Sunday, May 5, 2013
Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth
From Amazon: "In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, 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 alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating 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 unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her."
I'm writing this review several weeks after finishing the book, so I'm struggling a little to remember the details. I liked the book, I never got bored with it (it's very action-y), I generally liked the protagonist (Tris), and I believed the post-apocalyptic Chicagoland world enough to suspend disbelief. It got dark in spots, and I appreciated it for that, as well as for showing that a teenage couple in love can actively decide to wait to have sex. I just wish the characters had been a tad more realistic, and that the ending hadn't been quite so quick. I imagine the sequels to this book basically continue the ending, but I would rather there have been more time given to this book's ending on its own. Without giving away too much, I had a little beef with Tris' mother about giving her life for no good reason towards the end too; it didn't jive with everything else that had happened. It also wasn't clear why certain characters needed to die plot-wise... other than the author maybe feeling she had too many characters to deal with. Which stinks. Tris also gets irritating sometimes in that she really never acts selfless, the binding characteristic of the faction in which she grew up, which was disjunctive.
Long story short: It's very exciting (sometimes violent) and not a half-bad book, but don't expect it to make you think very hard.