Title: Divergent (Divergent #1)
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian
When I first saw the cover for Divergent I was drawn to it’s simplicity as well as the obvious sci-fi and dystopian undertones. I also really enjoyed the cool toned background in stark contrast against the fiery…eye? I wasn’t sure what it was but I knew that I loved the design regardless.
There is one mirror in my house.
I will say that the premise of factions and “Divergence” is a very unique take on societal control and mob mentality. However, the sudden insertion into this dystopian world was not as seamless and immersive as it should have been. At what point would humanity decide to split into factions in order to weed out human weaknesses they deemed the most poisonous? It is very far-fetched in my mind so in that regard, it was harder to accept the world building. However the narration propelled me forward and I found myself flying through the pages.
The only character that I connected with at all was Tris because she was the narrator. All the other characters felt very flat to me, especially the other initiates. And even Tris, to some extent, remained static throughout the novel’s progression. The only growth I saw was her acceptance of selflessness as the source of her bravery instead of evidence that she failed her family and her upbringing. But I absolutely loved the unlikable traits that Tris continued to exhibit throughout the story. On the deepest level, I related to her stubbornness, obsession about strong appearances, and her selfish urges.
Four is probably the only other character that I could connect with other than Tris. For most of the story, he was so perfect and untouchable that I really doubted his attraction to Tris. But then his fears were revealed (even though they seemed too clichè) and it made him flawed enough to seem human. All the other initiates were almost forgettable and only parroted their original factions, which I kept forgetting…
The first person narration allowed countless insights into Tris’ personality but limited the potential development for the secondary characters. It also lacked any kind of distinction in either sentence construction or vocabulary. Usually I keep a pen and notebook nearby while I’m reading for quotable gems but it went unused because the language was so plain.
It was very engaging and even though the world wasn’t completely believable, the human aptitude for evil made it real. I will say that there was a lot of unnecessary deaths for the shock factor. Unfortunately, because the characters in question weren’t fleshed out before the end, their deaths didn’t affect me as much as they should have done.