Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books (May 3, 2011)
Source: My Choice

From GoodReads:

Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place her in mortal danger. Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances.

There is so much about this book to love. Divergent by Veronica Roth is a powerful story because it is so unique. The idea that there is a test that determines where everyone fits is very dystopian (The Giver, etc all possess the same kind of determining factor). What makes Divergent different is that the teens are still given the opportunity to choose what they want to do.

I found that particular element, the choice, exciting and very different. When Tris’ test proves that she’s Divergent, she had an even bigger choice – she wasn’t told what she should do, only that she could fit just about anywhere. It is only toward the end of the book that we realize why Tris chose to go Dauntless, and what that means for her future.

My favorite – and maybe most stressful – part of the book was when each of the Dauntless candidates had to face their fears in “virtual reality.” Just thinking of facing my own fears made me feel for Tris and her fellow candidates in a way I hadn’t before. Divergent makes you love the characters. I felt myself willing Tris to succeed and overcome everything thrown at her. I found myself rooting for her and wanting her to smash the competition. I found myself believing in her and crying when her world is torn apart.

Roth creates a dystopian world that is familiar and yet completely different. Because there is still choice involved, she adds a level of humanity to the world she created. Choice means that there is still a chance for not just Tris, but all of the world, to survive. Humanity hasn’t been completely stripped – and there is something powerful about realizing that. As the story continues, I have a feeling there will be darker darkness than other dystopian books. The humanity lends itself to darker dark and lighter light.

Final thoughts: Own

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