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I was such a late comer to this series, and it took the movie to finally get me cracking the spine to jump into Veronica Roth’s brainchild. I only wish I hadn't jumped into it so close to reading The Giver by Lois Lowry – the similarities were somewhat off-putting.
However, I have to say I loved the world of Divergent – how this dystopian world is there without explanation. There is no info-dumping of how the world came to be, or what exactly is going on, the reader finds out as our protagonist (Tris) does. And even then, given her naive innocence, protected upbringing and rules regarding her behavior facts are a little hard to come by. But it makes enthralling and realistic reading.
There are hints at what happened and the reason for introducing factions as a way of life – but it is all from a small collection of points of view interpreted by Tris. I’m eager to see if she discovers a deeper and darker truth as the series develops.
You get a real sense of Tris’ intelligence, she keeps a lot to herself and is a critical observer as well as exhibiting moments of madness and dare-devil-ism… I grew to love her as she broke out of her meek upbringing to almost Amazonian stature. It made her relatable as we grew with her on this journey and was not simply gifted with special talents – she fought and earned every skill in her arsenal.
While the book jumped around a bit in location, that I felt unnecessary, as it was somewhat distracting, it did manifest a real sense of Tris not knowing what is going on, but aware of the different layers of intrigue and political machinations. Again something I’m very interested to see play out in the next installments.
Divergent develops and explores much of the cast expertly to help build the world and socio-political landscape. I’d have to say the downfall for me, was that many of the questions I had were not answered – but it is a pilot novel in a series. So I guess a little patience with weather my curiosity.
A relatively fast read with great pacing… you won’t get bored with this book. If you liked elements in The Hunger Games and The Giver then you have to give this book a shot. Not overly surprising and fairly predictable but highly entertaining.
Like Brave New World this novel deals with different groups (Abegnation, Dauntless, Erudite, Candor & Amity), which contribute to societies functions. Every group has its distinctive motifs, dress and colour. They represent the different sides of human nature taken to the extreme. Abegnatin are the selfless faction where Beatrice is born and the fact that she is divergent, not fitting neatly into any one faction, just highlights how complex human beings are.
The induction creates the values and behaviours necessary to reinforce group mentality. Those who do not succeed, or conform, are factionless. This is portrayed as a fate worse than death, as they live outside the bounds of a civilised society. Again a little like Brave New World, a place outside of the compound filled with savages.
It is interesting that the author has chosen 16 years of age as the time of choice. An age in the UK where students finish compulsory education. A stage which they are also still pliable and open to new ideas and influences.
Like most YA novels it is written in the first person from Beatrice’s point of view and it is though her interactions that we learn about the rest of the characters. We learn a lot about Peter through his shocking behaviour and the way he treats Beatrice. Equally we love and respect Four for his ability as a leader and his care and respect for Beatrice. Four’s role is also contrasted with Eric and we discover that Four is the more able despite Eric’s seniority and obvious resentment.
This book is a great example of groups, motifs and team dynamics and how these are woven together. The first person narrative, like the Hunger Games, is relational and exposes the other characters through their words and actions. I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the series.
Divergent ends with Tris thinking of life beyond a faction, yet insurgent is so much more than this. She still clings to Dauntless as her faction of choice, but she also has to recognise that she is divergent with all the risks associated with this.
We discover much more about the other factions in this book, starting with Amity, where they flee to first. Erudite by their nature hold the knowledge of all the faction as well as a secret they would prefer to see destroyed than fall into the wrong hands. It is this secret that drives the story forward as individuals set aside their factions to work together. The reader also sees the strain this puts on Tris and Tobias’s relationship as he works with this father and is reconciled to his mother.
The divergent are much more important in this book than the previous one and we learn that there are more members of this group than Tris may have imagined. They are certainly a target for the Erudite and their Dauntless allies. From a political perspective they are the people who think across party lines. This can also be seen in the way Dauntless splits with some siding with Erudite, most notably Eric and those who don’t. Even peace loving, neutral Amity suffers a crisis amongst its members with some needing to fight rather than stay neutral.
As the title suggests there is more fighting, violence and torture in this book, but I love the ending. The idea that the divergent are the future and that factions were only a temporary solution to restore order from chaos. I look forward to reading the next book.
It was a good book, nothing earth shattering but it was enjoyable. I liked the thought she put into building a world based off individual values and traits. Its an interesting angle to take, maybe a bit limited in scope but in the case of this novel it does help show the crossover of these traits and the effect it has on the particular individuals in the book. The protagonist is in my opinion rather annoying, I can't put my finger on why she annoys me, I think it has something to do with the fact she believes she's oh so special.... But that's just me. I also have a bit of a problem with the fact that the bad guys *spoiler* are supposed to be the guys who favour intelligence, yet in this case are scared of growth.... A counter to intelligence, again in my opinion..... Anyway, good book, worth the read if you got time and want a nice easy read.
Doug and I recently watched all three divergent films for the first time. We really enjoyed them but felt there was more to the ending, and that bits of the story were missing from the film's. So I said I would read the books to find out. The first film is surprisingly true to this book. Only subtle changes or differences. I really enjoyed reading this book and look forward to seeing if the second book is as close to the film or not.
To be honest this is not a novel I would normally have splashed out on, as I know it is intended for children/teenagers. But I have always enjoyed a good SF yarn on a dystopia so from that point of view, this was still a most entertaining read.
It is written in a very simple style, almost as though the narrator is speaking aloud. This does mean that Divergent will be a very accessible novel to read, even for those who maybe haven't yet acquired stellar reading skills.
Divergent is the first book of a trilogy - presumably, all following the adventures of unlikely heroine, Beatrice Prior - or Tris. It is set among the poisoned ruins of a rusty post-apocalyptic world. The city she inhabits - apparently Chicago - is full of dilapidated railways and skyscrapers and is surrounded by mud and marshes rather than lakes. At various points Tris wonders whether these lakes and surrounding countryside could be reclaimed, but this is not within the scope of this ferociously-paced debut novel.
At 16, this girl, still with the body of a child, is poised to make the first adult decisions of her life. The trouble is, that some of these may mean that she will have to say goodbye to her family and everything she has known, for good. Then, during her assessment, intended to determine where her future, she finds herself with another problem. She is a Divergent. And that means she could be killed if this is ever found out.....
This is a future world where humanity is divided up into five castes, or rather, factions - well six actually, as there is a subgroup of dispossessed and unemployable individuals who are factionless. Tris starts out as a demure Abegnate, who are conditioned always to put the needs for others before their own. Then there are the honest Candors, the intelligentsia, known as Erudite, the peace-making Amity and finally the thrill-seeking Dauntless, who value courage.
Each Faction is designed to instil conditioned virtues intended to correct the human evils responsible for war and social discord. Now only Abegnators may be in positions in power, because being devoid of ego, they are least likely to be corrupted by it.
Sounds like a good system and not really dystopic at all. But the worm of human evil within the apple is beginning to turn within some Factions.
Though long, this novel does not seen to flesh out the details of this future social order, nor what lead to it, nearly as much as readers such as myself might have wished for. What it does do, and with great efficiency, is to create a compulsive page-turner as this Tris negotiates the brutal combat training involved in her initiation into the warrior caste and then the traumatic mind simulations, designed to confront the initiates with their deepest fears to they can overcome these. It is all very dog-eat-dog as this is a process of ruthless elimination and is far removed from the Abegnation way of life as could be imagined.
Divergence includes a love interest too, who may or may not have secrets of his own to protect. The relationships does seem rather complicated by the fact that he is supposed to be one of her mentors.
Tris ruminates at times whether or not the training truly fosters truly courage in its candidates or whether her initiation isn't more to do with bullying. She certainly seems to end up becoming capable of acts of cruel violence herself, which may not endear hr as a heroine to some. Overall, this is a precipitously savage tale and heads do roll, especially at the end. Still - thus is supposed to be a dystopia and our heroine may have a destiny beyond what she already knows. Either way that may not much bother the adrenaline-fuelled kids who may lap this up, though.
Most young people will be confronted with the question on how far to accept or deny what they have grown up with, and maybe risking rejection from the culture that has fostered them so far, which us maybe why novels such as these address so well these angsts. It will be interesting to see how Tris's understanding of the world she lives in develops from here - if she can survive long enough to do so.
Oh, my. A book FULL of PROMISE. I love clever and detailed world-building, and I found plenty to love here. Of course, comparisons will be made to The Hunger Games as we have a some-what unlikely female protagonist—an underdog, even—in a dystopian world, but I don't feel that either book is lessened because the other exists.
Divergent probably breaks a lot of the accepted rules on pacing, and possibly even with regard to 'info dumping' but it woks because the author and readers are at play in a fantasy world, where a lot of words are required to set each new scene and stage. Also, the book is part one in a trilogy so the story arc will span right across the three which creates additional time to dally. That said, there is still a proper story with a beginning, middle and end, although it is clear the further instalments of the trilogy cannot be read as stand alone books.
I almost don't know what I want to say about it, except I found myself caught up in the world and really enjoying it. I cared less for the more dramatic parts as some of them read in a choreographed way and were a little telling but, for me, so much of the strength of this story lies in the rich detail of an imagined world that I will forgive almost anything else. The city becomes a character in its own right - a place I'd visit if it weren't quite so dangerous to be there.
The blossoming romance between the main characters was very sweet, and I hope they make their way through the following two books unscathed. I stumbled across a couple of things I didn't like, or that seemed unlikely - such as when Tris switched to calling Four by his real name with little second thought. This should have been more difficult for her (as it was for me) and I also found Tris borderline unlikeable at times. She acted both as a selfish child, and therefore a possibly believable naive sixteen-year-old but she also conformed to that richly mined trope of the orphaned (if not dead, parents for this trope are removed from the child by some other means) child in an adult world whom adults defer to for leadership decisions. A lot of the characters in the story are stereotypes, or tropes, but there are two further books to further define them and round them out, so I am happy for now.
I am happy to be able to move straight on to book two in the Trilogy (Insurgent) and learn some more about the world, and maybe even get some of my unanswered questions taken care of.
I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley from the publisher in return for an honest review.
Divergent is an enjoyable YA thriller. It's uncomplicated, unsophisticated, but chock full of enthusiasm and energy. It lacks the relative complexity of the Hunger Games (which it is obviously modelled upon) but even given the simplicity of the morality within it's a lot of fun to read. In many ways it makes me think of it as 'Uglies done right' - I really didn't like Uglies, which I thought had a lazy premise and a paper thin premise. But it had some interesting bones that a more competent execution could have built upon - Divergent really seems like it fills that niche. The factional system of Divergent is at least moderately believable, even if it lacks the geopolitical nuance of the Hunger Games. The characters are like-able, even though the villains don't get much in the way of characterisation beyond 'look how mean they are'. The story is - well, it's okay. It's much like Full Metal Jacket in that it's very much a book of two halves, and the second half doesn't come remotely close to the quality of the first. But I didn't resent a second I spent reading it, and I'll happily move on to the next one before too much time has passed.
“I feel like someone breathed new air into my lungs. I am not Abnegation. I am not Dauntless. I am Divergent.”
I bought this book about a year ago and starting reading it immediately. I don't know exactly what happened, whether I was distracted by something or simply forgot to carry on reading, but I never got further then the first 2 chapters. Since then I have never again got round to reading it until this week. I had been holing back, avoiding it for some reason, but I forced myself to read it, knowing that once I got into it, i was going to love it. I started reading it at about 10pm, I finished it at 2am.
If you have read and liked the Hunger Games, then this book is definitely for you. It;s not the same story, but its the same kind of theme. Dystopian world, segregated into desperate factions (districts in HG) and a strong female lead.
This book follows Tris as she leaves her faction and transfers to Dauntless. We follow her through her initiation and therefore get to watch her discover who she is and what she is capable off. I found her to be a likeable character, and she earns girl power points throughout the book when she starts to kick ass! Her romance interest, Four, is originally introduced to us as Tris' trainer, and its takes her a while to become aware to his feelings for her all the whilst we are shouting at our books for her to notice!. As part the initiation Tris and her friends must get put through simulations of their worst fears, but we also get to see Four's. The fact that he is not perfect and sightly vulnerable makes him even more love able.
The initiation process for Tris is extremely difficult and Roth writes her action and fight scenes so well that when I read it I could see everything that was happening with the action, in my head, as if I were watching a movie in my mind. I know that some people have complained that this book felt like one long initiation, but I really enjoyed it and didn't feel like it was dragged out at all. It was a good speed, flowed nicely and kept me pulled in for a good 4 hours until I had finished.
My one criticism of this book would be that the whole time you are reading this you can feel something building up, you know that something is going to happen, which is does, but then before you can get stuck into this big thing that has happened the book is over. I get that the story is going to carry on into the second book, but still, I all just happened a bit quick for my liking.
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Unusually I broke my general rule of not reading books that I've seen the movie of first. I saw Divergent on DVD over the Christmas break, and while I sort of enjoyed it I also picked some holes in it. The person that had brought the DVD told me that the book was better, and when I saw it advertised cheaper in paperback than on kindle I thought I'd give it a try.
I wasn't disappointed. Almost all of the things that had jarred with the movie were addressed properly in the book. The world built for the story makes more sense in the book than it does in the movie, largely because the movie needs to edit out some of the parts. That said there are still holes, like for example the Dauntless faction only taking ten new members annually, they'd need way more than that for the jobs they cover and the wastage rates they must have given their recklessness.
However, none of this gets in the way of a good story. I could empathise with both Tris and Four, and arithmetic aside I could get a society that worked on these lines. The flaws you can see when it is first described are the very things that the plot hangs on. The people are more than the stereotypes projected by the factions, helped by the primary group being transferees between factions, so they all have aspects of more than one. Also our divergent main character doesn't fit the pigeonhole.
Even if you hadnt seen the movie before reading it there are clues scattered through the story about what happens next and how it happens. For the most part they aren't obvious, although where they are it helps to build tension as you can't be sure exactly how it is going to work. The style is good too, the words are an easy read and they explain background in a way that drives the plot forward without indulging in data dumps.