So I have almost, kinda branched out from my sci-fi/paranormal cocoon. The novel I’m writing about is sci-fi but it is not the usual evident tension between a female protagonist and the dangerous good-looking (insert mythical something) type of novel. However, it is topical as the film based on the book is out this year. I will try my hardest to review the book without revealing any major storylines in the film. So here is my detailed, but in a minimalistic way, review.
Divergent by Veronica Roth is a novel that compelled me from start to finish. I became submerged in her haunting world where society is split into five factions; Dauntless, which the members are fearless, cloaked in black and excellent fighters. Candor, whose members always tell the truth, no matter how harsh it can be. Amity, dressed in yellows and reds and forever happy and peaceful. Erudite, the intellectuals of this warped society and finally Abnegation, the definition of selflessness, dressed in drab gray, never curious and anything that could be associated with cosmetics shunned. Basically, the factions are self-explanatory. Abnegation is where the protagonist enters, Beatrice Prior, who is later known as Tris.
Basically, everyone in this gothic type society is split into one of these five factions based on an aptitude test they have on Choosing Day, an exam that determines you personality, this is when the storyline develops as Tris reveals an aptitude test for not one but three factions, Dauntless, Erudite and Abnegation. This makes her Divergent and therefore a threat to society. Tris shocks her family and herself by deciding to live in the faction Dauntless.
Throughout the novel you see that the fearless faction has many flaws in its society, or else there wouldn’t really be a story, and Tris is caught in the middle, the Dauntless faction celebrates suicide, abuses their initiates and makes their deepest fears a reality. Of course, no good novel is worth its literature salt unless there is the side-kicks and the miniature villain that isn’t necessarily into the major evil behind everything but terrorise the protagonist enough that you wish they were a real person so you could punch them in the face. Tris’ friends, Will, Christina and Al, are there to try to and help each other survive throughout the initiation while jealous Peter makes it his living goal to annihilate any chance they have of placing in the top ten. The top ten is a score board for the initiates placing them in order of their rank, if they make it into the top ten then they have earned their place in Dauntless. However, if they fall short they are cast out to the Factionless, a section of this society filled with homeless and starving people who belong to no faction, hence the name.
Of course, the love interest. (I’m not saying that a good book needs a love interest, I’m just saying that personally for me it makes a little bit more interesting). Four, named after only having four fears. However, this is not a typical girl meets boy novel, there are many themes that overshadow romance so therefor Four is not your typical boy. He is one of the mentors for the initiates, he is dangerous but also haunted, which you later find out why but I won’t tell you because if I did I may as well name this post Spoiler!
Four subtly helps Tris through her initiatiation while dealing with his own demons and this is when it’s all gone Pete Tong. The other faction’s are beginning to cast out Abnegation, the leaders and politicians of the society, with the hunting party being controlled by Erudite.
This is when the novel’s storyline becomes clear, a war breaks out and Tris must decide on whether to stick with her new but damaged faction or help her family in Abnegation and also fight against the antagonist of this novel, Jeanine Matthews, the leader or Erudite.
This novel is definitely in my top ten. I loved the way the society has been portrayed, it appears as though the individuals are managed and ruled by their factions but you can see the bigger picture, the strings being pulled. The strength of the character Tris pulled me in and almost demanded respect. There is no doubt that Veronica Roth is an excellent writer, developing this alternate reality where betrayal is everywhere and love and trust is something earned not given.
I highly recommend that you read the book, I’m slightly biased but I believe that the book is always better than the film as you get to know the character better, hear their inner thoughts. However, it isn’t fair for me to judge before the film has even been released but basically my point is if you like alternative society/paranormal/romance/awesome books then definitely read this book!!