Narrator: Emma Galvin
Series: Divergent #1
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on May 3, 2011
Genres: Dystopia, Romance, Young Adult
Length: 11 hours 11 minutes
I expected to like Divergent more than I did, especially since I seem to be on a YA Dystopian kick lately. It was pretty good, but didn’t blow me away.
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.
Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.
The truly weak point in Divergent – for me – was the romance. I don’t know if I was just in the wrong mood or what, but I didn’t connect with it at all. Beatrice and Four just didn’t have any sizzle moments that made me FEEL a special connection. I don’t think I’ve ever moved beyond seeing them as friends – really good friends who just so happen to kiss maybe? LOL I don’t know why, but I found myself not giving a rat’s ass if they got together or not. *shrugs*
I do really like Divergent‘s concept though. A world where people must choose one virtue – out of Abnegation, Candor, Dauntless, Amity, or Erudite – is the stuff of dystopian utopia… In that you can see how people might THINK something like this could be perfect. People embrace a virtue, and though they can’t be perfect alone, by each faction (what each group or people following a virtue is called) the other virtues create a natural check on the others. People are able to focus on that one quality that makes them good.
Of course, there are many problems with this. One – there’s a very thin line between most virtues and their related vices. Two – who do you know with just one good quality? I felt like Divergent did a pretty good job recognizing these problems and exploiting them for an interesting story line. There’s lots of little details that I think will be important as the trilogy continues – some I picked up on and probably others that I missed. But I really liked all the layers and possibilities that the things I did pick up on may lead to and I really hope they will.
Not just a good dystopian, I felt Divergent was really appropriate for a young adult audience. Trying to find one’s place in the world is one of the most basic teenage challenges, and for Beatrice its complicated by this messed up world she lives in. She has to prove herself on many levels – to others and finally to herself. I think this challenge, and the way Beatrice must ultimately deal with it is incredibly relatable and timely for teenage readers.
I like the message and would be happy to have my teen reading Divergent. Even though it didn’t blow me away, I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading the rest – and watching the movie, since I wouldn’t allow myself to until I read Divergent.