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Thursday, November 24, 2011

YA Dystopian: "Divergent" by Veronica Roth Recommended!

Published by:  Katherine Tegan Books/Harper Collins Publishers
Pages:  487
Genre:  YA Fiction, Dystopian

The Dame's Review :

"Divergent" is arguably one of the YA novels I was most curious about this past year.  I kept holding off reading it like a gift I wanted to wait to unwrap until a special time; then I realized the year was coming to an end!  I'm glad I picked it up last weekend and read it...devoured it, is more like it.

In summary, the story centers around a teen aged protagonist, Beatrice, who is of the important age when she can choose which "faction" or lifestyle she will live and work within for the rest of her life.  Of these factions, there are these:  Abnegation, which values selflessness; Candor, which values frankness/honesty; Erudite, which values knowledge; Amity, which is a faction concerned with working for peace and compatibility; the "factionless" who have not qualified for any factions so are poor and perform the most menial of jobs, and Dauntless, the brave and bold--the fierce fighters. 

Beatrice was born into an Abnegation family but never felt at home within the confines of that restrictive environment, and looks forward to her time of reassignment, albeit with a heavy heart with concerns about hurting her parents and brother.

When the test administrators come to her school and give her a "stimulation" inoculation to determine her most appropriate faction placement, Beatrice is pulled aside and told she is something called "Divergent" ~ one who could fit in to several factions ~ and something which is never to be shared with anyone at anytime, ever.  It is a dangerous thing to be. She is told that to protect her, her test will be made unclear to those it's reported to, and that she should simply choose a faction she feels most inclined to...Abnegation and Daunting, and Erudite being where she scores.

What follows is the story about Beatrice's choice to join the Daunting faction, her initiation within that faction, her love interest, and her wisdom gained that will conclude with a surprise that will bring all the factions into play.

As a dystopian novel, I felt that "Divergent" was fairly successful. Its creation of a futuristic society that had been partitioned into different "factions" to carry on a world which had an apparent catastrophic ending, was believable.  Although the setting played at being in a destroyed, futurist Chicago, we have only a few hints to discern that; and, we are not given any knowledge as to what caused the destruction of the "world" or the United States.  I felt at a loss for that information.

The initiation section of the book was excellent in concept, but it seemed to take up too much of the story content, in my opinion.  It could have been compressed to lend as much impact; possibly more impact. It began to belabor the story, but was pulled out just in time to move on to a conclusion, thankfully.  The conclusion, however, seemed rushed in contrast.  Possibly the author was cut short by editors, but the ending of her book failed to tie things together well enough to answer questions that seemed pertinent to this particular story.  It seemed abrupt, to me.

There is no doubt that Veronica Roth can write a story that is intriguing and full-bodied.  She writes one with interest and good character building. I felt as if her characters were realistic and captivating, personal and probable within her world-setting.  They engender a caring response, and an understandable connectedness to each other within the novel.  I think these are her strong points, and very immediate ones, ultimately making "Divergent" a good book to read. Nothing better than an author who can create great characters we can attach ourselves to!

I would recommend this book to YA readers, and to many adult readers who enjoy dystopian novels. With the small exceptions I've mentioned that do not in any way take from her overall presentation of a worthy novel, this is quite the entertaining book!

While the story is left unresolved, I expect a second book to conclude it, making this a series. Personally, I'll be looking forward to reading it.

4 stars and a choice of Erudite for my faction...



Jenna and Ashley

This is a great review, Deb! I agree with you; the ending did feel a bit rushed. I also agree with the fact that you can relate to the characters. I thought Four had many sides, and it was interesting to discover each one, whether it was shy, humble, curious, sweet. I also like Beatrice's brother. I gave this one 4.5 because it just couldn't compare to The Hunger Games in my mind.
I'm looking at your bookshelf to the right, and I can't wait to hear your thoughts on Dark Eden! I love Patrick Carman:)
-Jenna @ Fans of Fiction (new follower)
Thanks for stopping by my blog. Your comment was really nice. I agree, we seem to have the same taste in books!

Tribute Books

I always wonder too what exactly happened to the world in all of these dystopian novels? What was the cause that destroyed the world? I guess it's best left to the imagination.

I agree, I was looking forward to reading "Divergent" too - and it did not disappoint!


I liked Divergent, but I have to say that I was a left a little flat at the end. It could be because I have been riding a high since last year after reading, no, devouring The Hunger Game trilogy last year. And I LOVED The Hunger Games! With Divergent, I liked the concept of the "factions", but thought the author could have done a better job of explaining how they got to that point in their society. In the beginning of the book, before the Beatrice went through the simulation and choosing ceremony, she was at school going to Faction History. The author could have used that as an opportunity to give the reader more background and explain the factions more. Instead it as just mentioned as another class, so she could have said she was going to Math or English class. I was also dissappointed that they focused so much on the Dauntless Faction so it left me not really understanding why Euridite wanted so badly to oust the Abnagation leaders. Also, what about Amity and the factionless? Where were they in all of this? I hope that the sequel will answer some of these questions.

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