06 April 2012
Divergent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Divergent surprised me. It's gotten a pretty decent amount of buzz as of late, and with the sequel imminent, I decided to finally pick it up - I didn't have high expectations, because I'm so, so tired of dystopia at this point, but what can you do, right? Thankfully, this book takes the best parts of the dystopian trend, leaves the rest out, and offers up a very strong first book.
The concept works - teens, when they come of age, choose to join one of a handful of "factions" based on personality traits. The problem? Tris doesn't fit well into any of the specific factions - she's Divergent, and that's frowned upon in this world. The story follows Tris as she decides to join the Dauntless faction and learns a bit about what the broader plan is.
The book doesn't bog itself down too too much in the politics and societal stuff that a lot of dystopian fiction does. The book cares a lot less about setting and more about tossing out a fast-paced story. It's very Hunger Games-esque in that regard - we know what we need to know about the broader society, and the details are, as it currently stands, left up to us. It means some questionable mystery setup at times, but it works in the context of this specific plot.
If the book has any flaws, it's that it does not read very much at the age level. It is a very quick read for a nearly-400 page young adult novel, and that's not a bad thing. It works because it has to, and it does work, but those looking for a more immersive experience might be left a little cold.
My assumption is that this will be a trilogy. I'm already anxiously awaiting book two, and I'm very interested to see if Veronica Roth is able to keep things going this well. So far, she's off to a good start.
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