Note to Reader: Almost a year ago a friend of mine reviewed a book for me, that now another friend has reviewed. I thought it would be interesting to post reviews from different people, and so you can see the first review here.
Synopsis: In a dystopian Chicago, the population is divided five different “factions”. Each faction is known for a specific attribute/virtue. When they turn 16, every member of the population submit themselves a special-high tech exam that helps them determine which faction they should devote the rest of their lives to, starting the next day.
The main character, Beatrice (later “Tris”), discovers that she is “Divergent”. Meaning she doesn’t fit into anyone faction, but has attributes of several. Unknown to her, a war is brewing.
Author: Divergent is the New York Times Best Selling debut novel of Veronica Roth.
Cover: The cover reminds me a lot of “The Hunger Games” series. Like the Hunger Games, this series takes place in a dystopian setting with teenagers at the centre of the plot. In fact, someone recommended I read Divergent because I like “The Hunger Games”. However, the similarities in the covers between the two series is a little obvious. I feel this series could stand on its own merits and doesn’t need any help.
Pacing: The pacing of the novel was quite good. It was fast, and my attention was easily held. However, I felt too much time was spent on certain parts (such as Tris’ training). Though I understand this was needed to introduce subplots and character traits, it still felt drawn out.
The main conflict, the one that the book has been building towards, only begins in the last 75 or so pages of the book (I was reading on an eReader, so I can not be sure). We finally get to this point only to discover that the action continues in the next book (literally, it doesn’t skip a second in the timeline).
Plot/Subplot: The key subplot (at the start), involves the Divergent, the people like Beatrice, who do not fit in any one faction. The reader and Beatrice are told immediately her status as a Divergent is something that should be kept secret, no one must know. Eventually the subplot merges with the main plot to become the focus of the conflict. I felt that this should have been a bigger part of the main plot to begin with –possibly because the name of the book is “Divergent”. However, it is believable (as believable as any plot in a dystopian novel can be), and it wasn’t in the story for filler by no means.
Character/Character Development: The character that stood out most was the main character, Beatrice (Tris), whose point of view the story is told from. She is a strong character that has been fully developed by the author. Her changes through out the novel due to her choice of a new faction are something Beatrice really struggles with. She believes in order to be happy with her decision she has to change herself. But her inner struggle shows she is still herself, and makes her actions later in the book believable.
Unfulfilled Promise: In the book the characters have electricity, technology, food, and clothing. However, it is said that they live within the walls/fences surrounding what was once Chicago. It is briefly mentioned that there are farms outside of the walls. However, it would have been nice to know how does the food get to them? How is it processed? What about the electricity, how is it generated? How about the textiles? With all the time spent on faction traits it does seem surprising that my concern is fluffed off or not addressed at all.
Quote: “A brave man acknowledges the strength of others.”
The Verdict: I read this book because it was on an eReader I borrowed from my local library, and the staff member told me that because I like The Hunger Games, I probably would like this series too. I did enjoy the book, it was a nice easy read. I am currently reading the sequel and will probably read the third book due out next year. But I doubt I will read it again. Some books I feel the immediate need to run out and buy, so I have a copy to read again and again, with this one, I do not.