13 April 2015

Divergent by Veronica Roth - Book Review

I am probably one of the last people on earth to have read Divergent, as it's one of the most popular young adult sagas... but I'll still speak by mind about it.

Divergent is a dystopian novel by Veronica Roth, and it's the first book of a series of four. At first, it feels a lot like Hunger Games, but as you keep reading you realise that it does offer some substantial differences. Personally, I still prefer Hunger Games as it was a pioneer in the dystopian book genre and because of its characters.

The novel is set in future Chicago, where society is divided into 5 factions: Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless and Erudite. Beatrice Prior is a young woman who belongs to Abnegation, the faction advocating selflessness. But when she takes the test to establish her future faction, she results Divergent. In other words, her intelligence allows her to belong to any faction but at the same time doesn't make her suitable for any of them; besides, the government wants to eliminate divergents for their ability could turn dangerous against the fragile balance of the factions. Beatrice will have to make a hard decision while having to keep the secret to herself.

It's easy to understand why this type of book is so commmercially successful - the genre is captivating, a bit of romance is added to spice things up and the characters are strong and easy to identify with. However, I'm not a huge fan as I'm not that into science fiction; I read it out of interest and as a light read for my spring break.

I was not impressed by the style. It's super easy which I don’t appreciate as it makes me think that the author didn’t make an effort while writing the book. I guess that the robotic, straightforward style has to reflect the science fiction / young adult take of the book but I have to say that it isn't one of my favourites. The dialogues can be weak and the language is quite repetitive.

However, there are also aspects I enjoyed about Divergent! The narrative is definitely catchy and suspenseful. I watched the film before reading the book which isn't the order I'm used to (most plot twists were ruined by the memories of the film). The characterization of Beatrice is great. I loved her strong personality and behaviours and her evolution through the book. However, I didn't find the character of Four as amazing as in the film, and neither did I understand Roth's esteem for him as it isn't reflected in the first book (perhaps in the fourth one? I'll soon find out).

I absolutely loved how the author explored the theme of fear which I hadn't encountered before in such an interesting way. I'll stop here and not say anything else to keep this review spoilers free!

Reading Divergent wasn't great for me but I went through it very quickly for its suspense. I'd be curious to read the next three books, although I know young adult isn't my genre.

My edition: Roth, Veronica, 2011. Divergent. New York: Katherine Tegen Books. Pages: 487 + 72 pages of bonus materials. Bought at: Barnes and Noble (NY). This is an amazing edition and it contains a lot of extra materials including an interview with the author, a test to establish your faction and the beginning of Insurgent!

Goodreads: 3/5


  1. Don't worry, like you, I also just recently read this.
    Check out my review here

  2. Thanks for passing by! I'll check it out ;)