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.
This was essentially me as I read Divergent. As soon as I picked it up, I was hooked. Yes, it was definitely confusing at first being that Beatrice, the main character, talks about her life as if we already know what kind of world she lives in. But fear not, for after a few chapters, you get the hang of it. I was very confused about which faction was which, because Tris, the name Beatrice chooses for herself once she chooses which faction she wants to join, doesn't exactly explain it. You learn about the other factions the more you read on.
One thing I liked about Veronica Roth's writing style was that she was straightforward; she didn't spend too much time describing something that wouldn't have an impact on the story. Unfortunately, that was also her weakness. Since she was straightforward, she jumped around from one scene to the next, without much transition. There were moments when everything was calm, and all of the sudden there was fighting. I sat there very confused and had to reread some sections again to understand what was happening.
Something else that bothered me was the romance. Yes, I know that romance is an essential part of YA books, but come on.
- The romance between Four and Tris came out of nowhere. One moment Four was being hard on Tris, the next he's cornering her and telling her sweet nothings. I would have liked to see it grow, not pop out in the middle of a paragraph. [MINOR SPOILER] The romance between Will and Christina was perfect though. You could see that there might be something there, and then you saw a friendship grow into something else.
- By the end of the book, Tris and Four confess their love to each other. No. No no. Come on, they have known each other for a few weeks and they're already in love. Seriously?
Don't worry, my comments on romance are just because I'm not a big fan of romance to begin with, and I'm a picky reader. But this did not distract from the story itself, which I very much fell in love with.
Here I go being picky again:
Most of the book was about Tris's initiation in the faction she chose. The real conflict came at the end, and it happened so quickly that I wish it was longer. Roth spent a lot of time with Tris's emotional roller coaster, and not enough time on the main conflict. The main conflict happened in the last 71 pages!
(Yes, I counted). I would have liked more time with the action and the ass-kicking! It literally started overnight. One moment Tris and Four realized there was something brewing, and the morning after when Tris woke up, it was happening! It happened so fast, and there were so many deaths that I was too stunned to cry and mourn their deaths. They were emotionless, and I would have liked to see a bit more emotion behind the deaths of the characters dear to me.
All that being said, 24 hours after starting this book, I finished it. The story was that good. The writing may have bothered me a bit, and a few scenes, but the overall story was captivating. I fell in love with Tris's transformation. She went from "Tris, your abnegation is showing" to "You are more dauntless than the dauntless-born!" (don't worry, you'll understand what that means once you read). You understand what is means for Tris to be Divergent, and why it is considered dangerous. Tris was small, she was bullied and she started out being weak and losing all battles, which was something I could identify with. Being human, you don't always win, especially when you have no training or special talents. But Tris learns. She works hard. And even though she continues to lose after some training, she doesn't let that get to her, and in the end she becomes stronger than her enemies. She learned about perseverance, and even though her friends may have doubted her, and put her down, which is something that happens often in real life, Tris continued to better herself.
In the end, I was satisfied. This book made me happy,
sad (I sobbed),
angry (I threw the book across the room several times in frustration),
and anxious (I found myself biting my nails and covering my face).
I have Insurgent in my room waiting for me, it was a birthday gift given to me a month ago, and even though I am very grumpy from the emotional ending of Divergent, I cannot wait to get started on Insurgent. Since I live tweeted my progress, thoughts, and emotions on twitter while reading Divergent (@winchesthairs) , I will probably do the same for Insurgent. I am also on Goodreads if you would like to add me, I update my statuses frequently while reading. (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/18519699-mari)
Thanks for sticking through this roller coaster of feels with me. I hope I have not upset anyone with my pickiness.