Divergent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 2.5 of 5 stars
This book was the book to read last year. I got emails talking about how great it was, bloggers everywhere were singing its praises, and whenever I went to the store I saw this book a lot.
My expectations were high and for good reason. Divergent is an action packed face paced novel that will keep you reading and reading and reading. Sunday is the only day when I can actually sleep a few extra hours, so after I prayed Fajr I decided that I was going to sleep. Somehow, the book came up and well I didn't end up sleeping much after.
So there are a lot of good things about the book, but it's also doesn't really make a lot of sense. Let me explain. Divergence takes place in a notreally dystopian city, where people are separated by their beliefs on how the end war. You see, a long time ago, people decided that religion, race, nationalism, and politics were not the causes of war. Humans were the cause. In order to change this, they created five factions to eradicate war. Abnegation believed that selfishness was the reason. Amity believed that aggression was the cause. Candor thought it was duplicity. Dauntless said it was cowardice, and Erudite blamed ignorance.
And thus, the five factions were created, despite the fact that getting into groups like this will probably mean you're in for some discrimination of some kind or another. But whatever, they wanted to end war and end it they did. Oh, and to make this even better, each group only has a specific job. Dauntless are guards, Abnegations are in the government, Amity are farmers, Candor are lawyers, and Erudite are reporters and researchers. Again, not sure what the old citizens of Chicago were thinking when they thought up these rules, because it seems like a recipe for disaster to me.
If you’re wondering about the other jobs, the factionless peeps do those. We meet one in the book and he seems like a crazy hobo who is dirty and smells bad. At this point, you might find yourself wondering, “Why was Old Chicago so desperate to separate them like this and have lower people work for them? Doesn’t this mean that eventually there will be a revolt or factions will start fighting against each other? Why try to eradicate war, by presenting a problem that can cause it?”
Don’t worry. That’s part of the fun that is Divergent. There is one interesting factor that isn’t ever developed in this novel. The city, for some reason or another, is barricaded. The Dauntless guard these doors. From what? From who? I have no idea, but I’m really hoping its explained in the following novels.
Anyways, let’s get back to the book. Divergent starts off with sixteen year old Beatrice, our heroine, who has to decide which of these five factions she belongs to, to help her decide; she has to take a test. There’s only one problem, Beatrice belongs to more than one faction. People who are like this are called Divergent.
After we learn this and then see the ceremony, I started to wonder what was so great about being a Divergent. According to the rules, the test tells you which faction you belong to, but then you can choose whatever faction you want at the end. I don’t really see the purpose of the test, other than finding Divergents. This could very well be the case, but it’s never really explained either.
So Beatrice decides to go to Dauntless. Dauntless are a brave people. Brave in the sense that they are kind of psychotic and incredibly stupid. They jump down buildings, jump into moving trains, beat each other up, and get tattoos.
Seriously, Old Chicago, you really should have thought these things through.
I mean really, there are some huge flaws with every group. Dauntless are stupid. Amity spends their days smiling, hugging, and playing the banjo. Abnegation think of others before they think of themselves, which sounds nice, but it’s caused them to bottle up everything. I’m surprised there are not a few crazies in the group. Erudite are arrogant. And Candor are loud, brash, and don’t really care what others think.
As a whole, this doesn’t really matter because the story is about Beatrice’s, now named Tris, journey in becoming a Dauntless member. If she fails, she becomes a factionless. If she succeeds, then she’ll discover a new world that she never had in Abnegation and get to experience some good ol’ fashion YA loving.
Divergent is well written, but the world that Roth created has a lot of holes. Not that this is necessarily a problem, but since it’s a dystopia, I’m left wondering how something like this could ever happen. People may be stupid, but not stupid enough to do something like this. I kind of wish the genre was different. If it was fantasy, it would have been fine.
Also, I didn’t really care for Beatrice. She’s told that being a Divergent is dangerous, but does she listen? No. She continues to do things that will get her into trouble.
The last few chapters were great though and the story started to finally make sense and the arc about Al was really well done. (view spoiler)[ I also liked that we learned that Beatrice’s mom was a Divergent also. After we find out she dies, which sucks since it would have been nice to hear more about her. (hide spoiler)]
There are some good things and some bad, so I gave this three stars.
ps. (view spoiler)[ Was I the only one who was kind of troubled to see Beatrice kill Will? She doesn’t do the same thing to Eric and Peter, but Will, her friend and ally, she kills. When I read this I had two feelings about the situation. 1. Beatrice is a jerk. She could have shot his leg and continued running. 2. The moment there was another couple, they had to separate. Edward and Myra left together after he got stabbed in the eye, and once Christina and Will become an item, he has to die. Kind of sucks for the guys in these relationships, eh? (hide spoiler)]
2.5 stars out of 5