Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Name: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Harper Collins
Date published: 2012
Rating: 4/5
Spoiler warning: Moderate

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.

- From Goodreads.

At the beginning of Divergent, I couldn't really relate to the Dauntless at all, I couldn't understand them, and then I realised that I didn't really like the way they and some of the other factions worked. Then I realised that maybe that was how I was supposed to feel, because, while some members of Dauntless understood the real values of the faction ("I believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another"), they were then punished for that, and it was clearly a corrupt faction, just as Erudite was discovered to be, and maybe even just as the whole faction system was. I thought it was clever how you came to realise these facts over time while reading the book.
The story included some really interesting ideas, of the future, of a dystopian society, with the factions, the relationships between them, down to the characters themselves. All of these ideas were well thought out and consequently quite interesting. It was clear that a lot of thought and effort had gone into creating the world of Divergent, and that left me intrigued to know more about it.

Add the book on Goodreads | Author's website


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