REVIEW: Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars, Genre: Fiction/ Young Adult/ Dystopian Fiction, Pages: 487, Level: Easy

Description from Barnes & Noble:

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, 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 alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating 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 unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Veronica Roth is the New York Times bestselling author of Divergent, the first in a trilogy of dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

Divergent received four and a half stars from reviewers at Goodreads, Barnes & Noble and Amazon. There is a good reason for this. DIVERGENT IS PHENOMENAL! I wish I could unread it and start all over again; it is that good.

In a Dystopian future, society has decided that it is best for individuals to concentrate on one of five virtues: selflessness (faction Abnegation), peace (faction Amity), truth (faction Candor), courage (faction Dauntless) or knowledge (faction Erudite). A test is conducted at 16 to determine an individual’s tendencies and then that individual must select to remain with his or her family’s faction, go with the results of the test, or use his or her own judgment and select an entirely different faction. But if you choose another faction, you leave your family behind because faction always comes before family.

Every once in a while a test comes up as inconclusive. When that occurs, there is a high probability the individual is Divergent. Divergent is like a dirty word and is very dangerous. But why?

This book is well written; I was hooked immediately. Roth sets up this society so well. It is interesting how jobs are assigned. For example, the government leaders are Abnegation. After all, who would be better to run society than people who are selfless and always looking to make others’ lives better? The peaceful Amity faction is the one who takes care of others. And of course the brave Dauntless guard the city’s borders. But is it realistic to concentrate on one virtue at the expense of others? Why was it deemed so necessary to break up society into these factions?

The character development is amazing. I liked all the characters, even the ones I hated, if that makes sense. And there is a lot of mystery in the book. I hope that Roth either explains how these factions developed in the subsequent books or that she writes a prequel. Explaining the events that lead up to this society would make for a great story as well.

Divergent actually provides some really good discussion points. Is selflessness just another form of courage? Would separating society into factions based on values benefit society or fracture it? Can characteristics of Divergent’s society be found in today’s society? In fact, a bonus section in the version I read provides discussion questions.

This is a series, so you are not going to get all the answers in Divergent. Don’t worry, there is so much in this book to captivate you that it will not be a problem. I could have read the entire book in one sitting and was tempted to do so. But I immediately realized how good the story was and made a concerted effort to slow down to make it last longer.

I think it is obvious that I highly recommend Divergent.

Reviewed by Christina

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