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Divergent (1) by Veronica Roth

Divergent (1) (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Veronica Roth

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7,930784413 (4.13)564
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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Showing 1-25 of 771 (next | show all)
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. ( )
  pfflyernc | Jul 25, 2014 |
The beginning is seriously off-putting, as Roth writes a very bland opening and the protagonist is quite annoying. She's obsessed with looking in the mirror! The aptitude test which follows is awful, the author's logic doesn't pan out at all and the whole book leads from the assumptions you read here. However, the plot and writing style both pick up surprisingly well and the rest is a good read. Some of the early irritations are sorted out later on. Will read the second one but have some trepidation about where on earth the plot could go next. ( )
  Tilda.Tilds | Jul 23, 2014 |
When I first started reading, I was skeptical and had very high expectations. I'm very glad to say that Divergent met all of them and now it's my favorite book of all time. Tris and Tobias are amazing characters and I love (more like obsessed with :P) their relationship. This book is truly amazing and definitely a must read!

My Goodreads: fantasticalcatherine ( )
  lifeshiddengems | Jul 14, 2014 |
  aweinel | Jul 14, 2014 |
Fabulous book! At first I didn't like Tris, but by the end of the book she was a very likeable person, with whom I could relate.

Can't wait to read Insurgent and Allegiant. ( )
  AnnRushing | Jul 13, 2014 |
Yeah, it's that good! ( )
  MABoone | Jul 10, 2014 |
Yeah, it's that good! ( )
  MABoone | Jul 10, 2014 |
I did not know if I would like this book or not given that it was so popular with the younger readers. However, I was pleasantly surprised. This Utopian style world in which they are living in is truly thought provoking with very interesting sects and behaviors. An excellent story that involves the battle of good and evil rolled into a love story makes it intriguing enough to keep you both on your seat and guessing the entire way. I could not wait to get to the next book. ( )
  ShadowRhelm | Jul 9, 2014 |
It was good. Not Hunger Games good, but not far off. Her character develop was well-done, but the romance angle starts to wear thin (I probably wouldn't feel that way if I were the intended audience - aka 14-20 yrs old). Still, once I was hooked, I was hooked. Quick read. Lots of fun. ( )
  reginacorley | Jul 8, 2014 |
This was a fun read of a dystopian society. Set in Chicago, but not the Chicago you know now, there are 5 distinct factions who interact in a semi agreeable way. This book and series have been compared to the Hunger Games trilogy as it's centered around young people coming of age and taking their place in an adult society. In Hunger Games you didn't want to be singled out and become a Tribute. In the book Divergent the 16 year olds make choices about which faction they want to live and which philosophies suit them.

The five factions are Abnegation, for the selfless; Amity, for the peaceful; Candor, for the honest; Dauntless, for the brave; and Erudite, for the intelligent.


Tris (Beatrice) is the main female character in the book. She and her brother Caleb are born and reared in the Abnegation faction. Neither of them select their home faction during the Choosing Ceremony which causes resentment and disappointment for the adults and leaders in their faction. All the 16 year olds in every faction choose where they want to spend their life during this ceremony. Tris chooses Dauntless and Caleb selects Erudite.

Immediately after the ceremony the new "recruits" move away to their respective factions. They must now perform tasks and training in their new factions, proving they are worthy of staying and jousting for certain positions within the society. If you fail, you are Factionless which means a life of homelessness and hunger.

I liked the book and can see how the author set us up for a follow up, you WANT to know what will happen to all the societies and if they can live harmoniously. You see some important characters killed in book one and you want to see justice for them in the following books.

Kept my interest all the way through. It's not Jane Austen, it's a fun and quick read about a dystopian society. A+ from me! ( )
  SquirrelHead | Jul 8, 2014 |
This book has a lot of great action. When I was reading it, I just couldn't put it down. and I loved all of the plot twists. 5Q5P The cover art is awesome and I'd recommend this book for middle school and high school students as well as adults. I chose to read this book because my little brother was reading it and I thought I'd give it a go myself. EzekielB
  edspicer | Jul 5, 2014 |
Dystopia with a capital D.

Books like these make me wish I was in a book club. I read this novel in twenty-four hours, and when we’re talking 500 pages, that says something. From the first page the reader is immersed in the life of Beatrice Prior, a sixteen-year-old on the cusp of making a life-defining decision. In Beatrice’s world every person belongs to one of five factions: Dauntless, Candor, Amity, Erudite, or Abnegation. Each of the factions has a prized trait that they seek to cultivate above all others, and factions come before blood. Beatrice and her brother are tested along with the rest of of their peers for aptitude and must publicly decide which faction to commit their lives to (each has its own community in the ruins of Chicago). A poor choice, a mistake, means becoming one of the destitute factionless. Our heroine is torn between the faction she’s always known and the one that calls to her, but changing teams may mean losing her family forever.

My summarizing will stop here because I don’t want to spoil even one choice or discovery. This novel is so tightly plotted that it sweeps the reader along without a single good place to take a break. The stakes are high from the start for Beatrice, who reinvents herself as Tris during initiation to her chosen faction, and they get higher. Tris is a complex character with a consistent core, and she remains true to herself as she makes new friends and enemies (and falls in love for the first time). The world of Divergent is richly detailed, and learning more about Tris’ faction only made me more curious about the others. Tris gradually realizes that the friction between the factions is something more than the usual grumblings, and her individual struggle goes global in the action-packed ending of the novel.

Tris is an incredible heroine. She is brave and smart and protective of others, not particularly self-aware (which makes sense considering that she was raised in the selfless faction, Abnegation). She navigates her initiation through sheer force of will, failing miserably and standing out by turns. The reader can cheer for her and be frustrated by her at the same time. She grows into a new person over the course of the novel in ways both horrifying and impressive.

The novel is brutally violent at times, but it is never gratuitous or gory. All of the characters are three dimensional, even the “bad guys” are intriguing enough to arouse curiosity. There is a lot to dig into when it comes to the world of Divergent. Should government positions only be filled by the selfless (and just because someone identifies as selfless, does that mean they actually are?). Do the pet causes of the selfless actually address the needs of a whole society? Can a group of people all work toward cultivating a single trait without becoming corrupted by that pursuit? I suspect picking your faction will become the new sorting-hat-style craze (the author even provides a helpful quiz to that end in the novel’s extras).

Speaking of the extras, they are fantastic. There are the usual discussion questions along with an interview with Veronica Roth, the aforementioned quiz, manifestos from each faction, and an excerpt of Insurgent (the next novel in the series). A novel which I just so happened to purchase today.

I told my Facebook friends that Divergent was better than The Hunger Games, and it is. Not a million times better; but the writing is tighter, the story fuller, the foreshadowing never heavy-handed, and the characters run deeper. I cannot recommend it more highly than that. ( )
  ArmchairAuthor | Jul 3, 2014 |
It was entertaining is a fun read but I believe it is a popcorn read there isn't a great deal of depth in it. ( )
  Rembacz | Jul 2, 2014 |
Really enjoyed it - extremely entertaining and clever with an interesting female protagonist (and author). I'm not racing out to read the trilogy though, partly because I heard the third book is a bit disappointing as fav. characters die... . ( )
  wendyburrill | Jul 1, 2014 |
If you've seen The Hunger Games, you'll love this. It's set up somewhat like THG, (in a dystopian world), but the story is much better. 5Q5P The cover art is awesome and I'd recommend this book for high school students and adults. I chose to read this book because I wanted to see the movie but my mom said I had to read the book first. TristonB
  edspicer | Jun 30, 2014 |
This was OK, as far as it goes, but, for some reason I didn't identify with Tris very well. Bearing in mind that this was a YA story, I found the premise interesting, the testings that they had to go through, quite gripping, though, jumping off a train did seem a little excessive. I'm undecided whether to read the folloiw up. ( )
  gogglemiss | Jun 28, 2014 |
"I believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another."

I love Divergent! I love dystopian-themed books. I think it's because of the reason that I think I'm living a dystopian-themed life where everything is controlled. Everything is monitored. And people make decisions for me.

I empathize with Beatrice/Tris and felt that she thinks and feels like me in certain situations. And I love Four! I think that I'd fall in love with him if he were a real person. Tough but sweet and gooey on the inside.

Again, I love Divergent! ( )
  PamZaragoza | Jun 27, 2014 |
I thoroughly enjoyed this first book of the series! ( )
  silva_44 | Jun 23, 2014 |
I don't find Divergent to be exceptionally well-written and I'm not THAT attached to the characters, but this book IS exciting. As a Dystopia, it kinda fails(though I think parts of this are addressed in Insurgent), but as a book filled with action, it's one of the better ones I've read recently. ( )
  Stormydawnc | Jun 23, 2014 |
Once I got over the fact that I wasn't going to discover WHY there were factions separating society, I decided to read the book to learn where it was going with the concept. The book really became interesting in the last few chapters. Then I realized that there was going to be a sequel. I'm a bit tired of sequels and trilogies. If I had known that before I read it, I wouldn't have started it. However, I did enjoy reading the non-stop action even if the main character became quite predictable in her reactions...Oh another rebel?? Still, its a fun read as long as you don't expect the unpredictable. ( )
  radspd | Jun 22, 2014 |
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