Friday, July 22, 2011

Review: Divergent, by Veronica Roth

#3 It's Friday, I'm in love

The book I'm reviewing right now is one of my favorite books of the year all time.

Last month my twitter was abuzz with mentions of some book that was apparently "like The Hunger Games, but better!"

Now, I'm a huge fan of The Hunger Games books (and I will likely review them after I have read them again), so I had to track it down. This book was Divergent, by Veronica Roth.
Divergent:
- pages: 487
- rating: 5/5

Set in dystopian Chicago, this book reveals little of the Chicago as I currently know it. The city is no longer a playground, home to millions of the most interesting of people, places, and events. Instead it is a strict system of factions, each separate and contributing to society in different ways. There are five such factions: Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, and Erudite.

I'm sure you can guess which characteristics each faction values above all others. Abnegation are a selfless people. Amity are kind, Candor value truth in all things, Erudite are scholars. Dauntless are the fearless, the guardians of this society.

During the year following each member of society's 16th birthday, each young male and female takes an exam of sorts which identifies for which Chicago faction his or her personality is most suited. Each individual mulls over what his or her exam revealed, and then at a special ceremony he or she must choose in which faction he or she will belong. It all boils down to this: will you remain with everything you've ever known or will you follow your destiny?

Such is the choice for Beatrice Prior. She knows that as a member of Abnegation, she should put all others' needs and well-being above her own. Yet there are parts of her that struggle with this way of life. Her entire family is in Abnegation, and to choose an alternate faction is to leave everything she knows and loves behind. If she abandons the way of the Abnegates then she abandons her family.

Beatrice's decision will not be easy. The results of her exam are "inconclusive," for reasons which I will not divulge. ;) This makes everything all the more difficult for her as she struggles to figure out what type of person she is, and where in society she is destined to be.

The ceremony arrives, and Beatrice, having thought over the strange information resulting from her exam, makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. She is whisked away to deal with the consequences and we follow her through every single trial and tribulation that comes as a result of her decision. The going is rough, with more challenges than most people can deal with.

As I followed Beatrice Prior on this journey, I fell in love. With everything. Beatrice, later known as Tris, is one of the most well-developed, likable female teens that I have ever had the good fortune of encountering in fiction. She wasn't annoying, I never wanted to yell at her. Tris's personality and voice resonated in me--she is such a strong, intelligently developed character that it was only with reluctance that I moved onto another book; to a new set of characters.

Tris wasn't the only great thing about this book. Roth created a plethora of multi-dimensional characters that each contributed in varying, yet integral ways to the relation of this story. From Tris's family to the friends she makes in her "Faction class" (for lack of a better descriptor), each person contributes to the type of person Tris is turning out to be.

I can't say too much more without giving too much away. So I will only elaborate on a few more things.
1) Roth gives us Four. You have to read to figure out what I mean by that, but let me just say this. Four is another reason why I never wanted to stop reading. *sigh* Four.

2) Chicago. As a resident of this great city, it was fascinating for me to see the future state of this area. Dilapidated buildings, rusted over monuments and landmarks--my imagination went wild the entire time. If you've ever been to Chicago, you'll know exactly what I mean.

3) It's a trilogy. Book number 2, Insurgent is currently being written by Roth. It is the sweetest form of torture, knowing that there is going to be two more books in this series, but also having to stand idly by while Roth tweets notices like "2.5k words today" and similar notices like that. I want it nowww.

4) I has me inspired. I mess around with the GIMP and photoshop CS5 a LOT, but during school I don't really create anything huge/notice-worthy because I'm too busy and don't have the hours to allot to experimentation. For Divergent, however, I was willing to throw away a bit of my "free" time.
For Veronica Roth,

I'm wrapping this up. It's long and babbling.
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