Book One of the Divergent series
By: Veronica Roth
Date Finished: 04.26.13
In this post-apocalyptic setting, society has divided itself into five factions, each valuing one character trait over all others. From birth, they are taught the mantra “faction before blood” because the system only works if the people don’t divide their devotions. In this world, the worst thing you can be is Divergent, that is equally suited for more than one faction. The Divergent are the ones who might question and consequently disrupt the constructs of this society. Even before taking her aptitude test, Beatrice is torn between her desire to remain with her family and the lure of another faction. The test reveals her Divergence and is warned to keep this fact hidden. After committing to the faction of her choice, Beatrice discovers the danger that awaits her if anyone learns her secret — and the danger that awaits them all if she keeps silent.
Beatrice is a likable narrator with an admirable lack of physical prowess (sometimes these hardcore heroines are a little too superhuman when it comes to learning new skills). She narrates in present tense, which doesn’t work for this particular book — I never could get used to it — but otherwise I liked her voice. You do get a bit more teenage angst than I’d prefer, but it comes with the territory and it’s not overwhelming. In addition to a sympathetic narrator, Roth provides a varied and interesting supporting cast and some lovely family moments.
I’ll be honest, the opening lacked luster. I was a little concerned about the pace throughout the first chapter or so, but it picked up quickly and paid off pretty well. The story draws you in rather gently and I enjoyed theorizing about it when I wasn’t reading. Sadly, the ending was inelegantly abrupt, not setting-up-suspense-for-the-sequel abrupt. I do plan to read the sequel, but I wish the ending had been stronger.
Overall, this book is good. It’s not breath-taking, it’s certainly not bad, but there just isn’t that spark. Worth the read? Yes. Although, it’s fine if it stays near the middle of your reading list.
At the end of the day: For me