Thursday, 21 February 2013
Divergent - Veronica Roth (#1)
I bought a copy in a Waterstones sale last year when I had a morning gallivanting around town with two friends as the trains were severely delayed. It was only really when I heard the news about the upcoming movie adaptation of this series combined with my friend practically forcing me to read it, that I decided I better read it.
Synopsis: In Beatrice's world, society has been spilt into five factions dedicated to a particular virtue that they believe caused the previous war. There is Candor (honesty), Dauntless (bravery), Erudite (knowledge), Amity (peace) and Abnegation (selflessness). When every girl and boy turns sixteen, they take an aptitude test to test their reactions to certain situations that ultimately determines the faction they belong in. They are then giving the choice to stay within the faction they were born in or transfer, leaving their family behind. For Beatrice, she feels she does not belong in her birth faction of Abnegation and makes a choice that surprises everyone. In the tough, competitive initiation test of Dauntless, Beatrice undergoes physical endurance and simulations that test psychologically, constantly assessing her. Beatrice is different to the others she competes with, she has a secret, she is a type of person in a society where it is extremely dangerous to be that person. The seemingly perfect society is changing, yet no-one knows to what extent.
Review: Sometimes being a book blogger becomes annoying when you love a book so much, you just don't know how to justify it in words. It's just good.
I know this book has reviewed over and over again since it's release last year so I'm sure what I have to say about why I loved this book has been said all before. I'll try to not just rant, but this is one of the hardest reviews I've had to write since my review for The Fault in Our Stars. I've actually been delaying writing it for about a week now but as I'm dangerous close to the end of Insurgent, I guessed I better get this review written before I get confused.
Just wow. Oh sweet lord, wow. I loved everything. The characters, the amazing, clever, terrifying and great world, the factions, the writing, the plot, THE ACTION. Just...everything.
Beatrice is an interesting character. She lives in a world where she is required to act and behave a certain way, yet has to watch those around her at school act in an opposite way. From starting this novel, it was obvious Beatrice was more of a Dauntless kind of gal rather than Abnegation - the jealousy and superior attitude she has for them comes across the page as she describes some Dauntless-born teenagers in one of the first scenes.
When Beatrice makes a terrifying leap (yes, pun intended if you understand it), she renames herself Tris and becomes a character you just have to love. Stubborn, tough, emotional, empathic and brave - she is well-rounded and I liked that about her. You don't see particularly any characters in YA now that could be described as significantly tough or physically strong yet understands empathy and shows their emotions, and it's that I liked about Tris.
While I'm on the subject of characters, can I just mention FOUR?! OH MY. Okay, I have to admit I wasn't his #1 fan to begin with and if I was going into this novel completely blind, I would not have known that HE would be the love interest. I mean he doesn't seem interested, he's in a superior role to Tris and he's just not that likeable - he's scary. And he's mysterious (which I guess is why all the girls swoon over him) - what you find out about him, I did not see coming at all. BUT OH MY. Something about him just makes you want to just, you know, take him with you everywhere. I think it's the moment when Tris sort of does the conventional 'Oh why didn't I noticed HIM?' that I, as a reader, was like 'HEY FOUR' instead of 'Please don't hurt me Four'. When his relationship with Tris develops and sparks fly, there is something so great about it that made me love the moments of intimacy Roth includes between the pair stuck in the middle of all this chaos. She makes you forget about the other bad events happening and focus on how wonderful this partnership is before throwing you back into the action again. I loved Four and Tris, and to be honest, I loved all the characters in this book - Al (although by the end I was like 'Please go'), Christina, Will (So many tears), Uriah, Marlene, Caleb - they all create a beautiful yet slightly haunting and heart-wrenching novel.
The action. OH MY. I thought The Hunger Games was pretty action packed but DIVERGENT slightly tops it. Unlike The Hunger Games where there's just danger thrown at them constantly, DIVERGENT has lots of action but you're not necessarily always put on edge by it all. The novel contains mostly Tris' experiences as an initiate in Dauntless - learning to fit in and to fight but also trying to get top of the class as her Abnegation blood and small height puts her at a disadvantage. Dauntless as a scary crowd and I don't think I would have chosen them myself, even for Tris' reasons - they have no losers. It's only really the last quarter of DIVERGENT that everything really starts kicking off with some haunting, brilliantly written scenes that had me hesitant to stop reading.
The action is so fast and so thrilling. It is literally just one thing hitting you after another. Sometimes action to this level can get extremely confusing, disorientating or just too much but even though Roth makes you visualise the action so vividly, I was never confused or freaked out by what I was reading. The action makes this book rather epic in a way, never boring and wanting me to keep on reading and reading where ever I was. The ending is just...wow. It is quite something, something beautiful, tragic and superb all at once. It also is a cliffhanger (although not as big as Catching Fire was) but it's also a moment of hope that I wish would carry on into Insurgent - a book I will devour like this one.
I know my words are probably sound completely like they've been thrown together in a hurry but I think it's merely because really there are little words to describe how I felt about this book - it's something that needs to be experienced. The characters were extraordinary, the action sensational, all set in a world that has got to be one of the cleverest yet in dystopian fiction. This is a book of romance and loyalty, bravery and suspense, war and identity that was utterly heartbreaking and uncomfortable to read at times. In a sentence: DIVERGENT was breathtaking.
I give it a 5 out of 5
Author's Website: http://veronicarothbooks.blogspot.co.uk/
Candor by Pam Bachorz
Shadow Web by N.M.Browne
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Breathe by Sarah Crossan
The Declaration by Gemma Malley
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld