Divergent: A “No-Spoiler” Book Review
You may ask, given my claim of being a fan of YA Fiction (yes, it’s my secret guilty pleasure) why is it that I’ve not read Divergent until now. Well, I’m actually into book number nine of another YA series, however due to the launch of the Divergent movie, I thought I better jump on into the book, as I’ve been told by many-a-fan that reading the book is an absolute must, prior to seeing the movie.
For those of you that have not yet read the book, nor seen the movie – a brief synopsis… In Divergent it’s a dystopian world, set in the future. 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.
Now, what I’d like to do for those that haven’t read the book or seen the movie, is attempt to give you my own personal take on Divergent WITHOUT spoiling the ‘journey’ or the ending. So here goes…
To give you my super short summary (so short in fact, it’s tweetable! “In a futuristic world, girl leaves family for exciting new life, learns it’s not easy, tries to stop villain destroying government.” Boom! 130 characters – and they said a book review wasn’t tweetable!
Ok, now for my more in-depth take on Divergent… Beatrice Prior lives in a futuristic Chicago divided into five distinct factions. Each faction believes one virtue is best (and of course each faction believes their virtue to be the best & most important). Abnegation is all for self-sacrifice, Amity hearts peace, love & friendship, Candor is pro ‘keepin it real and tellin it like it is’, Dauntless believe bravery is the ‘be-all-end-all’ and Erudite believe knowledge is key – ya can’t beat intelligence! Now, of these five factions Beatrice must choose one, aaaand here’s where things get really interesting…
Beatrice must choose between staying with her family and being true to who she feels she really is and where she belongs. Bottom line – she can’t have both. So, as teenagers do, Beatrice makes a choice completely left-of-centre that surprises everyone. You see Beatrice grew up in an Abnegation family, however she decides to join another faction – Dauntless. She chooses this other faction partly because they’re kinda the cool kids (piercings, tatts & leather jackets) and partly because she doesn’t feel she’s selfless enough; and because of this, doesn’t think she would make for a good self-sacrificing Abnegation member. Oh, and then there’s the small case of Beatrice’s test results having showed that she’s Divergent – meaning she doesn’t really fit in with any one faction. Being Divergent isn’t exactly the norm by the way, nor widely welcomed with open arms – in fact quite the opposite.
But joining Dauntless isn’t just about showing up and saying “I choose Dauntless” and boom you’re in! All the initiates have to train hard and compete to get into their faction. Along the way, Beatrice takes a new name – Tris (well nickname is probably more accurate) and meets a myriad of new people. She makes some new friends – Al, Will, and Christina; and she makes some enemies – Peter and his not-so-nice minions. Plus there are the teachers, such as the ever so slightly evil [see: scary as hell] Eric. Oh, and then there’s Four (but I’ll let you read all about him yourself). Tris has to compete to get into Dauntless, but not only does she have to compete to get in, she also has to ensure that she never divulges that she’s Divergent – this is key!! There’s drama, intrigue, suspense and some kissing (between her and the previously mentioned Four). So, pretty much your standard high school experience with a whole lot more ‘weird & crazy’ thrown in.
And the twists and turns just get better… Tris figures out that the Erudite faction plans to overthrow the Abnegation government and that they’re going to do so by mind-controlling the Dauntless army. Now remember how I said earlier that Tris isDivergent? Well in being Divergent Tris can’t be brainwashed. Which means if she plays her cards right, she can potentially destroy the villain’s plans and in turn, hopefully rescue a whole heap of people. That sounds a lot simpler than it is, but like I said, I don’t want to tell you the outcome, nor do I want to pinpoint the jaw-dropping deaths, violence, who it affects and how, nor whether she manages to actually foil the villain’s plans in book number one, but lets just say that there are a whole heap of ‘didn’t see that coming’ moments throughout the awesome journey that is Divergent.
One tiny snippet of info that won’t ruin the story in any way whatsoever, but is quite cool to know – the book ends with the city in complete and utter chaos, a cliff-hanger as they say, that will leave you desperate to know what happens next; and the best part is, you know the sequel is already out, so there’s no agonising wait for the next book.
Now I haven’t seen the movie yet (I sure plan to though) so I can’t say whether it lives up to the books standards, but what I can say is, because I read the book first I got to discover, understand and adore the complex character that is Tris and get an in-depth understanding of Roth’s intense dystopian world. I was left with a tonne of questions and a tonne of excitement (which I believe is how a book should leave you feeling). Although it’s hard to review Divergent from a ‘no spoiler’ stance, what I can tell you is there is so, so much to love about this book and I 100% recommend you get on to this series ASAP!
Divergent is a fast-paced, easy-to-read book filled with intriguing, loveable characters that you can’t help but feel a connection with. It’s as fabulous as die-hard fans say it is and more! Bring on Insurgent and Allegiant.
A Girl Interrupted By Fashion, Beauty & Anything Pretty That Catches My Eye