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Divergent - Veronica Roth

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    7 Reviews
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      05.04.2014 10:53
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      • Unpredictable
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      • "Bit gloomy at times"

      A must-read for YA readers!

      I've taken my time with getting to the Divergent series by Veronica Roth because I was afraid of all the hype surrounding it but boy do I regret it. I have just finished reading this book and I can't believe that I put it off for so long! This book isn't quite what I expected but it's certainly action-packed and I never knew what was going to happen next. Divergent follows the story of Beatrice (Tris) Prior in a new dystopian world. In an attempt to proven the outbreak of war, humankind broke into five different 'factions': Erudite, for the clever, Amity, for the peaceful, Candor, for the honest, Abnegation, for the selfless and Dauntless, for the brave. Children grow up in whichever faction their parents belong to, but at the age of 16, they go through an aptitude test to show them which faction they belong in and the following day, at the Choosing Ceremony, they must decide the path for the rest of their lives. Tris knows that she doesn't belong in Abnegation like the rest of her family and so she makes the difficult decision to leave her family behind and join a new faction, Dauntless. A tough initiation process follows - one that not everyone will survive. As Tris tries to fit in among the Dauntless she struggles to figure out who she is and who her real friends are. As if finding herself in a new faction wasn't difficult enough, Tris has a secret that she learned about herself during the aptitude test. A secret that she has been warned to never tell lest it destroy her. What I love about this story is that it doesn't seem fantastical in the slightest. The characters and the setting all felt very real to me that's all down to Roth's genius. Each character is flawed, some more than others, and this made it easy to relate to them as a reader and I found that I actually cared about what happened to the characters. When they felt sad, I felt sad; when they felt pain, I felt pain and when they felt [happy], I felt [happy]. It is rare that you find a book in which you can truly share your emotions with the characters but Divergent is one of those gems. The book is written in the first person from the perspective of Tris herself. She often finds herself torn between what she thinks she should do and what she actually wants to do and isn't afraid to admit that she is sometimes selfish. I really loved this about her because, let's be honest, very few of us can say that we don't often have selfish thoughts no matter how hard we try to be moral people. Tris isn't afraid to admit it when she's afraid or weak but she's also strong-willed and determined not to be beaten. She is well aware of what her short comings are and that she hasn't been blessed with the best physique for a member of Dauntless, but she tries her hardest and at the end of the day, that's all that matters right? The character of Four was also really interesting because his emotions were always undercover and you could never really tell what he was thinking. Four isn't a difficult character to love but because he doesn't show his true emotions very often, you're also sort of frightened and unsure of him for a large part of the novel. I guess this is perfect because that's pretty much how Tris feels about him for a large part of the story too so the reader and Tris really are as one on this adventure. I love that Roth didn't make him the stereotypical 'bad boy' (I guess that's what he is) but made him a real character that has much more to him than meets the eye. He does what he wants and he isn't easily influenced by the opinions of others. Sometimes I felt like the characters seemed a little deadpan but I suppose that's all part of the 'dauntless' act and it made the moments when the characters were happy and laughing all the more special. This certainly isn't a happy story and it isn't one that suddenly retreats in a world filled with fluffy clouds. There is a darkness lining this book that is ever-present, even when the story takes a more positive turn. It is evident that there is more going on in this story than meets the eye but Roth has carefully staged this story so that the reader has absolutely no idea what's going on until it hits you in the face. The reader is on a level with Tris throughout the story - what she knows, we know, what she doesn't know, we don't know. At least, that will be the case if you have been completely unexposed to the spoilers that are just about all over the internet. I knew very little about Divergent prior to reading the story so I found all the twists and turns to be incredibly shocking and exciting. There's no insta-love in this story! I think this book deserves a big fat hooray just for that. It's hard to find YA books that aren't centred on romance that still get the romance perfect but I think Veronica Roth may have done it. The chemistry between Tris and Four takes a backseat in this story, but it's always there lurking in the background. There aren't any PDAs or sexual scenes, in fact, the romance is rather chaste which I guess can be put down to the factions in which the characters were brought up in and the ones they currently reside in. The story doesn't exactly end on a cliffhanger so you could almost read Divergent as a standalone novel and be satisfied at the end. That said, this almost certainly won't be the case because you'll want to find out more about this phenomenally interesting world. I did find the ending to be a tad abrupt as I turned the page on my kindle expecting to find more story when, in fact, it was already over. There were no clues whatsoever as to how this story will continue so you really are in the dark and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of Insurgent! This is, I think, one of the keys to this story's success. This book wasn't predictable in the slightest and never knowing what was coming next made me desperate to keep reading. All in all, Divergent is a fantastic and captivating read that I would highly recommend to all fans of dystopian novels. The combination of very real characters and an original plot make this an absolute must read and I understand now why there is so much hype surrounding this series. If you're looking for a YA book that stands out from the rest, then this is your book.

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        06.02.2014 11:02
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        A very easy read, that can be picked up whether on holiday or at home

        Even though I'm 32, my partner insists on buying books for me as presents that you would find in the teen section of any book store. I fell in love with the hunger games trilogy and the same happened as soon as I picked up divergent, so I guess he knows me very well. I love the evolution of the female lead character throughout the book, the attention to detail from the author and the fast pace of the plot. With the film coming out this year I'm hoping that it will go some way towards reflecting the ideas and thoughts around the story. My partner didn't enjoy the read at all, he found the female lead quite predictable and the plot far fetched, but that's exactly what I like about the genre of books set in the near future when the works has gone to hell and back. I had read it cover to cover in two days and it's one of those books that I will be reading again in a few months!

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          07.01.2014 01:34
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          Great read!

          With all the hype surrounding Veronica Roth's sci-fi series, you'd be forgiven for expecting the book to be a bit of a let down but this refreshing new style and storyline is easily worth all the attention. After the huge success of the Hunger Games series, the fans of the genre will be looking for a new book series to turn to next - this is definitely it! Another strong female protagonist in Tris, Hunger Games fans will definitely relate to the strong defiant emotionally strong nature of the character throughout the book and the rest of the series. The different factions within the story, each valuing a specific virtue is an absolutely inspired idea and will raise many questions and intrigue from the reader. Easily worth a read, you will definitely not be disappointed - let's hope the blockbuster film does it justice. This book is a big hit now and it will only get bigger - would definitely recommend this to a friend.

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            02.11.2012 19:07
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            A really great read

            So in the past few months the Young Adult section in libraries and in bookstores has been overflowing with new books. However Divergent is so much more than just another book on the shelf; it's a highly original piece of literature. The book centres around a dystopian future where people are placed into 'factions' depending on their personalities. 16 year old Tris Prior is one of many teenagers choosing their factions and is the main heroine. After choosing her faction she struggles to be accepted by the people around her bar the guy her age; 'Four'. It isn't a typical teenage romance, in fact I don't think I'd even say that's a main theme of the novel. The novel is focused fitting in and essentially the trials and tribulations of surviving in such a complicated world. Of course this is only a simplistic synopsis as the novel has a lot of plot twists and is very complicated. It is worth the money to buy this book; as I really expect it to be on par with the success of the Hunger Games. The film in planned for 2015, and really I can't wait for it because the book is beyond brilliant.

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              04.10.2012 10:30
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              5 stars

              Regular readers of my reviews will be aware that after reading the Hunger Games trilogy in a fairly short space of time, I hit a book slump and sulked for a few months. Finding a book or even a trilogy which you adore is heavenly, it's after that is the problem, where nothing comes close and the average turns into mundane. Reading turns into a chore. I was desperately seeking something to take over the Hunger Games and had been scouring the net looking for a recommendation of some kind that could take me back to that elation that I felt every time I picked up one of the 3 Hunger Games books. I happened upon a book by Veronica Roth called Divergent that was recommended to me by Amazon on the basis of enjoying the Hunger Games. I read a few quick reviews on Amazon and immediately downloaded the book. Minutes later I was reading it, minutes after that I was hooked.... Set in a dystopian Chicago, we are introduced to Beatrice Prior. Part of the Abnegation faction, she is fast approaching the time when as a 16 year old, she will chose the faction that she will belong to for the rest of her life. In making such a decision, she could potentially have to leave her family behind for ever. Society is much different to what we know, and within the city are 5 factions, each with very different ways of living. People from different factions do not mix under any circumstances and so Beatrice faces a life changing decision along with her brother who must also make a decision at the choosing ceremony. The 5 factions include Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), Erudite (the intelligent) and Abnegation (the selfless). Along with the 5 factions, we are also introduced to the Factionless. Those who have chosen to live alone, in poverty and without contact from those they love in favour of not having to choose a faction. In the world they live in, the traits that the members of each factions, do not cross over, so the selfless would without hesitation put their own life at risk to save someone else, while the peaceful would lie if it meant keeping the peace, etc, so Beatrice cannot understand why she feels different, and selflessness fails to come naturally to her. Yes she was born into Abnegation, but now she must choose whether to leave them behind, but even if she chose not to be Abnegation anymore, is she any of the others? The Aptitude test which is meant to help with their decision before the choosing ceremony only makes things even more complex for Beatrice as she discovers she is Divergent. She is individual and possesses no one particular trait. This is dangerous and Beatrice must make her decision while keeping her Divergence a secret. People will kill her if they find out..... A good section of the book is spent explaining the choices that Beatrice must make and the processes which will allow her to reach her decision. Once she has chosen her faction, the initiation process in which the teens must pass to become a full member of the faction and an adult is basically the rest of the book. This is when the dangers are explained in Beatrice being Divergent, but also the dangers to her from her fellow initiates. Other characters are introduced with a definite split between enemy and friend. The book is completely original. Like Hunger Games, but completely different. If I am honest, I actually preferred this book to Hunger Games and I adored that! The way that Roth explains the factions and the characters within the story is exceptional and she has the ability to grip you from start to finish. The book is complex and difficult to follow in some ways as you have to try and remember the traits of each faction, but Roth helps you along the way and subtly reminds you without explaining things all over again. The suspense throughout the book is at a good level, although I found the lack of cliff hangers at the end of chapters a little strange. There is however, a general build-up of suspense with the general story and this is what kept me reading on late into the night. Apart from Hunger Games, my usual genre of book is detective / murders books, so to read these books which almost have an edge of fantasy have been a breath of fresh air for me. The fact that they are aimed at young adults did not put me off, and I would say they are open for anyone to read them. I didn't feel the book was dumbed down in any way, nor did it lack the right amount of violence (needed for the story) and description that I would have expected. There was one scene in particular that was the first real violent scene and it hit me like a bolt from the blue, I just wasn't expecting it. It doesn't linger over dramatic scenes or drag them on too long, and this for me carried the suspense for the reader. The characters in this book are exceptional. Beatrice or 'Tris' as she later becomes known is likeable, you can relate to her emotions and family ties and she shows moments of vulnerability amongst moments of strength which only heightens her likeability. She isn't portrayed in a way that she is unbreakable, and this made me guess her outcome to the very ending of the book. The love interest in the book is subtle, but most definitely there as Tris battles with her feelings for Four, someone she most definitely should not have feelings for. This isn't the centre of the story though and it settles nicely and balances well within the main story. At first when I read the name Four, I was thinking, 'what's Four?', but towards the end of the book it becomes clear why he has the unusual name and the story that unfolds around his name is gripping. I found it difficult to picture some of the characters as not a lot of description seemed to go into them (maybe I was reading it so fast, I missed it!), but I quite liked this as you were able to visualise them in your own way. This will make the film adaptation fun to see how your own visualisations compare to the film. The sequel to Divergent (Insurgent) was released in May of this year so it will be something that I can look forward to reading. I'm going to make myself wait a month or so, as I don't want to be left with the gaping hole again after I finished the Hunger Games trilogy. There is also a third in the pipeline due to be released in Autumn 2013. For fans of the book, it is interesting to know that the rights have been sold to Summit Entertainment (studio producer of Twilight) and a screenplay has been written. The release date of the film has already been given of March 2014, at which point all the books will have been released so fans will have something to look forward to in the film. Amazingly I didn't realise until after I had read the book, that Veronica Roth is only 24, and wrote this book while studying in university! This young author will no doubt go far in life and has an obvious talent for writing.

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                03.05.2012 11:53
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                Three out of five stars

                Divergent by Veronica Roth ---Book synopsis--- In a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all. One choice decides your friends, defines your beliefs and determines you loyalties...forever. ---Review--- Overall, there were a lot of things I really enjoyed about Divergent and then, well there were parts that spoilt the story a little for me. A lot of people LOVED this book and I LIKED it but I only liked it. Divergent is set in a world that is unrecognisable from our own. The world, the people have changed and they are only capable of limited personalities and accordingly they will choose and live in only one of the five factions. The five factions are - Dauntless - The brave Abnegation - The selfless Erudite - The intelligent Amenity - The peaceful Candour - The honest While I did have some issues with some elements of Divergent I really liked the character of Tris (Beatrice), she wasn't your typical damsel in distress that seems to plague a lot of the YA dystopian genre. She was determined, strong and still vulnerable all at the same time. I liked her. And she is memorable. I also dare anyone who reads this not to like Four, the dauntless teacher that will put all the new recruits through their paces and a lot more. And I really enjoyed the part of the book where you learn why he was given the nickname of four. Again he is a character that I will look forward to reading more about as the series continues. However, as much as I loved some of the main characters a lot of the other characters felt a little underdeveloped and some were little more than a stereotype. Some authors have the knack of really creating a range of strong minor characters and personally I think Veronica Roth just fell short of that. Throughout the book there were a few scenarios that made me feel uncomfortable when reading them. There was a lot of bullying going on in the dauntless training camp and it was all seen as ok, expected even. For a dauntless it seemed that it was braver not stand up to bullies than to report them for fear people might think you are coward - my personal view just kept shouting WRONG, tell someone, tell anyone don't let that person nearly kill you before you stand up to them. It all just grated on me a bit. I found it hard to understand the dauntless society it just didn't fit with what the initial explanations behind the creation of the original five factions. Yes the author did try to explain the discrepancies but I felt like it was all glossed over and didn't really get to the heart of the matter, i.e., why a faction that favours bravery has turned more cruel than brave. I just wasn't convinced by a lot of situations throughout the story and often the characters seemed to act or do the opposite of what I would think of as brave choice. Again, most of what I didn't like came down to the fact that I thought a lot of the world building aspects were poorly done. There wasn't enough history or explanation why the society developed as it did and I really struggled with understanding why people fit so nicely into one faction or another. It didn't make sense, it made sense for more people to be Divergent. There is a sort of explanation towards the end of the book but it felt tacked on and not completely though through. There was just too many moments in Divergent that seemed to easily addressed by the author in a very convenient manner. I want more in depth answers. I want more complex world building. I want something more than formulaic relationships. I want something that just isn't ok. I didn't get moat of those things from Divergent. But, what I did get from Divergent was an entertaining story. And although I may have said some negative things I really did enjoy following the recruits from initiation onwards. Even if some of the sections felt a tad repetitive, as they have to participate in similar tasks more than once. I do think that this series has potential and I am looking forward to getting my hands on a copy of Insurgent. Hopefully some of the answers and explanations I really needed to like Divergent more will be laid out in Insurgent. Recommended? Definitely, but just don't expect anything like all the hype surrounding this book suggests. To sum, reading Divergent was one choice that didn't transform me. I have read so many reviews from people who have loved this book, perhaps my main problem was because I was expecting more. If you do or have read Divergent be sure to let me know what you think. Three out of Five stars Genre - YA, dystopian Published by HaperCollins (2011) Paperback - 487 pages (£9.99 - £6.99)

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                  25.03.2011 15:22
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                  Dystopia at it's very best.

                  Set in a Dystopian Chicago, where society is divided into five factions each representing a particular virtue, 16 year-old Beatrice Prior is about to decide her fate for the rest of her life, by choosing the faction she will belong to. There's Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent) and the idea behind the system is that dividing people like this, the world will be a better place. Government members come only from Abnegation for example, as they are selfless and therefore their priority will be the good of the people they represent, rather than themselves. Erudite members are teachers and scientists while the Dauntless faction provides policing and security. It's a big decision to pledge yourself, and once chosen there's no turning back. So when Beatrice surprises not just herself but everyone who knows her with her choice, she has a lot to prove. With a highly competitive and gruelling initiation test to pass, it looks like Tris (as she renames herself) is the underdog. Failure means two things, death or becoming fractionless, both as bad as each other. But Tris is hiding something else, something that makes her life even more endangered than it already is. Then Tris discovers that under the surface, friction and discontent is brewing among the factions and threatens to rip the seemingly perfect society apart. Tris's secret could be the key to saving those she loves. It's very rare that I mange to read a full 500 page book in one day, no matter how hooked I am. I have a six-year old daughter who demands much of my time and rarely lets me read as she gets on with something quietly. So the fact I read Divergent in its entirety the day it arrived speaks volumes. Ok, I'll admit it, I enlisted the help of the unpaid babysitter who sits in the corner (TV), ordered takeaway so I didn't have to cook, abandoned any kind of housework and bribed my daughter continuously to let me read just a few more pages. Even she became obsessed with my reading progress that day asking 'How many pages have you read now Mummy' and appointed herself my official reading cheerleader. That's how good this book is. Once started you won't be able to stop until you have devoured every breath taking word. As one of my top 3 anticipated books for 2011, I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book. Of course being so excited can often lead to over anticipation with the book becoming a let down. Absolutely NOT in this case, Divergent was everything and much, much more than I was hoping for and has easily shot straight to my top read of the year, the last two years in fact. It's going to take some beating. For once I'm going to refrain from hashing over the plot, I couldn't do its intricacies justice and really don't want to inadvertently give anything away that will spoil the book, so readers can go into it the same way I did. What I will say though is that Veronica Roth's dystopian world is exquisitely built with complexities and detailing that will force the reader right into the very heart of it from the moment they pick up the book. It's clever, exciting, brutal, jaw droppingly shocking and intense. I adored lead character, Tris, the underdog who comes into her own. She's brave, loyal and intelligent, fierce and compassionate in equal measures. Then there's Four (Tris's coach in the new life she chooses) the HOTTEST, most swoonworthy guy ever. I'm slightly obsessed by him, I've even dreamt about him and I completely fell in love with him. The romance between Tris and Four is solid, real and beautiful. It developes at the right pace, it has the right amount of intensity and passion, yet it doesn't overwhelm the story at all. Divergent is an action packed and exciting read set in a brutal and violent world after all and the balance between action and romance is perfect. I have to caution though, there are some very violent scenes in this book and would only recommend it to those over fourteen. To sum up, I LOVED this book big time. I found it hugely addictive and couldn't part from it for a second I was that engrossed and involved in it. I think I read it with my eyes on stalks, my mouth hanging open and with my heart pounding throughout, It's the most exciting book I've read for a long time. There's been a lot of comparison between this book and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and I agree that if you're mourning the end of that series then this is the book you've been waiting for. However Divergent is also it's own book and deserves credit for that, I'd go as far as saying I preferred this one (and I'm a big Hunger Games fan!) The final pages set up fantastically for the sequel and the wait for it is going to be sheer torture. Seriously, if there is one book you must buy this year it's Divergent, I whole-heartedly recommend it and then some. Just make sure you have a spare few hours because I'm warning you, once you start you won't be able to stop! Published Spring 2011 by Harper Collins Many thanks to the publishers for providing me with an advance readers copy of this book.

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