Divergent by Veronica Roth – Book Review

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Published by Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins

Beatrice Prior – who will soon reinvent herself as Tris – has never really fit in with her faction. She is just not Abnegation material. Luckily, in just a couple of days she and all the other sixteen-year-olds in this dystopian future Chicago will have the opportunity to choose whether to stay in their factions or choose a new one from among the five in the city: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. Leaving Abnegation would mean that Beatrice would have to leave her family behind forever, but staying would mean not being true to herself. Unfortunately, Beatrice isn’t any more sure about where it is that she does belong. Not Erudite, not after the lies they have spread about the people of Abnegation, and probably not Candor – only ever telling the truth isn’t particularly appealing – but where? Sixteen-year-olds are given a test to help them choose their placement, but Beatrice’s test is strangely inconclusive, a fact that she is warned to keep to herself.

Divergent is a much-raved about YA dystopian novel. I found it enjoyable, but perhaps not as fabulous as everyone else seems to think it is. Roth is an incredibly engaging writer, and Tris is a great character, surrounded by other great characters. My only real problem was with the premise. The factions seem to have no idea what is happening in the world around them, for all intents and purposes the universe is no bigger than the greater Chicago area. Less believable, though, is the idea of the factions in the first place.

Dystopian societies often have odd and somewhat unlikely governments and structures. The best novels, though give their odd structures a believable background. Either there needs to be a reasonable explanation for how they came to be, or they need to follow somewhat from the current state of the world. The factions of Divergent didn’t really do either. They provide a very interesting set-up to the story, yes, and they allow for great commentary on human nature, but I simply could not see where they came from.

All this being said, Divergent is highly engaging, enough so that I do plan on reading the sequel, Insurgent, which is out later this year, in order to see if the world building is further developed.

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Source: Library.
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14 comments to Divergent by Veronica Roth – Book Review

  • Everyone seems to love this one!

  • I stopped reading this one because it was just too…out there? for me.

  • I read it and really liked it, but 100% agree with you – not much in the way of explanation of why the world was divided the way it was – and the explanation given didn’t exactly make sense to me. This bothered me in the 1st third of the book, but after that I was swept up with the action.

  • I haven’t felt a huge compulsion to rush out and read this book… Probably the hype. I will read it eventually, I suppose.

  • I had the same concern (and so did about half of my book club, when we discussed it). We all enjoyed it anyway. I saw a few hints that I’m hoping are picked up on in the next books– if not, I will be very disappointed.

  • I actually addressed this issue of “how did the world get to this place” in my goodreads review – it became a good discussion between my daughter and I on the subject of why we study history. So, in some ways, a failure of the book – but was it on purpose? Are they denying their history or hiding from it? I do hope it’s addressed more directly in the second book.

  • I also mentioned this in my review although I really enjoyed the book I also have no idea if the entire country/world was split like this too or if it’s just Chicago , was Chicago the only place left with people? These were just a few of the unanswered questions I had but I am really looking forward to Insurgent and hoping there will be a little more background!

  • Thank you! I’m so glad I’m not the only one who found fault with this book. Every review I’ve read of this book has been glowing – with the exception of one other one – so I’m so happy to know that I wasn’t the only dubious reader. There are others out there! :)

  • For some reason, I didn’t have a hard time accepting the factions even though I thought it was totally strange when I first started reading it. I just liked that it was so fast-paced. I didn’t have time to think about any flaws in the world-building.

    Maybe you’ll get some answers in the next book.

  • I haven’t been interested in this one until recently, and I’m going to give it a shot next month. We’ll see if it ends up working for me – not sure at this point. I got real burned out on YA dystopias a few years ago.

  • I recently read and LOVED this book! I’ll admit though that the government and structures issue (and how realistic it comes across) doesn’t usually bother me…instead I just want the book to suck me in which this one definitely did. I can’t wait to read the 2nd book as well :) Thanks for sharing your honest opinion!

  • I didn’t like this one as much as a lot of other bloggers did either but it was still enthralling enough for me to be excited for Insurgent. And as someone who would probably be in Erudite, I wish they had a more noble outcome.