tense, first-person narrator, short sentences and simple vocabulary. I personally find this style annoying, and I wish YA authors would let themselves have a little more style. The story features a love story and a lot of make-out sessions that I, for one, could do without, but my teen self probably would have loved, I have to admit. But somehow the story lacks the excitement, suspense and sense that something huge is at stake, which THE HUNGER GAMES had. Maybe it's that the set-up of factions is too neat to be truly believable; maybe it's that there are no real adult characters to provide context. The end result is that, while DIVERGENT tries hard, it comes off as a HUNGER GAMES clone, and it doesn't hold its own.

Library book read as a book club selection based on LibraryThing rating (2012). ( )
  sturlington | Mar 21, 2012 |
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Divergent Shelf Notes Review
Dear Reader,
Here we go again, another dystopian young adult adventure novel. I'm pretty selective about which young adult books I pick to read since it's become a genre itself. Divergent has been out for awhile now and I've heard good things from by brother and friends. I decided this was one I would commit to (commit meaning read the entire series). The movie will be coming out soon and the 3rd book is in the works, so I thought this would be the perfect time, giving me just the right amount of time to read both the 1st and 2nd books before the movie and then finishing the 3rd after the movie comes out. From the hype I've heard from my loved ones, most enjoyed it just as much and if not more than The Hunger Games. I will try not to go straight to that comparison though since the books are different enough and it wouldn't be fair to Veronica Roth who has come up with her own very imaginative world and story.
The story follows Beatrice (nicknamed Tris) during her vastly important year of testing and training in a faction that she selects. This dystopian world is divided into factions, each one relying on a certain virtue. Candor is honesty, Abnegation is selfless (this is the faction Tris was brought up under), Dauntless is brave (this is the faction Tris picks to become), Amity is peaceful and Erudite is intelligence. Every sixteen year old goes through a test that determines which faction they would be good in (kind of like the sorting hat in Harry Potter) but this does not determine the faction they'll be in... No, they get to choose whichever one they want! After they choose, they might not even become part of that faction. They have to go through a series of tests and training to determine if they'll be a member, if they don't pass they become factionless (which is not an ideal outcome). What if the test is inconclusive and can't place someone in just ONE faction, they are called divergent (wink, wink... book title!). My thoughts on all of this? I like the ideas of factions even though I think most people would be considered divergent, but maybe in this dystopia people are more linear? I know for a fact that most people in OUR world wouldn't be placed in just one virtue, but can I see this happening if forced upon us? What if we were brought up in a certain faction and this now brings up the nurture vs nature argument. Are we born with those virtues or is it something we learn through our experiences growing up. I really enjoyed the idea of this world but didn't quite fall in love with the aligning yourself with any one faction, it's too linear and simple for me. Also, looking at the age someone is forced to select a faction, this seems way too young for me. Almost like how we have to choose a major WAY to early to know what we want to do with our entire life! Teens are head-strung and rebellious by nature and I feel more of them would switch factions just to be get away and do something more adventurous. Why wouldn't Dauntless be more compelling than Abnegation?! Maybe that's just me though.
My biggest problem with this book had to do with Tris, the main character. She was infuriating throughout the entire freakin thing! She has all these people who seem to care about her (mother, friend, and potential boyfriend) who keep telling her to be careful and not tell anyone about her test results and how dangerous it could be. Does she listen to them? NOT AT ALL! She goes around like a dummy, extremely careless and you just know she'll be getting herself into deep doo doo at some point. I know this makes for good drama but I absolutely hate it when the Author does it at the main characters expense. We're suppose to like her, not hate every move she makes. Overall the book is exciting, action packed, suspenseful, and really original (even though everyone is comparing it to other dystopian books). I look forward to reading the next one and can only hope Tris has smartened up a bit and won't keep making dumb mistakes.
Happy Reading,
AmberBug ( )
  yougotamber | Aug 22, 2014 |
For review see my article on Roth and "Divergent": http://evanstonroundtable.com/main.asp?SectionID=4&SubSectionID=4&Articl... ( )
  NatalieSW | Aug 20, 2014 |
Somewhat torn on this one. And now I'm finished with it I'm still not sure how to review it as I didn't entirely like it all that much. There were some parts I liked, there was a lot about it I didn't like.

On the one hand, the book was fast paced enough that I read the first half in one afternoon. But it was a month later before I picked it up again and read the rest. While it was an interesting idea, different factions with different properties for people to live in, and one girl who doesn't really fit into any of them, despite her efforts to fit into the most active and dangerous one.

The whole world building and characterisation felt a little flat for me. There was no explanations as to how all the factions came to be in place. And most of the characters felt flat and two dimensional. Triss had some friends and some enemies in the Dauntless and a potential love interest. While there were times I liked Triss, there were times when some of the things she managed to do in her training amazed me, there were a lot of things I didn't like. She lied to her friends, and kept chopping and changing wanting to be in one faction and then go back to her original faction and then a page later she's back to thinking one way to try and be strong and fit in again. It got rather annoying, but on reflection I suppose this was the whole point about being Divergent. I will say that towards the end she was pretty bad ass.

And some of the training things the Dauntless did I just didn't get at all. They're supposed to be brave - but to me some of the stuff just felt reckless and completely stupid. Yet there were some interesting bits - like the whole face your fears and control yourself reaction - that was a good part.

I didn't particularly like the romance between Triss and Four, for the tone of book to me it felt unnecessary but I suppose there has to be something to make these people feel and seem human and towards the end of the book it did pay off quite well.

The last two hundred pages of the book were really the best part of it.

Over all and 2.5 star rating. ( )
  sunset_x_cocktail | Aug 20, 2014 |
I enjoyed the story, the way it was told, and the characters. The premise was interesting and I have spent some time wondering what faction I would choose. I loved that for a YA novel, it was pretty "clean" as far as language and content goes. It had a little more action than I typically prefer to see in my reading, so I think that is why I didn't LOVE it. Now I think I will watch the movie :) ( )
  booksniff | Aug 20, 2014 |
I enjoyed the story, the way it was told, and the characters. The premise was interesting and I have spent some time wondering what faction I would choose. I loved that for a YA novel, it was pretty "clean" as far as language and content goes. It had a little more action than I typically prefer to see in my reading, so I think that is why I didn't LOVE it. Now I think I will watch the movie :) ( )
  booksniff | Aug 20, 2014 |
I had heard a lot of good things about this book, so I was more than a little disappointed. It's not well written (the author skips around constantly, and tells you almost everything instead of showing you), and it's basically like someone was like "wow, the Hunger Games did awesome, so let's change it a little and morph it a bit with the Matrix, and we can sell books!"

I literally cringed at the love scenes. While I liked the characters okay, it just seemed kind of forced in there...


Oh, yeah, and making Tobias (who had had his perception of reality altered) choke her at the end wasn't like stealing from the Hunger Games at all. Nope.

The two stars are because I'm feeling generous and it was an interesting idea. ( )
  sammii507 | Aug 19, 2014 |
I really enjoyed this one. Been waiting a long time for something as good. Definitely one for those who enjoyed hunger games. ( )
  Mirandalg14 | Aug 18, 2014 |
Absolutely amazing! I read it the first month my library got it, years ago, and knew it would be a hit immediately! ( )
  TeenLibrarian12 | Aug 17, 2014 |
I wanted to love this book. I love Tris, the main character. I love her strength and her weaknesses. She is well-developed, slightly flawed, believable and real. I want to be friends with her. I love the idea, the world building. I love the messages about focusing on only one part of ourselves and how balance helps us become better people. The movie was really good.

But I just can't get past the language and dialogue. It feels like the entire book is one big first draft. The dialogue is juvenile and unrealistic. There are a few plot holes and discrepancies I can't get past. (They know that they have to pass an initiation to join a different faction, they know that's how people become "factionless" so why are they all mad at Eric and Four for not telling them this before hand? Uh...)

Seriously, go see the movie. It's good.
I can't believe I'm saying that...

Maybe one day I'll pick the book back up and actually finish it, but life is too short for a book that doesn't grab me immediately. ( )
  KRaySaulis | Aug 13, 2014 |
From Book Obsession: http://bookobsessiongpl.blogspot.com/2012/08/kearstens-book-club-divergent-by.ht...

"Last night was loud. I don't know if we were all channeling the Dauntless, but even the librarians out at the youth desk commented on how rowdy book club was. I'm not gonna lie: I participated happily in the shouty-laughter.

The book that got us riled-up was Veronica Roth's dystopic science fiction novel, Divergent.

In a future Chicago, sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five 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.

This is a book full of action, fear, tough chicks, evil overlords (of a sort), guilt, conspiracy and a little bit of romance - and you'll be dying to take the aptitude test to discover in which faction you belong...

Unsurprisingly, we spent a good amount of time discussing the factions, each of which value a different trait: selflessness, bravery, intelligence/knowledge, peacefulness, and honesty. Can you be brave without selflessness? Is it worth it to be honest regardless of whom it might hurt? Does an awesome female character ALWAYS have to have some pretty boy tell her how amazing she is before she'll believe it herself?! (Okay, that last one is a personal beef I've been having with teen fiction lately. I'll back off now.)

Already read Divergent? Put the second book in the trilogy, Insurgent, on hold, or try one of these book club suggested titles!

The Maze Runner by James Dashner. Sixteen-year-old Thomas wakes up with no memory in the middle of a maze and realizes he must work with the community in which he finds himself if he is to escape.

Blood Red Road by Moira Young. In a distant future, eighteen-year-old Lugh is kidnapped, and while his twin sister Saba and nine-year-old Emmi are trailing him across bleak Sandsea they are captured, too, and taken to brutal Hopetown, where Saba is forced to be a cage fighter until new friends help plan an escape.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen accidentally becomes a contender in the annual Hunger Games, a grave competition hosted by the Capitol where young boys and girls are pitted against one another in a televised fight to the death.

Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce. Eleven-year-old Alanna, who aspires to be a knight even though she is a girl, disguises herself as a boy to become a royal page, learning many hard lessons along her path to high adventure.

Not enough to satisfy your interest in tough, smart teen girls? Take book clubber Tiffany's suggestion to check out season one of the awesome TV show, Veronica Mars. Tiffany says that the main character of Divergent reminds her of Veronica, in her willingness to stand up for others and to not just go-along with the crowd. (And I agree - Veronica Mars was amazing!)" ( )
  kayceel | Aug 12, 2014 |
I loved this book! I loved the characters Tris and Tobias. I love the plot. Everything about this book was well written. I read it in like 24hrs. ( )
  Tiffy83 | Aug 11, 2014 |
Throughout the whole book, the author seemed to be avoiding romance (a choice which didn't always endear me to the characters) trope and for that reason I found the ending trite and disappointing. Other scenes felt underdeveloped as well, and some characters were a little too trope-y, but the story itself was exciting. ( )
  LaPhenix | Aug 10, 2014 |
Well what can i say about this book. I t took me so long to read it, it wasnt until i saw the movie coming out thet i decided to give it a chance and OMG!! why did it took me so long!!!.

I have read quite a few books from this genre and I was a little bit tired of bit, still this book is very different from many others. I liked the story, the characters and well everything.

The book is based on futuristic Chicago, where the city is separated by factions(for reason yet unknown), everybody its separated depending on lets say their talents, some are brave (Dauntless), some are smart (Erudite), honest (Condor), humble (abnegation), and i guess environmental (Amity). Is not until they reach 16 years of age that they make them choose one of their factions, they can either stay or be transfer. this is where Beatrice comes on, she is to be discovered "Divergent" which means that she could belong to 2 or more factions and that is very dangerous.
The books comes to tell how beatrice chooses to change factions and becomes to discover herself and her "Divergency". When she transfers factions they need to be initiated by a series of test that will determined if they trully belong there.
We meet Four (the good trainer), and Eric (the mean trainer).

I am going to stop here with the spoilers, lets just sum it up and say that the book is AWESOME, it has everything, action, a love story and, sadness, etc...

I will really recomend this book and I cant wait to read the rest of the series.
( )
  angie.arciba | Aug 9, 2014 |
This book is awesome. Incredible. When I started, I couldn't seem to stop myself. I can't stop reading. I've finished it for a few hours and I know I'll reread this in the future. ( )
  margaraawr | Aug 8, 2014 |
This book is awesome. Incredible. When I started, I couldn't seem to stop myself. I can't stop reading. I've finished it for a few hours and I know I'll reread this in the future. ( )
  margaraawr | Aug 8, 2014 |
Oh how I avoided reading this book. All I could think was not another YA, post apocalyptic book. But, I'm a sucker for post-apocalyptic books and I broke down and read it. Boy did it blow me away. Not only was the story amazing but, it really made me think. What would I choose, how would I react? Excellent characters and character development! I can't wait to get started on Insurgent, oh and see the movie. ( )
  sunnydrk | Aug 7, 2014 |
The "Divergent" books are one of those books that the more I thought on it the less and less I liked it. When I first read "Divergent" for a book club I'm in, I thought it was okay but the whole faction idea didn't quite make sense. Still, I trusted Roth to make it make sense later on. Now that I've read the whole series, I realized that I never liked "Divergent" much to begin with. Is it better than "Insurgent" and "Allegiant"? Yes, but personally I don't find Tris to be a likeable protagonist and certainly not someone who, in hindsight, I'd follow for three books. She's self righteous and ridiculous and those stupid factions. Ugh, I can't even with this book. Great idea from Roth but sadly lacking in execution. ( )
1 vote prairiedances | Aug 6, 2014 |
A truly wonderful book. It reminded me of The Hunger Games in many ways and I like both of them equally. The movie was very well done and does a good job following the book, but like most adaptations to the screen the book is a little better. Like The Hunger Games, I found the concept of a possible future very believable. We may well reach a point in our history where society is divided into different classes based on our personality traits and abilities. As the book and movie show, though, this may seem like a good idea to improve society as a whole, but you can never take away the fact that there will always be those who will try to take control and it’s up to those who are brave enough to do whatever it takes to make sure they don’t take control. Another great book with a fascinating concept! ( )
  Leena_Duncan | Aug 6, 2014 |
When I went in reading this book I was extremely sceptical, everybody compared it to the Hunger Games, and said its not as good.

Boy did this book impressed me.

I fell in love with divergent and with the characters. This book kept you on edge the whole time and you just want to know what happens next.

I love Tris the main character and that she is the selfless brave girl with no fears. The male character Four I think couldn't be more perfect. I believe al woman fell in love with this character. and the test that Four and Tris love have to past makes your heart break.

Theres moments in the book where I went OMG.

I couldn't wait to start with the next book insurgent

Well done Veronica Two Thumbs up ( )
  anke.vanzweel | Aug 1, 2014 |
Made it about half way thru, stopped reading it. ( )
  nycke137 | Jul 29, 2014 |
Made it about half way thru, stopped reading it. ( )
  nycke137 | Jul 29, 2014 |
Made it about half way thru, stopped reading it. ( )
  nycke137 | Jul 29, 2014 |
This is a breakout first novel. Action-packed with tragedy and love is the best kind of book and this one nailed it. The characters are so lovable (or hatable) in some cases. It was absolutely amazing and left you thirsty for more. 5Q5P The cover art is awesome and I'd recommend this to middle school and high school students as well as adults. I chose to read this book because I wanted to read it before the movie came out. SarahP
  edspicer | Jul 26, 2014 |
This book was amazing. The story line is original. The characters are very complex. The action is unbelievable. I get an adrenaline rush from just reading the book. I cannot wait to read the next two books. The only thing that I did not like about the book was that sex was discussed in one section of the book. I love the relationship between Tris and Tobias. I wish that Tris's parents did not have to die, but it suited their characters that they would risk their life, especially since they were part of Abnegation. I wish that Al had not died; I really liked his character. I cannot wait to learn more about what it means to be Divergent. ( )
  blog_gal | Jul 26, 2014 |
I read this first-of-a-trilogy for the book club. Although the book owes large debts to both The Hunger Games and Harry Potter series, the author HAS created a unique universe, so props to her.

Sometime in the not-too-distant future, society is arranged not by class, color, or sex, but in factions according to a primary characteristic: Erudite (reason/intelligence), Amity (peace/love), Dauntless (courage/braveness), Candor (honesty), and Abnegation (selflessness). People choose a faction on their 16th birthday, after undergoing testing to see which would be most appropriate. People who don't have a clear result, like our heroine Beatrice (Tris), are called "divergent," and they represent a threat to the prevailing order.

It's hard to judge each component of a series until the whole thing is finished, so for now, let me just say that this is a quick read, with lots of action, a couple of twists, and hints of things still to come. I enjoyed it. ( )
  Pat_F. | Jul 25, 2014 |
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