Early 5bat! Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth
*This title will be released on May 3, 2011*
Author: Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent Trilogy #1
Cover Art: N/A
Genre: Dystopian YA
Source: Amazon Vine
Reviewed by: Abigail
- Reading level: Young Adult
- Hardcover: 496 pages
- Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (May 3, 2011)
- ISBN-10: 0062024027
- ISBN-13: 978-0062024022
Kissing. A non graphic sexual assault
Near Perfect – Buy two copies: one for you and one for a friend.
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.
(This is a Genre Swap review, which means it’s not a paranormal book, but should still appeal to paranormal fans)
Everybody and their dog is jumping on the dystopian bandwagon these days, some more successfully than others. No one has managed to dethrone THE HUNGER GAMES in my opinion, but books like DELIRIUM, WITHER, and ENCLAVE have all made strong contributions to the genre. DIVERGENT, the first in a planned trilogy, is yet another to add to that list of thoughtful, occasionally horrifying, but always exhilarating, dystopian debuts that I kept in a white-knuckled grip way into the wee hours of the night.
The dystopian world of DIVERGENT is basically like an expanded Sorting Ceremony from Harry Potter. All of society is divided up into five factions, each of whom prize a trait over all others. Upon turning sixteen, everyone is tested to determine aptitude and then must choose a faction for life. Those who value Bravery choose Dauntless, Selflessness choose Abnegation, Knowledge choose Erudite, Honesty choose Candor, and Peace choose Amity. Once you choose, you essentially shun the traits and members of the other factions, some more aggressively antagonist towards certain factions than others. Each faction controls a specific area of society best suited to that trait.
I found myself thinking about ENDER’S GAME by Orson Scott Card a lot while reading DIVERGENT. They both feature kids/teenagers plucked from their homes and forced to compete against one another in brutal training exorcises, both physical and emotional, designed to weed out the weak and prepare the fit for a life of fighting. The initiates, as they are called, quickly turn on each other in hopes of eliminating threats to their own success, because choosing a faction doesn’t necessarily mean that the faction will choose you. And being factionless is a fate worse than death.
Beatris, or Tris as she calls herself in her new faction, undergoes a magnificent transformation during her trials. She doesn’t have the physical prowess of most of the other initiates, and she is plagued by a secret that would mean her death if exposed. But she is smart, observant and determined. She struggles with her own conflicting emotions knowing that what she wants to do is often very different from what she’s supposed to do, what she must do in order to keep her secret. For me, Tris ends up displaying equal parts Katniss, Harry, and Ender in this action packed dystopian thriller that will enrage and delight readers in turn, like every good dystopian should.