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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.
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.
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.
“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.
As I write there are so many review already, so why am I writing another? Because I love this book and it is one of my favourites so far this year. 'Divergent' is a brilliant story and is well written. It grips from the first line - ''There is one mirror in my house''. By the end of page one, you know that the narrator is at odds with her world - ''(My mother) is well practiced in the art of losing herself. I can't say the same about myself.'' This is re-enforced later - ''When I look at the Abnegation lifestyle as an outsider, I think it's beautiful...It's only when I try to live it myself that I have trouble.'' I loved Tris the small girl with big heart who is more a product of her upbringing than she realises; and I found the fragility of the friendships she made interesting as they echo the fragility of her society. The story moves along at a cracking pace, not unlike Tris zipping down the Hancock building on a wire, and there are some wonderful emotive descriptions - ''the Hub - emerges from the fog, a black pillar in the skyline'', ''A pale ring of sunlight burns into the clouds like the end of a lit cigarette'', ''A look I can only describe as Dauntless mania enters his eyes, but rather than recoil from it,...I catch it like it's contagious'', ''My heart beats so hard it hurts, and I can't scream and I can't breathe, but I also feel everything, every vein and every fiber, every bone and every nerve, all awake and buzzing in my body as if charged with electricity,. I am pure adrenaline.'' - (Tris zipping down the Hancock building). This book is a heck of a ride and I recommend it.
I've been meaning to read this series for ages, but I kept putting it off. Until I sat and watched the film. As soon as the end credits rolled, i bought the first book on Kindle and began reading. I like a well written YA Dystopia. I devoured The Hunger Games in a few days. Since then, I haven't really found a dystopian series to grab me in the same way - The Maze Runner was ok, but not brilliant, in my mind.
Then I started Divergent.
I won't go into all the factions and what they represent in society, that's explained better than I ever could in the book, but throughout, I kept thinking that it was entirely plausible. A good dystopian makes the reader think "what if?" or "What would I do in that situation?", and like The Hunger Games, Divergent did just that. Although, as much as I loved The Hunger Games, I think I preferred Divergent because the characters are limited into one city rather than spread across an entire country. The fence and their education encourages them not to leave. Fear is instilled into every person in all factions.
I think the main draw of this book is Tris. She's meek, mild, and unsure of who she is. Thanks to the 1st person POV, we as readers, alongside Tris, learn about the world she lives in. We grow with her as she moves through her Dauntless training, gets stronger, finds loves, and realises there's more to the city she calls home, than anyone ever realised.
That's not to say she is the prefect character. Far from it. She makes stupid choices, sometimes for the right reasons, but most of the time her emotions lead her.
Then there is Four. A Dauntless instructor.
He keeps himself to himself, yet is drawn to Tris. He helps her when she becomes that little bit too cocky or reckless. He is not your typical swoonworthy book boyfriend, but there is something about him that draw us, the reader, and Tris to him.
A solid start, with excellent world building, Roth has created believeable characters such as Will, Christina, Al, Peter, and the others who we relate to, love, hate, and laugh with. They live in a world that could quite possibly be in our future, one we hope would never come to pass. The serums and the simulations that the Dauntless initiates face are absolutely fascinating.
The moment I finished the last page, I picked up the second book.
This dystopian thriller gets off to a slow start and has a lot of violence. Despite that I'm rating it highly. We see a future Chicago which sits on a marsh instead of Lake Michigan (so why no mosquitoes? No water birds? No frogs? No beavers? I really want to know what happened, but I don't suppose it was pretty) with many abandoned and derelict buildings. The young people we meet just take the landscape for granted although they are aware that life used to be different. Following some major event, society reorganised with a separation among five factions. We start with Beatrice in a grey-wearing, quiet, selfless family, like the Amish people except that their faction Abegnation gets to run the city. Nobody else is trusted with this work.
The other factions are: Dauntless, a swaggering, risk-taking, aggressive group which provides any protection needed, not that we know of any reason why it is needed. Amity, of which we hear little except that they promote friendship instead of anger and do the farming. Erudite, which worships knowledge and provides teachers. Candor, which speaks the truth, provides law and sees the world in black and white. Aged sixteen, the young people each have to choose a faction, which seems unfair given that people change throughout their lives. Many choose their family life but Beatrice and her brother Caleb each want different paths. Caleb becomes Erudite and Beatrice, just like almost every teenager, wants some excitement in her life and goes for Dauntless.
Changing her name to Tris and wearing black are two of the more minor changes; the rest include jumping on and off moving trains, learning to throw punches and take them, living in a cavern-like den and not knowing if she can trust anyone. Because the new recruits have a contest and only the top marked will pass. The rest will become factionless to live on the streets and do basic work. If she'd known, she might not have chosen Dauntless, given she's up against teens who grew up in this intense environment. The violence and bullying begin. There are some particularly nasty scenes. The instructors are slightly older lads, one nasty, one calm. I would have thought some actual senior people would be trainers, like army sergeants. But this is to work in a love interest.
I really enjoyed the zipline off a hundred-story building. I've been to Chicago and yes, I'd love to do a zipline. There are some other good scenes involving the structure of the dying city.
Told in present tense like Hunger Games, and similarly never mentioning any periods because that would make boys drop the book, normal though they are for girls, Divergent worryingly promotes getting weird tattoos and piercings at an early age. Well, nobody seems to have a reason to save money. The tale winds around a paranoia of Tris's that because her aptitude test showed she was Divergent - not ideally suited to any faction - she is in danger if anyone knows. Her mental makeup helps her pass virtual tests of danger but she has to train hard for the physical ones. And when we see the whole opera come together, with all the dropped hints about friction between two factions and various tensions, the dangers and tragedies, the crescendo does seem worth the slow early movements.
I have a lot of questions and fear I'll have to go to the next book or two for the answers. But mainly I want to know, what happened to change the world?
Yes I am very late to the Divergent party and having now finished this book last night I really wish I had been punctual and read it when it originally came out! I am absolutely hooked to the Divergent world and the book was literally unputdownable. I am already halfway through the second book
Insurgent (Divergent, Book 2)
which I only started last night after finishing Divergent and wow the series impossibly is getting better the more I read. If you are a fan of YA and dystopian and are one of the rare few like me who haven't yet read Divergent then I highly recommend the series and urge you to read it. One other thing is that I normally always read the book before I watch the film but in this instance I ended up watching the film first and I have to say well done to the producers who have (unlike many films of highly popular books) actually stuck to the book with only a few minor theatrical changes/add ins.
The book is set in a post apocalyptic Chicago where the survivors have split into five groups or factions as they call them:-
Abnegation for the selfless Dauntless for the brave Erudite for the intellectual Candor for the honest Amity for the peaceful
Beatrice Prior is a member of abnegation but had never felt that she belonged there as she doesn't feel she is selfless enough especially when compared to her parents and brother Caleb. Each year all 16 year old's take an aptitude test by way of a simulation scenario which determines which faction they belong to and then they can either choose to stay with their current faction or choose to join another. If they choose to join another faction they leave their family behind and have no contact with them as the city's motto is "Faction before Blood". When Beatrice takes her test it shows that she has an aptitude for three factions; Abnegation, Dauntless and Erudite and the woman administering the test advises Beatrice that this is very dangerous and she must not tell anyone her results. On the choosing day Caleb shocks Beatrice and her family by choosing Erudite but Beatrice still makes the choice that she wants to make and chooses Dauntless. Beatrice later finds out that she is Divergent which is a very dangerous thing to be as Divergent's don't tend to live long in Dauntless and so she has to work to hide this through the initiation process. Beatrice changes her name to Tris on entry to Dauntless and it is her that she meets her instructor Four and they seem to have some sort of link to each other. Only the top ten initiates make it into Dauntless and their initiation process is the hardest of all of the factions so can Tris make it into Dauntless and hide that she is Divergent and is there something between her and Four and what is he hiding himself?
An absolutely amazing read and I have been drawn into the world of Divergent and don't want to come back out. I absolutely love the character's Tris and Four and love the world that Veronica Roth has built. I have read some amazing books this year and this one is right up there with the best ones. I am already halfway through Insurgent which has a few shock turns in it to say the least and I am dreading reading Allegiant as know that this will mean the end of the Divergent roller-coaster. A must read book for fans of YA and Dystopian.