2013 Reads: Ten {Divergent - Veronica Roth}

Monday, March 4, 2013

Okay, you guys. When someone tells you to read a book, you ought to listen to them. And when multiple people tell you to read a book? You really, really ought to listen to them. 

Friends and bloggers alike have been talking nonstop about this book to me for ages (or at least since it was published in the beginning of last year). I kept putting it off and putting it off. It's not that I was so over the seemingly non-stop string of YA dystopian novels that were coming out and being all the rage, but rather I just thought that needed a break from them in my reading queue. 

Don't get me wrong, I love me a good YA dystopian. A lot. I mean, I thought about borrowing it from a friend. I thought about borrowing it from the library. Finally, I broke down and bought it after a friend insisted that she only read it because I recommended it to her. And I hadn't read it yet? Crazy, right? And then it still sat on my shelf for a month.

Well, I should have listened to everyone sooner.


In the future city of Chicago, society is separated into five distinct factions with five distinct ideologies and manifestos. Each faction is dedicated to living life in search of perfecting a certain virtue:

Amity is for the peaceful. 
Erudite is for the knowledge-seekers. 
Dauntless is for the fearless. 
Abnegation is for the selfless. 
Candor is for the honest.

Faction before blood.

Beatrice Prior is a sixteen year old girl raised with her brother in the Abnegation by parents who are picture-perfect representatives of their faction. In the year when they turns sixteen, members of the society are gathered together for Appointment Day - the day when they must decide which faction they will devote themselves to for the rest of their lives. For many this is an easy decision - to stay with the faction that raised you under their values and morals. For Beatrice, it is not. She has a secret - one that could kill her. And her decision lies between remaining loyal to her family or to herself. 

Her choice even surprises herself.

And what follows is even more difficult than that decision. Initiation for her new faction is demanding and it transforms all who go through the process. Beatrice renames herself Tris. She is put through tests to challenge her mentally and physically. She learns about friendship, betrayal, love, and loss. 

And through it all, her secret is always in the back of her mind. As the situation in her seemingly perfect society seems to grow worse, Tris discovers that her secret could help her save herself and those she loves. Or, it could kill her.


Divergent by Veronica Roth is, yes, another Dystopian Fantasy Yuong Adult Novel. 

And, yes, every YA dystopian novel will be forever compared to The Hunger Games.

Personally? I don't think that's fair at all. But it is what it is. Any new book about witchcraft will forever be compared to Harry Potter. But this book is nothing like The Hunger Games. In fact, they're worlds apart. Their only similarity is that they're both classified in the same genre. So, comparisons can end there. It may even potentially surpass The Hunger Games in my mind. Because? This book? Is pretty amazing. It's a keep you up way too late at night just to see what happens sort of book. 

It has everything you can ask for in a dystopian novel: amazing sense of world-building (what the world looks like, how it got there, how life there is different than now); scary power/political struggle (who has it, who wants it); strong and fierce yet soft and approachable leading lady; unknown allegiances between friends; mysterious love interest; and so, so much more. 

And no love triangle (at least yet, with the first novel in the series). Which is refreshing for a YA novel these days.

I absolutly love Beatrice/Tris. I would probably rank her as my favorite heroine of a book in recent years. She's just so real. Not pretty, not perfect, not the top of her game at everything she does. She embodies so many things that I think a leading lady should have. Tris's balance between bravery and selflessness makes her a unique and powerful character. The merging of her Dauntless and Abnegation tendencies made her real, and gritty, and approachable. And she is so honorable in her actions. She was fearless, but she wasn't reckless. She was a fighter, but she needed a reason. She was tough, but her softness kept her grounded. I can see why those involved in this story would be worried about her! 

And Four? I loved him too. He's so dark and twisty and mysterious. And he's caring and sweet and compassionate. And then he's gritty and ruthless and fierce. And oh-so-vulnerable. And when you realize just why Four is the way he is? It makes everything from so many parts of the book come together for me in this moment of perfect understanding. 

It was a predictable romance, for sure, but Roth kept us guessing. I was never quite sure if she was going to take that leap and bring these two amazing characters together. I was always: Will she do it? Will she not do it? And I found that refreshing as well. Four was there. There was a romance involved in the book. But it wasn't the driving force of the novel. And that? That I loved and admired Roth for doing. 

I am still kicking myself for not starting this book sooner. The world and the factions and the characters that Roth has created are fascinating.  It is a suspenseful, page-turning read that never slows down. Roth doesn't give information away easily either. I had my suspicions, and some of them even turned out to be right, but they're not predictable by any means. The big secrets are revealed when Roth wants you to know them. And even then, she makes you work for them. She keeps you on your toes waiting for that moment when all the pieces fit together in your head. And when they do? Mind. Blown. 

It was seriously a great read - I can't stop thinking about what happened in this book and can't stop thinking about what is going to happen in Insurgent. It's hard for me to believe that this is a debut novel for an author. If the trend with people's writing and storytelling improving with each book holds true for Roth as well, the next books in this series are going to be phenomenal. 

So, what say you? Have you read Divergent? And/Or Insurgent? How do you feel about Veronica Roth's dystopian landscape? What about Tris or Four? Or anyone else for that matter? Talk to me!

Title: Divergent (Divergent #1)
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: YA; Dystopian; Fantasy
Recommended For: Middle School +, Dystopian YA lovers
Medium: Paperback, 487p
Date Read: 4 March 2013
Source: Purchased, January 2013
Challenges: Goodreads

First Line: There is one mirror in my house.
Favorite Line: We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that dives one person to stand up for another. 
Runner-Up Favorite Line: Politeness is deception in pretty packaging. 
Last Line: I suppose that now, I must become more than either. [whited out, for spoiler's sake]


  1. I loved both books! And I can't wait for the 3rd one and the movie that's sure to follow. The first book definitely reminds of The Giver (which I love as well).

  2. absolutely loved divergent and insurgent and cannot wait for the third book! awesome series!


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