Book Review: Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth

Divergent (Divergent #1)Divergent by Veronica Roth

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Summary:   One choice can transform you. Beatrice Prior's society is divided into five factions—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Beatrice must choose between staying with her Abnegation family and transferring factions. Her choice will shock her community and herself. But the newly christened Tris also has a secret, one she's determined to keep hidden, because in this world, what makes you different makes you dangerous.

Brain-candy. Pure & simple. A fun way to pass some hours but if you're looking for more depth, go elsewhere.

Tris (formerly Beatrice) is an interesting narrator & character. I empathize with her sometimes & others I just wanted to throttle her. And after thinking about it enough, I never figured out what she was about. She grew up Abnegation & felt she didn't fit there but what was the moment that the shift in her happened that made her decide Dauntless was her true life path? Up to her choice, all she seems to know about them is that they're a carousing bunch of train jumpers who don't have to be selfless. And for the sake of honesty, she didn't ever strike me as the type to want to protect anyone, let alone provide security for the city. She doesn't seem to have a problem leaving her family but from day one, she is wholly afraid of being cast out of Dauntless because that will mean she's Factionless & will have no group identity. She's quite clearly self-involved & not a helper. And if this were a deeper story, I'd hold it against her. But since it's not, I don't. She's not for much depth & deliberation. Tris is the queen of this brain-candy-train. That being the case, my review is mostly about what I wished, wondered & wanted as I read.

Tris says she could never be attracted to Al because he's so fragile yet he's the one who stood up to Eric when Christina was hanging over the river & he was the first to chant encouragement to her while the rest of the group just watched. I thought both those things were acts of courage & superseded his crying the first night or having nightmares. It made me think that Tris had a lot to learn about courage, bravery, friendship & community (this is likely true about all these people in their various factions). It made me wonder what, if anything, she valued & cherished. Especially since by her own account, she came from a loving & caring family (even if they were stifling). Unless the lesson is that it wasn't real or true because of the constraints of Abnegation (or any faction). If it's all empty then maybe that explains why she also seemed dead inside & numb to others. It also made me wonder about the war that took place before & caused this society to agree this was the best way forward. To close off entire parts of human nature seemed to be the antithesis of embracing humanity & very unbalanced. To try to be one aspect of your personality for your entire life seemed unbearably claustrophobic & very much a patently bad idea. They all agreed to this?

I wanted to see more of Tris expressing those divergent qualities early on, in the midst of the Dauntless. I mean, as it's the title of the book, I thought that would be more the focus of her journey. I know she's a skilled at supressing & lying but I didn't buy her so skilled as to be able to keep it fully under wraps the entire time. I kept waiting for the slip up that shows she has issues with Dauntless conformity just as she had issues with Abnegation.

I liked the supporting characters a lot. I worried & mourned for them even when Tris doesn't. And that, made me pity Tris & also take hope in the fact that she has a long arc of character growth should the author choose to accept that endeavor as the series continues. I figure the romance between Tris & Four is supposed to be a big deal because there's so much time spent on it, but it didn't stand out as distinctive to me. Pretty formulaic. I don't think that's necessarily bad because I'm a grown woman & I got my first crush out of the way before I was sixteen. I don't need to journey with Tris on that bit.

I hope that as the series continues we find out what's going on outside of Chicago. The larger story & world. Something must be going on. Three stars because though I had some real problems with the story, I really liked the ending & hope for more next time.

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