Monday 16 April 2012

Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth.

Product details:
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books
Release date:  February 2nd 2012 (first published May 2011)
Paperback, 486 pages.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Ages: 14+
Source: Received from publisher for review.

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.

If you’re regular reader of this blog, you might have noticed that I’m not the hugest fan of the dystopian craze that’s currently sweeping YA. It’s not that I can’t appreciate good dystopian fiction (Never Let Me Go is one of my favourite books), it’s just that when it’s come to some of the big YA dystopian releases, I haven’t loved them.  Both Ally Condie’s Matched and Lauren Oliver’s Delirium were okay reads for me, but neither is an absolute favourite of mine.  So, I was starting to wonder if I’d ever find a YA dystopia that I could truly say I had fallen in love with.*  Would a YA dystopia ever get all the stars from me, or were they all destined to reside in 3 out of 5 ‘meh’ land forever?

So, you know what’s coming next, right. I read Veronica Roth’s Divergent, and now I get it. Now I get the YA dystopian craze. Now I’ve fallen in love.

It’s true I put off reading Divergent for a long, long time. I remember everyone going crazy for this book when it released last year, but I was wary of the hype. I’d seen that kind of hype before, and then I’d read those books, and they hadn’t exactly set my world on fire.  This time it was different…

Divergent is an epic read.  It’s one of those books that filled with fantastic world building, lots of action and romance, a badass protagonist, and, in Four, one of the best book boys that YA has ever seen.  And one of the best things about Divergent is that unlike a lot of YA dystopian fiction which I’ve found too slow moving for my tastes, this one never let me catch my breath, not once. It’s intense and exciting and a total page turner from start to finish.

Divergent introduces us to Beatrice Prior who has grown up in a society divided into five factions – Abnegation (the selfless), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful) and Erudite (the intelligent).  Beatrice and her family are Abnegation, but at the age of sixteen, Beatrice, along with all other teens, must choose which faction she will devote her life to.  Beatrice doesn’t want to leave her family behind, but she also doesn’t feel like she can devote herself to a life of blending into the background along with the rest of Abnegation. She wants more. So she makes her choice, and that one choice changes her life forever, because Beatrice is no ordinary girl, and her life just took a turn for the very dangerous.

Firstly though, in order to make it in her new faction, Beatrice, now renamed Tris, has to undergo a brutal initiation process under the watchful eye of her instructor, the enigmatic Four.  We watch Tris as she changes over time and grows in confidence and strength until she is truly a badass character.  But she’s got a vulnerable side too. Tris doesn’t just learn to fight in her new faction, she learns to love too.  Tris and Four are a great combination, and they’re equals, which is something that’s all too rare in YA coupledom. Tris is just as strong and fierce as Four, who is pretty badass himself. He’s also intoxicating combination of intelligence, strength and all round sexiness,  a guy any girl would find hard to resist. So, I’m a big fan of Four, but equally, I’m a fan of Tris.  That’s a little unusual for me. Mostly girls in YA books annoy me. Bella, Nora, Luce –I’ve had my issues with all of them, but not with Tris.

It soon becomes clear that when you scratch the surface of Tris’s seemingly perfect society, all is not well. There is unrest within the factions, corrupt leaders at work and dangerous schemes at play, and when the deadliest of all of these is put in motion, it’s up to Tris and Four to try and save the day before they lose everyone they love.

Let the fun begin!

Divergent is a truly epic read.  Roth’s prose is taut and succinct, in keeping with the society portrayed in Divergent where everyone walks a tightrope and one false move might mean the end of everything.  Furthermore, I am so totally invested in the characters of Tris and Four that I literally read Divergent in one sitting. I just had to see how it all ended, and all I can say is that it was intense with stunning plot twists, and some hard hitting brutality that I loved. Oh yeah! I’m glad I left it late to read this one, because I would have had a hard time waiting a whole year for Insurgent, the next book in the series.  As it is I’ve already delved right back into the world of Tris and Four, and I can already tell it's going to be another epic read!

 * I should point out that I still haven’t read The Hunger Games (I know, I know, I know!!)


  1. I am ridiculously happy that you love this book as much as I do and I so
    agree with you regarding Tris. I usually almost always have issues with
    female characters, but she, well, for me, she was perfect in her
    imperfection, if you know what I mean. You've written such a great
    review Leanna - I can't wait to read your thoughts on Insurgent, nor can
    I wait to read it too. And isn't Four just one of the sexiest book boys
    ever? Le sigh. :)

  2. Yay! As one who got caught up in the dystopian craze ages ago with the release of The Hunger Games, I'm so glad you've fallen in love with it now too! Divergent is one of my favourites, I LOVED it!
    Oh, and I just borrowed Never Let Me Go from the library the other day, so hopefully I'll love that as well :)

  3. Finally!! Divergent is one of my favourite reads and I'm so happy that you get the book. Only 14 more days till Insurgent. It's insane how much I anticipate this sequel.

    Four <3

    Thank you for the great review:)

  4. Oh, I'm so glad you enjoyed it, Leanna! I thought this one was really fun, too. (That scene with the knife, wow!) I'm looking forward to Insurgent, just like the rest of the YA reading world, hah.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  5. Precious Banaag16 April 2012 at 21:02

    Woot! SO happy you liked this one! I really, really loved it too! <3 Can't wait for the next one - Insurgent!

  6. YAY! So glad you like it! I love dystopians. They always capture me with out of the box crazy worlds, (hence my blog design LOL) But, I am glad you gave the book a chance and love it.

  7. Matthew ( April 2012 at 21:52

    Having just finished The Hunger Games, this sounds like it might be good for my next read. I'm intrigued by the idea but, like you, I'm not really a big dystopian reader - maybe its a phase ;)

  8. Yes! LOVE Tris and good gracious do I LOVE me some Four! This book blew me away when I read it, I think I liked it more than the Hunger Games entire trilogy. And it has been a hard, hard wait for Insurgent but it's almost here, squee:) Great review. I'm going to have to re-read Divergent before Insurgent arrives I is tough but sometimes you just have to make those sacrifices;)

  9. Yay! I am so glad you finally read Divergent. I really enjoyed it as well. I need to get my hands on a copy of Insurgent! Speaking of which---you need to get a copy of Hunger Games--definitely one of my favorite dystopians! 

  10. I am definitley buying this book soon. All of the crazy hype for the second book & your review is making me even more anxious to start the series already! Great review!

  11. Gawd, I REALLY, REALLY loved this book. I was so amazed by it, and I really think that Roth can do NO WRONG. Insurgent has already been pre-ordered, and I'm so HAPPY that another blogger has found love with this book. I actually just finished talking with a friend at school and she told me that over break she bought this book that turned out to be BEYOND BLOW-YOUR-MIND AWESOME, and I was all like, What book? You can just guess what the title she said was, and I've haven't come off the high of meeting another fan. YOU'VE JUST TOPPED IT, L.

  12. daisychainbooks17 April 2012 at 13:54

     Oh, he so is! I loved him straight away!

  13. daisychainbooks17 April 2012 at 13:55

     Never Let Me Go is a great read! Made me cry!

  14. daisychainbooks17 April 2012 at 13:56

     You should definitely check out Divergent - and I should check out The Hunger Games! I can't believe I still haven't read it! (Feel like the last person on earth who hasn't at this stage!)

  15. daisychainbooks17 April 2012 at 13:57

     I have a copy already! You know what - I've had my copy for over a year now. I really need to get to it!!

  16. daisychainbooks17 April 2012 at 13:57

     Thanks! Yes, you need to read this one.  It's so good!

  17. daisychainbooks17 April 2012 at 13:58

     Aw, YAY!! Yeah, I love falling in book love and I'm glad that I finally found a dystopian to fall in love with! :)

  18. I opened up this post and I was chanting in my head,"Please be 5/5, please be 5/5!" ...and you love it! YAY!

    I didn't like Matched...

    "He’s also intoxicating combination of intelligence, strength and all round sexiness,  a guy any girl would find hard to resist. " ---so friggin' true!

    You should give THG a chance, lol. 

  19. YEAH LEANNA!!!! I was the exact same way with this one...I put it off for a long time because I was worried it wouldn't live up to the hype and I'd feel like a complete a-hole for not liking it as much. Wrong. Loved it:) So glad you finally gave it a chance and loved it as well. WOO HOO!

  20. Yesss, Leanna! I'm so glad you love it too, it's definitely one of my favourite YA dystopians. I love how Tris grew too, she was a bit timid but grew so confident and kick-ass. Love love Tris and Four too, I really liked that you said they were equals! I'm so excited to read Insurgent. :D

  21. YAY!! I'm so happy this wasn't in your dystopian 3-star bubble *gasp* I love dystopians but this one is one of my top favs!  Wonderful review Leanna! :)

  22. Umm ok I had missed your last liner about Hunger Games *faints*

  23. OH! And you should check out my book boyfriend post for Four ;)

  24. Love, love, love the UK covers for this series. I'm so hooked on this book. I enjoyed every single moment, sentence, character and the world! Here, here on Divergent's epicness!

  25. JessHeartsBooks19 April 2012 at 12:53

    Ahahaha! I knew it! What did I tell you!? Sure there are some slower dystopians out there but there are also some super fast awesome one's as well. If you loved Divergent I bet you'll enjoy The Hunger Games too and one of my own personal favourites The Maze Runner trilogy! So glad that you've found a book that's made you see what we've all been raving about with the dystopian genre hopefully it will be the first of many :) awesome, awesome review!

  26. Isn't it nice when you aren't expecting to love a book and then it takes you completely by surprise? I completely agree with your review, btw.

  27. I am just so immensely happy that you loved this one. Divergent was my favourite book of 2011! I thought Tris was such an amazing character too and I agree that she and Four were a great combination. Ahh just so happy! The Divergent love spreads! :P Fab review, thanks :).

  28. I loved the book (few people who didn't) and I'm always happy when I see another blogger feeling like this! *grin*

    Great review!

  29. daisychainbooks25 April 2012 at 19:48

     I totally will give The Hunger Games a chance. I want to read it, I just never seem to be able to make the time. Soon, though!

  30. daisychainbooks25 April 2012 at 19:49

     Oh, I will totally go track it down! You know, I don't really have a clear picture in my head of Four, so I can't wait to see who you picked!

  31. daisychainbooks25 April 2012 at 19:49

     I know, I know! There is no excuse!

  32. daisychainbooks25 April 2012 at 19:54

     Yeah, I hope this is the first of many too!! I will have to read The Hunger Games soon! lol!

  33. daisychainbooks25 April 2012 at 19:54

     Yes, it is such a lovely feeling! :)

  34. daisychainbooks25 April 2012 at 19:55

     Thanks Liz! :) I loved Tris and Four together!

  35. daisychainbooks25 April 2012 at 19:55

     Thank you! :) I can't imagine many people not enjoy this one!

  36. Melinda Brasher8 May 2012 at 09:51

    I really need to read this.  It's on my list.  Thanks.  


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