Friday, 8 November 2013

Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

She turns to face the future in a world that's falling apart

It has been a long time since I blogged again due to having some time off for my tonsillectomy. Thankfully I have made it through to the other side and am now pretty much recovered. During my recovery I actually struggled to concentrate quite enough to read a lot but the Saturday before my surgery (a very lazy day) I feverishly read Veronica Roth’s dystopian novel Divergent.

I had been waiting to read this story for quite a while having had both students and adults rave about it to me. This story is another one to add to your list if you are a fan of the dystopian worlds. In this society people are born into factions and when they get to 16 they must take a test. This test determines what faction suits them best based on their character traits.  There are five factions you can be part of these are, Candor: honesty, Abnegation: selflessness, Dauntless: bravery, Amity: peacefulness and Erudite: intelligence. Beatrice is the female lead and initially we see her as part of the Abnegation faction where she was born and raised. However Beatrice gets inconclusive test results meaning that she is Divergent. This is something she is warned never to reveal and on the day of her choosing she makes a choice that will change her life for ever. Reinventing herself as Tris she takes to her new life with ferocious energy and a thirst to prove herself.

This story is breathtaking in its construction. I am going to try not to gush about every aspect of this book but I was hooked from the first chapter and I literally couldn't put it down! This book is the start of a trilogy but it doesn't feel like that. Roth wastes no time over explaining the society she has created. Instead the story is much more character driven and we learn about the world from Beatrice’s perspective.  I have read a few reviews that criticise the implausibility of Roth’s society, personally I cannot think of one YA dystopian story I have read so far where the society is actually likely to become a reality so I don’t think this is a valid criticism. Furthermore, the story is so well written that I didn't find myself questioning whether the society was possible.

The character of Tris is written with fierce adrenalin and most of her scenes are full of the action that I often find is missing in the other dystopian novels I have read. Roth does spend a lot of time creating climatic scenes that leave you biting your nails off but these scenes are more character shaping then story shaping. The actual main story doesn't start to over a third of the way in where we discover that a faction is hell-bent on starting a war with the other factions to change the way the society is ruled. However, even though it is late getting to this part of the story the pace of the high octane scenes with Tris and her fellow cohorts is so punchy and enjoyable to read it’s worth the wait. My only personal niggle is Roth kills two quite lovable characters towards the end of the book and for me Tris just doesn't react to it, she’s complete void of emotion in these scenes and I found that a bit too cold for the character. That said I still found myself rooting for her all the same.  

For me personally I would highly recommend this book. I am very much looking forward to reading the rest of the series now they have all been released. 

Couldn't put it down!

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