Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

divergentReviewed by Jen

I know this book was the big thing two years ago, but I’m not much of a YA reader and I ignored the buzz. But then I saw the trailer for the movie and I was intrigued.  The good thing about being late to the party is that I get to read all three installments in this trilogy back-to-back.  This is fairly awesome since I really enjoyed the book –and I can’t wait to see what happens next.

The basic plot goes like this: in a dystopian Chicago, society is made up into five factions. Each represents a different virtue that its people strive to achieve. Beatrice was raised Abnegation, the selfless sect of society committed to doing for others.  But like all others turning 16, it is time for her to choose the faction she will follow for the rest of her life.  To help in the decision, each young person is given a test to help determine which group they are best suited for.  Yet for Beatrice, the test was inconclusive.  She is Divergent, one of a small fraction of the population who has no true calling.  She must keep it a secret or face dire consequence.

The test did narrow down her choices, however, and she ends up leaving her family faction in pursuit of the Dauntless sect. Their virtue is bravery and their mission, to protect the people. Her place with the group isn’t guaranteed. She must pass a grueling initiation or run the risk of being relegated to the fringe of society, the factionless.  It’s a difficult journey, filled with emotional and physical challenges –and it’s made even harder by the secrets Tris (as she becomes known) needs to keep about herself.  Ultimately, her journey becomes even greater… first as she falls for her trainer, Four, and later as she learns about a plot that could destroy the world as she knows it.  Can she make a difference?  Will the risks be worth it?

There were so many things I liked about this book.  A lot of people compare it to The Hunger Games and I guess that is the benchmark of the genre.  I can see a similar tone, but this book was no ripoff.   Other than the fact that they are both YA dystopian and they feature a strong female lead, the only thing they have in common is that the trials the characters endure could easily end in death.

The biggest draw for me was the heroine.  I liked Tris because she is such a great blend of strength and vulnerability.  I liked her spirit and determination.  I liked the fact that she evolved over the course of the book.  I thought the plot was engaging and the world-building was unique.  I liked Four and his complexity, and I enjoyed their budding relationship.  And I loved that I didn’t ever know what was going to happen next.  I am so tired of being able to predict the course of the books I read.  It didn’t happen here.

There is resolution in the story in the immediate arc, but there is a cliffhanger in the bigger picture. I am off to read Insurgent now! Can’t wait.

Rating: A

Click to purchase: Amazon

by Veronica Roth
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Publisher: Harper Collins


  1. I grabbed the audiobook since you liked it so much and I too was intrigued by the movie trailer.

  2. Jen at Red Hot Books says:

    You must tell me what you think when you are done!

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