Friday, 18 May 2012
Divergent - Veronica Roth
Divergent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is another book I've been meaning to read for a while. It was recommended to me by the same person who recommended The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare and The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa, so I was pretty sure I'd enjoy it, I just had a lot of other books I wanted to get through first.
The story is set in Chicago after a devastating war. The survivors decided to set up five factions - Candor, Erudite, Dauntless, Amity and Abnegation. The members of each faction exhibit and uphold the qualities of their faction. At 16 all young people sit an aptitude test to tell them in which faction they'd best fit, then they get to choose for themselves.
This is where we meet Beatrice and her brother Caleb. It's the day of the test, and the day before they select the faction they'll belong to for life
Things might get a bit spoilery after the jump - be warned. If you want to avoid any spoilers, just know that it's great and you should go read it now. If you don't mind mild spoilers and you want to know more, then read on...
The test is designed to tell you which faction you are most suited to join by taking you through a few scenarios testing your innate responses to stressful situations. Beatrice's result is atypical - she makes choices that she shouldn't and is told that a number of different factions would suit her. She's told that she's Divergent, that this is dangerous, and she should never discuss it with anyone.
On the selection day Beatrice is torn - stay with her family in Abnegation or join Dauntless She has watched the fearless Dauntless students jumping on and off moving trains on their way to and from school and she longs to be with them. When Caleb goes first and chooses Erudite she's left with an even bigger dilemma - can she break her parents' hearts by taking both their children from them?
Choosing Dauntless, she sets of with the other new recruits and finds out that the Dauntless are not only fearless, they are ruthless. One newcomer doesn't even make it onto the train, and fewer of them again make it back to the compound where their training will begin.
Beatrice reinvents herself as Tris and starts training with the other transfers under the watchful eye of Four. Tris and Four develop a tentative relationship and as the story progresses we find that they have more in common than she could have thought.
It soon becomes clear to Tris that something is not right in their society. Erudite are carrying out a hate campaign against Abnegation and Dauntless seem to be training them for war.
Any more than that constitutes major spoilers rather than minor ones, so I'll stop there.
What I liked:
Tris is a great leading lady. I put the pieces together long before she did, but then I am twice her age (and then some). She is strong and independent and thoroughly likeable.
Four is damaged and flawed but he's fabulous. I hope to see much more of him in the following books.
The story is compelling and fast paced. It's definitely a page turner. The climax is shocking and I think I actually gasped at points.
What I didn't like:
I can't really think of anything now, a few weeks on from reading, that I didn't like. Maybe that it's a trilogy and I'll have to wait to find out what happens. Fortunately, Insurgent is out now so I can read the next instalment.