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“I have a theory that selflessness and bravery aren’t all that different.”
In this first book, we learn about the factions and the rules of this society, but the world building is at a minimal. This is not an accident and I encourage all to stick with the story. Veronica Roth is remarkably clever and nothing is a mistake in these books. 😉 Any questions you have WILL be answered. Be patient, reader… it’s totally worth it.
The plot tells a tale of a post-apocalyptic world where the people have put in place a radical concept where 5 factions divide the citizens according to aptitude tests seeking personality traits. Tris is born into the faction of service and selflessness. She spends her life early life wanting to be good and serve the needy, but she feels a yearning for more. She fears that her faction is not where she belongs.
Tris was strong. She was scared because her mind was at war with everything she was taught to believe. She wanted to be moral and selfless, but she really wanted was to be true to herself. Her strength in this book is beyond impressive. I felt that her character progressed naturally and had the honest reactions and emotions of a teenaged girl. She was genuine and kind. It was refreshing to come across a heroine who did not need to cross any lines in order to show her moxie. Tris was a badass without the cursing and sex. She was just plain cool. Four is by far one of my favorite heroes ever. He was completely swoon-worthy, but beyond that, he was tough, but in his own ways. He and Tris balanced each other beautifully. She was full of heart and spirit, not to mention clever. Four was strong in mind and will. He was strategic and saw the ugliness in the world that Tris couldn’t see, while Tris showed him that there was still goodness.
“We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.”
I actually saw the movie before I read this book. I really enjoyed the movie, but it lead me to read the book under the assumption that there seemed to be more to the story. BOY WAS I RIGHT! As I read, one of the things that really stood out to me was how important the support characters were. They play HUGE roles throughout the trilogy. And what may seem like a small and insignificant character or moment turns out to be incredibly important somewhere later in the story. (<- That can mean that it pops up two books later.)
I think that what makes this book special is that everyone can relate to the idea of not fitting in or feeling pushed into conforming in ways you know won’t work. Tris feels pressure from her family, society and her peers. She wants desperately to just be herself, but even when she thinks she breaks free, she still has to prove she belongs. When you meet Four, you realize that even the strongest in our society suffer the same inner turmoil.
“Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it.”
Having the 5 factions created 5 different worlds within the walls of Dystopian Chicago. It was fascinating to travel from the Abnegation compound to the Dauntless cave and then over to the Erudite skyscraper. Each world was vivid and clear. The description of my hometown as a dystopian society was so much fun to read.
My favorite moment in this book is a spoiler, so I cannot share it, but there is a moment in this book where I exhaled and then realized I had been holding my breath. It was a simple act. A simple moment and I was completely 100% in the story standing there waiting to see what would happen. There was no sound, no movement and then it happened and I was thrilled and relieved and then excited and frightened all in a matter of seconds. Ms. Roth is a hell of writer to make that happen.
The ending is a “happy for the moment” kind of ending. You know there is more to tell. I was afraid to relax after reading the ending, so I started Insurgent immediately. I had to. By the end of Divergent, I was completely wrapped up in the story of Tris, Four and the entire society. This is a foundation book. It can be read as a standalone, but I wouldn’t do it. This story is just getting started and Divergent is a hell of a start.
There are plenty of dystopian novels out there, but I think what sets this one apart is the characters. Tris is no Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games,) and I LOVE Katniss, but Tris is nothing like her. Tris trusts and is naive. She learns quickly, but she is innocent and unjaded. She still holds onto her Abnegation roots that tell her to be just and altruistic.
This is definitely a 5 star read! Full of fun and excitement! Pair it with a Fallen Froggie (look it up, trust me!)
Buy The Divergent Series