Release Date: May 3rd, 2011
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Age Group: Young Adult
Buy This Book: Amazon
Set in a dystopian Chicago, Beatrice acts and talks like an Abnegation, one of the five factions that split up the one glorious city. Each faction represents one value that that faction admires and honors. Abnegation is for selflessness, Dauntless for bravery, Erudite for smartness, Candor for honesty, and Amity for peacefulness. But Beatrice isn't satisfied with staying an Abnegation forever. Selflessness comes with its own price-plain food, gray clothes, and the inability to express oneself are some of the things Abnegation requires for their members so that they never think of themselves, but of others. But a chance does come for Beatrice on her sixteenth birthday, when all sixteen year olds gather together to choose their new factions, either to stay in their old faction or go on, and pass initiation to become a part of that new faction. But what Beatrice is about to learn is that each choice has crucial consequences-and this one choice might be the most important of all in this seemingly perfect society that might not be what they all think it is.
First of all, I loved the world of Divergent. Though the premise seems similar to other dystopian novels, like Matched or Delirium, or even the older novel of The Giver, the people in this world don't walk around like their zombies, being controlled by other people telling them what to say and do. In fact, every faction is fleshed out, the characters and culture fresh and original. I also very much enjoyed the voice of Beatrice, later renamed Tris, who comes with her own spunk and isn't monotonous like some futuristic heroines. She is also indeed a very realistic character, and though most of the time she is a very normal teenager, some situations allow her to conform into a different person, which adds even more texture to her personality.
The romance was fun as well, though the similar set-up compared to many other novels I've read was bearable but equally frustrating at points.
The thing that really set this book apart for me was the balanced action scenes; they not only gave me space to think but they weren't all just kicking and fighting, as Tris seems to develop a lot of her character during these sequences. Though this might sound tranquil, it was also very violent; if you fans of the Hunger Games thought that that book was brutal, be prepared for Divergent, because Veronica Roth is not afraid to describe blood and guts here.
Overall, I would suggest you buckle in your seatbelts for Divergent, because you will be forced to jump down not a couple of high buildings. Roth's storytelling is definitely a recent winner of young adult crowds, and the amazing debut author should be ready for an onslaught of fans (me!) when the next installment of the Divergent trilogy is released.