The Critique Circle Public Library

Divergent
by Veronica Roth
Amazon rating
Critique Circle rating 
PublisherHarper Collins, Inc.
Release Date2011-04-13 (added to CC 1 Jun 2011)
Amazon Sales Rank295

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, 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 to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating 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 a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.


Member Reviews
(20 Sep 2014)
(18 Aug 2014)
(25 Jan 2012)
Many people have complained about the creation of the government and the factions, how they are, why they have been created, and the realism with that. But I don't really care about that. I absorbed completely in the story by suspension of disbelief. I thought the character development was amazing for all of those in Dauntless. Especially Tris and how she evolves, so believably from one faction to another. The plot was also well done. It's one of those books that I will recommend to anyone, especially lovers of dystopian.
I can't wait til May, when Insurgent comes out.
(13 Jun 2011)
I truly enjoyed Divergent. It's written in present tense first person perspective. I particularly enjoyed the pacing of the novel, it flows quickly and doesn't stop to dwell on the unnecessary. I also enjoyed that the things at the start of the book are linked back in at the end, making the story feel more complete for the reader. Tris, the protagonist, is a good mix of strong and vulnerable, making her a believable and likeable person. She isn't like the to stupid to live (TSTL) protagonists that have become popular in certain threads of YA fiction. I eagerly await book 2.
(26 May 2011)
I live in Chicago, so I love reading books with a Chicago setting. Especially when the author knows the city as well as I do, and I can see everything she’s showing me. For the most part, Chicago is very clear in this story. I wasn’t so sure about some parts, though. I wish I could have pictured exactly where the various faction headquarters were (except for Erudite, which was next to Millennium Park), the realm of the factionless, which train stations they passed, and exactly where the fence lay. I am hoping for more detail in the next book.

As for the factions, the conflict between Erudite and Abegnation felt authentic. Actually, all the factions were drawn well, and it felt natural that the factions would evolve into what they'd become.

Except for one. I didn't completely buy the way the Dauntless faction had evolved. If their focus is bravery, then it doesn't make sense that they would support (or, at the very least, ignore) acts of cowardice. To me, Dauntless didn't feel as fleshed out as the other factions. I think there would have been more conflict within the faction, and I would have liked to see that.
The romance aspect was done well, with a slow build-up and plenty of entertaining awkwardness. I particularly liked the end where Tris realized the ridiculousness of what was going on with her.

This is definitely a fast-paced and compelling story, and I stayed up way too late reading. I liked Beatrice/Tris, too. The reasoning behind her choice of faction felt real and honest to me. I could feel her struggle, and honestly wasn't sure who she was going to choose in the end. Which I loved, because both choices had been set up with very interesting consequences.

That said, there were a few things that didn’t quite make sense toward the end. As a result, the ending sort of fell apart. For me, an ending can make or break a reading experience, and this one brought my enjoyment down a notch. I’ll still read the next book, but I don’t have quite as much enthusiasm as I did in the first two thirds. That really bums me out. Then again, not many people analyze characters the way I do, so there are probably lots of people who won’t have trouble with this.
If you want to know what bothered me so much, then keep reading. But be warned that there are major SPOILERS ahead.
This next part is something I almost didn’t address, but it bothered me too much to leave unsaid. I will do my best to not be so spoiler-y, but I can’t promise anything. Read at your own risk.

What happens to Tris's parents in the end felt contrived, as did much of Tris’s reaction. Neither situation made any sense, nor did they require that particular outcome, so it felt like the author simply needed to get the parents out of the way for the sake of the story. Especially Tris's mom. There is no way that a mother in her shoes would have been so careless. She would know that the best way to protect her daughter is to survive, and she would have fought tooth and nail until there was no other option. There were still plenty of options…

After Mom, it was obvious what was going to happen to Dad the second he stepped off the elevator. I actually rolled my eyes here because I didn't believe this part, either. Tris just lost her mother, so why wasn't she feeling overprotective of her father? She would have, no question about it. There is no way she'd let her untrained, Abegnation father get on that elevator with her. After everything she'd been through with Dauntless, she would know all too well what would happen to him. And she’d never let it happen.
END SPOILER

Side note: there is a lot of violence in this book. I have a high tolerance for it, but there were a few scenes that were almost too much for me. So, if violence is not your thing, then this book might not be for you.
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