To calculate the overall star rating and percentage breakdown by star, we don’t use a simple average. Instead, our system considers things like how recent a review is and if the reviewer bought the item on Amazon. It also analyses reviews to verify trustworthiness.
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.
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.
Roth’s series has hit the mainstream at precisely the right time commercially. With the latest Hunger Games film fresh out in cinemas, the masses are primed for stories featuring strong futuristic females that topple authoritarian extremes.
I had heard of the series before the film was released, and seeing a reduced box set of the books in a discount retailer, I decided to give it a try. Having thoroughly enjoyed The Hunger Games novels, I was prepared to find this trilogy entertaining also; and my hunch proved correct. There are definite similarities that seem to jump out at you, but I do not wish to use Suzanne Collins’ vision as the yardstick for all dystopian novels. The dystopian genre existed long before Katniss strung her bow; and as a theme that will always resonate strongly with society’s youth, there will be future books written with dystopian themes until the end of days.
Divergent introduces us to a society in which you are born into a faction, or categorization of people, but you are free to choose a different way of life once you come of age. The faction you belong to determines your role within society, and once you have chosen the decision is binding. The factions adhere to a very one-dimensional set of rules. You wear your chosen trait like a badge and must never deviate from that prescribed way of thinking. To do so would result in you becoming “factionless”; dwelling on the outskirts of society, an unfortunate beggar for the rest of your life.
Some, however, break with this unyielding categorization. Some have thoughts and emotions that do not represent a clear casting in which to be molded. These “divergent” members of society are viewed as dangerous. They could shatter the order of things with their deviant minds and overthrow the system that has otherwise functioned so seamlessly. While preparing for her ritualistic “choosing” ceremony, Beatrice is told that she is among the “divergent”. Her mind does not prescribe to an easy categorization. Beatrice is told to guard this secret upon fear of death. She must act in accordance with the rules. She must align herself with a faction.
At this point in the novel, I began to question why there were not a great many more people like Beatrice. It is one thing to hide your inklings that something is very wrong with a certain way of life; either through cowardice or self-preservation. It is another to find that the indisguisable readings of hundreds of people’s minds are never non-conformant. Surely this futuristic society has not quelled the human spirit completely. There must be more than just one mind which does not just blindly accept.
As the story develops, that question and more is addressed. The book ends in such a way that you simply cannot wish to not read on.
I did very much enjoy it, even at its most predictable. Young Adult books are enjoying a huge success at the moment, and that comes with surpassing the boundaries of the genre. When adults choose to read these novels previously dismissed as “teenage fluff”, then the author knows they have honed in upon success.
I wonder how the movie compares, but I am not holding my breath. I shall read the next volume regardless of the taste left in my mouth from the cinematic experience. We must remember to judge books upon their own merit, and not the quality of franchise that they duly inspire.
All the fuss about the book passed me by, which is a pity because this is excellent. Now I'm torn... do I read the other two books in the trilogy first or wait for the movies and read the books afterwards? The movie was pretty faithful to the book, though the book adds a little clarity to the reasons behind some of the motivation and decisions taken.
Direct comparisons with the Hunger Games are going to be difficult to avoid, you only need to check out the reviews that say: move over Katniss and make way for Tris. Well, in a way it's a fair comment, but there's more going on her than a knock down-drag out fight to the bloody and bitter end. Beatrice (Tris) is a member of Abnegation, one of the five factions of a future dystopian Chicago a hundred years or more after some unnamed war. Everyone is shoehorned into one of the five factions which are based on their signature character trait. Abnegation are selfless and therefore the governing faction. Dauntless are brave; Erudite are intelligent; Candor speak the truth, and Amity are peaceful. Those who don't fit are factionless, i.e. homeless, jobless, worthless street-people.
But the Divergent don't fit either. They are a little bit of everything and as such regarded as dangerous, maybe because they have the capability to do a little joined-up thinking. Anyone found to be Divergent is likely to end up dead.
SOME PLIOT-ELEMENT SPOILERS AHEAD:
When tested at 16, Tris doesn't fit into any one faction and, warned to keep that information to herself, chooses Dauntless over her birth faction of Abnegation, thus beginning a gruelling training programme to learn how to be brave, physically and mentally. It's difficult, but she eventually makes the grade due to her own efforts and the tough-love attitude of her instructor, Four.
But that's only part of the story. Erudite is plotting to overthrow Abnegation and a smear campaign is followed by a coup which Tris must thwart to prevent her family being murdered and her friends unwittingly becoming murderers.
This includes elements of a love story (though it's not really a romance) and political intrigue while exploring the tropes of identity, destiny and self-determination. It's a rights of passage story with some tightly written action set-pieces and some interesting character studies. Four, as the love-interest, has secrets that are only gradually revealed.
It's written in first person present, which actually works in this case. Tris at times seems older than sixteen and Four seems way older than eighteen. More like eighteen going on twenty-eight. I look forward to seeing how both characters develop in the next book.
I had this book on my Kindle for some time but I recently saw the film trailer on TV and it reminded me to read the book, so I did. I had no great expectations with this book, I had heard it compared to The Hunger Games (which I loved) and I figured it had to be pretty good for someone to bother making it into a film, so I started the book with a completely open mind.
The story starts in a dystopia Chicago where people have divided into five factions after a devastating war to keep the peace. These five factions are Amity (The Peaceful), Dauntless (The Brave), Abnegation (The Selfless), Erudite (The Intelligent) and Candour (The Honest). Children are born into a faction with their parents but must choose their final faction in their 16th year or they will be factionless, poor people who walk aimlessly relying on other faction members for hand-outs. We follow Beatrice, soon to be christened Tris, who changes factions, swapping from selfless Abnegation to the dangerous but brave Dauntless as she embarks on this new journey through a very politically-charged battlefield.
I loved the concept and idea behind this book and I also enjoyed the style of writing. The story is told from Tris’ point of view and we observe her observations and feeling with her. I felt that the characters we very well written and easy to follow and like. The writing style is simple but this is expected with a YA book. I found myself drawn into the story and I really cared about the outcome. I felt that the last part of the book seemed a bit rushed after a period of nothing mush happening but it didn’t detract from the enjoyment for me. I will continue to read the rest of the series.
Okay so I'm either going to upset everyone or I'm just going to be quietly agreed with but I couldn't give this amazing book a full rating because I find that once again, you can tell the author was a female American simply from the romantic relationship between the two main characters. I'm not saying that anyone over 16 should be fornicating away or that I required anything of a 'sexual' scene, what annoyed me was that the book was so different, so story based then the romance hit the 'same as everyone else' with the main females fumbling conversation about assuming the leading male had slept around and she wasn't ready.. It's not that I couldn't believe that in this world, or anywhere for that matter, there aren't many young women/girls that aren't ready and need to say this, it's just the WAY it was done reminded me of every other book I've read of this genre and sucked away that special difference this book had over others. Now that I've got the pet-peeve out the way, I can't wait to read the others in the series and only hope that the last book isn't as disappointing as the final Hunger Games was. I really liked the people we came across in this book, I liked the main characters, although I did find two certain deaths a little underwritten emotionally, but maybe that's part of the era this book is written in, therefore allowing me to read over this fact a little easier. I liked the relationships and the world that was created, the sinister and evil in the world we are reading about it believable and clever, something that is easily read and understood as something that could feasibly happen rather than being silly. Definitely worth a delve in to and can't wait to start on the second in the series.
I couldn't really decide if I liked Divergent or not. To me most of the book was just her training, while written well, was not compelling reading. It did get more interesting towards the end of the novel when the plot actually starts to develop, but it feels like too little, too late.
I was also confused by the description that Tobias had a "spare upper lip"! It created a very amusing picture in my head, which I don't think was the effect that the author was going for.
In book two Tobias's mother is described as having a spare upper lip too, which again made me laugh! I stuck with this trilogy as I was assured it got better and it does. The plot develops and I could see that the storyline was actually going somewhere in this installment.
However, Tris gets more annoying as the story unfolds. She is so insecure even though everything she does seems to work out well. Anything she tries she can do!I know I have sidestepped reality reading this book, but I would like a central character that I could relate to.
My review gets 4 stars for book 3 alone. I had to get through book 1 and 2 and book 3 was my reward. The characters have been described in so much detail in the previous books that I actually cared about the group dynamics and how their relationships were evolving.
I loved the storyline; I thought it was well thought out and the level of detail was superb. I was emotionally involved with the characters at the end of the book and wanted to know what happened to them.
Do not let anyone ruin the end for you! Well worth a read.
The plot is really fast paced making it an easy read. The concept is interesting, if not entirely believable. I went between "the book is amazing" being catch by the emotional part of the story, feeling as would I be one of the characters to "does this make any sense?" ... There is so much action that you don't have the time to stop and think about it. I found problematic the use of serums and simulations with no explanation about how and how long it works, the division into factions, the faction less people and other things... As I could switch my rational part off and just enjoy the action I couldn't stop to read it. I imagined that all of this happens in another world where this all could make sense and that all this "human beings" in the story are not like "human beings" on Earth. I give it 4 stars because there is something...something that makes you keep reading and ignore your mind or questions Maybe there is a kind of serum between the lines that makes you flip the pages in a reading frenzy.
This was a gripping novel that I read in just over a day. As a novel that is for young adults the writing is easy and flows well. This means you can accelerate through the book at speed.
The characters are well written and the constant twists and turns allows you to constantly second guess who is on what side. The characters personalities change constantly. Just when you think you know who you can trust with the story everything changes and you have to reevaluate your views. There is also some romance written into the novel which again is enough to keep you interested but not so much it has you reaching for the bucket.
I like the underlying messages that the author tries to put over with this book. The idea of leaving your family for another faction really hit a nerve with me as it reminded me of the foster care system. Young people being removed from their family removed to another area and having to adapt to a new family / faction.
If I have one criticism of this book I would like to have explored what caused the idea of factions to occur. I am hoping as the novels progress with find out more about the history of this world. Having loved this novel however, I felt I could only give it 4 stars as it did not really rock my world as much as other books in this genre such as The Hunger Games.