Author: Veronica Roth
Goodreads Rating: 4.40
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
Pages: 487 pages
This book has been blowing up my recommendations page and just happened to be another book club book. I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to stomach another YA Dystopian book, It would appear that this type of writing has taken off lately, between the Hunger Games, Maze Runner, Shatter Me, and a whole host of other series that are centered around the idea that the world is going to change in the future. Clearly I was pleased with this book, and think that there are actually a lot of lessons that could be learned in this book.
Synopses from Goodreads:
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.
My review after the jump!
This book was a lot of fun, but not in the traditional sense. In this book, we are introduced to Beatrice who feels conflicted about not belonging in her "faction" which is all about selflessness. Before the "Choosing Ceremony", all of the students go through a stimulation which reveals the faction that they are meant for. When Beatrice finds out that her results are "inconclusive" she discovers that this also means that she is Divergent. Little more is told to her other than she needs to keep that quiet otherwise she would die.
This book kept me up late because I couldn't stop hitting the page turner. I really enjoyed the action in this book as opposed to the characterizations. Beatrice, who changes her name to Tris as she enters her new faction. She is characterized as not very pretty, and childish looking although she is 16, both of those points are made so often in the book, its hard to forget, and is a little annoying. I admired her ability to conform to her being a Dauntless which requires a certain level of recklessness and fearlessness. When she joins she makes friends with Christina, a Candor transfer, Will, an Erudite transfer, and Al, another Candor transfer). You can see how growing up in their original factions impacts them and their decisions.
Then there is Four, the groups trainer who need to train this hapless group how to shoot, how to fight and how to be mentally prepared for battle. Four (which got really confusing, really fast because I kept waiting for something to come after Four, but it was just his name.) is older and attractive and seems to have a soft spot for little Tris. This too was a little irritating when you added together the not so attractive Tris who is wanted by the dark and mysterious Four. Someone else pointed out how these cookie cutter characters have been running around in literature these days. I complained about that same type of characters in Beautiful Disaster, and I would have been a hypocrite not to here.
The training that Tris and her friends undergo for several weeks is eventually learning how to take a punch but still bounce back. On a few occasions Tris has the life beaten out of her and still had to face the people that kicked her while she was down. What was shocking was the cruelty that was displayed not only by the leader, Eric, who was probably a diagnosable psychopath. Eric, who was the Dauntless protege, forced Christina to dangle over a nearly 200 foot drop after having the snot beat out of her- yeah, I would say he was crazy.
At the end of the book, Erudite decided to use Dauntless to try to take over the government. There was a lot of action that happened when that happened and it all started in the last hundred or so pages. This is the type of action I was going to expect to come in the next book, but alas, it started in this one. I thought that in doing that, readers weren't given a chance to really bond with some of the characters killed off in those pages.
There wasn't a lot of background information provided about how we got to be factions, or really much else about how the factions worked. I'm hoping that in the next two books, we will get more information about these factions and the history of what happened. It was an entertaining book, and I would for sure continue with the series.
Reviewing this book was hard because most of the book was explanation. I also think that I held back when I wrote this review because before I had started to read the book, I saw a review that gave it one star, but I wouldn't read that because I didn't want to be accidentally spoiled. After I finished this book, but before I wrote this, I read that review and it somewhat altered my take on this book. I originally gave it five stars, not four, and I thought that since this blog is about my opinion, it wouldn't be fair.
That being said, after it was pointed out to me that this review was more summary than review I felt I owed it to you to try again, so here are some more added notes:
What made this book fun for me was the idea of overcoming your fears which was the goal of the Dauntless. While the goal was not to totally overcome your fears, it was hard not to face a lot of them climbing a ferris wheel, walking across a glass floor that hovers hundreds of feet in the air, or walking on a thin walkway with no railing to the side meaning that you could fall off at any moment (in fact someone does, and they break their leg). The idea of being trained to be a badass was what excited me the most. I liked how she brought those scenes to life.
Thinking more on this I really think that the fight that was started should have been saved for the next book, all it did was drag on the book. Yes, it was built up to through the entire book, but I felt like it was rushed through way too fast. Three important people to Tris were killed and then that was it. There was no dwelling on the dead or mention of other key characters, although maybe thats the fun in wondering what became of them. While we do know that there is a mean streak to Tris, I'm not sure I liked how it showed as she shot Peter without a second thought.
I know that this wasn't much more, but I hope that this was able to make up for not really offering a review. I am open, not only to recommendations, but also to constructive criticism, so if you think there is more I could do tell me!