Saturday, May 19, 2012

Divergent - Review

Divergent (Divergent, # 1)

By: Veronica Roth

Published By: 2011 by Katherine Tegen Books

487 Pages

Source: Paperback

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

*Note: The above links to Amazon and Book Depository are affiliate links. Affiliate links support giveaways for Somewhere Only We Know readers.

Goodreads Description—In a future Chicago, 16 year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.

Man that description just doesn’t give you a whole lot of anything does it? HA! But isn’t that the way you want it sometimes? Sometimes I do. I’m giving Divergent 4.7 stars. (I’ve been doing decimals lately. The whole numbers themselves just don’t seem like enough these days.)

I’m having a hard time putting my thoughts into words. But all my thoughts are good if that makes a difference. They’re just jumbled into a big pile and not organized into sections. Oh well. I’ll do my best to muddle through.

First off, I only have one friend who had read this book before me. I’ve seen other bloggers that enjoyed Divergent , but I’ve not read any of their reviews on it. I do this on purpose a lot of time. I don’t like too much information prior to reading to distort my view or experience of a book. I do like knowing whether or not others were pleased and excited about a book before I go exploring through its pages, but I enjoy the experience of the journey so much I try very hard not to ruin it in any way. That being said, I also try very hard not to ruin the experience for anyone who might be reading my posts as well. But sometimes there’s a fine line between being able to talk about a book and not because you don’t want to give too much away. And I guess that’s what I’m finding myself faced with here.

I love the character development of Beatrice (a.k.a. Tris). I love how we experience her feelings of not knowing where she belongs. And I love the dilemma she’s faced with at the Choosing ceremony—how her decision itself makes her one or the other (being purposefully vague here). Man okay. I can’t do it…SPOILER ALERTS!!!!! (If you don’t like your experience ruined, stop here. If you are stopping here, just know I really, really, really liked it. Got it?) Ok, *sigh*.

I love how Tris is faced with choosing Abnegation and therefore confirming she’s selfless or choosing Dauntless and therefore confirming she’s brave. I love the writing in that whole scene. I love how she learns with the help of Four but she relates it to her father closer to the end of the book that she was already brave while Abnegation and now that she’s Dauntless she has learned to be selfless. And you can really see that evolution in her. And the point Four drives home about how selflessness and bravery are very much the same, so much so that it’s hard to tell the difference sometimes.

I really enjoyed the concept of this book. It was different. The different factions all having a quality or characteristic they aspire to and they admire and esteem, and how Four says he wants to be them all. Brave, smart, kind, selfless, and honest. Why has no one else thought of this before him? It’s hard to see how they can be completely separated so easily because in truth they should work together. It’s a cool concept. Obviously we learn the most about Abnegation and Dauntless because that’s where Tris came from and where she moved to. But we also learn a lot about Erudite.

The paperback edition I bought has a heap of bonus material in the back of the book. I love bonus material, but I don’t enjoy being faked out about how much story I have left (except sometimes I do, a discussion for a different day). Luckily I was paging through the back of the book to see how many pages it had and noticed the bonus material so it wasn’t a huge surprise when I got to the end of the story to find 75ish pages of bonus information. The faction manifestos were really interesting and some of them were beautifully written. I like how they were all written differently. (I actually read some of them out loud to my husband because I thought the writing of those manifestos was some of the most beautiful language used in the whole book.) It would have been a shame not to have included them. And in the Q&A with Veronica Roth, I like how she said Abnegation is probably her favorite faction because they truly live a beautiful life. I felt like Abnegation got a bad rap from the other factions and while I’m not nearly as selfless as I should be, I think it’s a trait most people don’t even consider—especially not in our “every man for himself” society.

Of course, I’m a fan of the romance. Four is a strong male lead and I love how he views Tris as being so strong that he puts her down in front of the others to protect her, but also because he forgets that she can be hurt. And I think that it’s exactly because she’s divergent that he loves her. He’s the one that says he wishes to be brave, but also smart, selfless, kind, and honest…and even though he doesn’t know she’s divergent at first, he can see that she embodies more of the qualities than just bravery or just selflessness.

I don’t know, I think I might have rambled enough here. I’m already a couple of chapters into Insurgent. Looking forward to finding out what happens next!

Updated: July 7, 2018


  1. I don't have the paperback version with the bonus material - and I have a feeling if I did have it, I would have felt a little bit more satisfied with Divergent.

    I though Veronica Roth did an amazing job in terms of writing, but there are a lot of world-building elements that I wanted but didn't find.

    Great review!

  2. I remember you saying that about the world building in your review of it, and I meant to comment on that in my comment on your post. But I think you'll find the world building that you are looking for throughout the whole series. We get a taste of how the world got the way it is in Insurgent...but I have a feeling all will be known by the end of the series.