In a future Chicago, 16-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.
Divergent was an action-packed, exciting adventure read. And while it was 1) far from perfect and 2) not my ideal dystopian, it was such a great story to flick through as I journeyed through the world of Future Chicago with Tris, and more often than not, I found myself gripping to my Kindle with a slightly scary ferocity as I turned the pages of this book hungrily.
I think the main reason for this book's success is the suspense and the action-packed tale. The future society that the author envisions really isn't realistic. I can't see our current world heading this way, being divided into factions. One of the main problems I had with this book was how the factions came to be. This bothered me right through the book--what would drive our society today into doing something like this? A huge war? An 'uprising'? We are really given no explanation, and I like plausible dystopias that make me think about the world, our governments, and where we're headed towards. Divergent didn't really do that.
The romance between Tris and Four was sweet, but it wasn't really what I was looking for. And while I don't really enjoy heavy handed romance, especially in a dystopia (think Matched), I think the story had the potential for a painful, beautiful, moving romance, in a Peeta-and-Katniss way. And a few scenes did that--I was particularly moved by the part where they were sitting together and Tris made an observation about how if things had turned out just a little differently, they might've been together in Abnegation, their future completely planned out and less uncertain. But for the most part, it just felt...cute. Nothing more.
I felt like there wasn't enough explanation for what a Divergent really was, but maybe there will be more in the next few books. And while I understand that a Divergent is someone who possesses qualities from each of the factions, how are they created? Is there something different about their brain? Somehow something was different when they were born? More explanations is something I'm definitely hoping for in the next book.
Now onto the good, and there are a lot of good parts. Divergent reminded me of The Hunger Games in the best possible way. It had some amazing action scenes, and I really gasped when Tris went up that tall building with the born Dauntless (no spoilers though!). The action scenes, the violence, the fights, and the thrill of being Dauntless really hit me in a big way, and I think Veronica Roth really has a talent for writing.
There weren't any flowery descriptions crammed in throughout the book and no info-dumping from what I was able to pick up. What I loved was that the author concentrated on the most powerful part of her writing--pure action--and the rest just seemed to fit into place like a puzzle. There were so many quotable lines, and I think they are so quotable because the writing is simple and effective.
While I thought the characterisation was excellent, there could've been more. I dislike books where villains are just straight villains with nothing more to them, and I'm getting that sort of vibe from the villains in this story. I'd like some more backstory, some more explanations. Despite all this, I thought Tris was an amazing narrator for the story, and unlike most YA books where I get irritated with the main character at some point in the story, I never did with her. She is portrayed as a thoroughly real person, a real character, and I loved that.
Overall, Divergent was an excellent read. If you're a fan of The Hunger Games, you'll love this. With a light romance, adrenaline-rushing action scenes, a badass heroine, and really effective writing, Divergent is a book I'd recommend to all adventure lovers. Four stars, and I've already pre-ordered the sequel. You know you can't go wrong with that ;P
It was good