Reviewed by Nikyta
Author: Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #1
Genre: M/F Dystopian
Length: 501 Pages
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers/Katherine Tegan Books
Release Date: May 3, 2011
Available at: Harper Collins Publishers, Amazon and Barnes & Noble
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Let me just say, that I saw the movie before I read the book. Yes, I know that’s taboo! But, while I wanted to read the book first, I just couldn’t find the time. Then last week I rented the movie and WOW, I LOVED IT! It was so good, I loved the characters, the actors and actresses had such great chemistry together and the movie had enough suspense for me to be freaking out at times. So, since the movie was so awesome, OF COURSE, I had to then read the book ASAP to see how much was similar/different.
Unfortunately, there was A LOT that was different. In fact, there were scenes out of order, some scenarios that happen to Tris in the movie, don’t actually happen to her in the book but to a friend instead. Scenes that were in the movie were warped from the scenes in the book (ending anyone?). So, when I read the book, I was a little let down, which is sad because I keep wondering if I would feel this way if I had read the book first instead? Would I still love the movie so much? Or would I be complaining that the movie was so off base from the book that it sucked? Either way, while I loved the movie, this review is solely about the book.
In the world of Divergent, there are five factions that society is divided into: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. Each faction has a characteristic they are known by such as Candor being honest, Abnegation being selfless, Dauntless being brave, Amity being peaceful and Erudite being knowledgeable. However, this is the story of a 16 year old Tris, who’s part of the Abnegation faction, and her choice on which faction she’ll live her life in. She must either choose her family or follow her heart to becoming Dauntless. Her choice brings surprise to everyone, including herself, and leads her to a life filled with brutality, deception and manipulation. But during her journey a war arises that puts her right in the middle of destroying an entire faction.
Her choice was to transfer to the Dauntless faction who are carefree, brave and should offer protection to those who need it. As a character, I have mixed feelings about Tris. She’s so strong and courageous at times and then at others, I felt like she was very weak and frustrating. I couldn’t understand how a girl that was so powerful when it came to really threatening situations could be so fragile and docile when it came to others. She confused me especially when I was constantly comparing the book Tris to the movie Tris, who was always fierce and confident.
My biggest complaint, and this is my fault because of my expectations, was that the book didn’t live up to the movie. Yes, I KNOW that’s backwards as I should be comparing the movie to the book but as I saw the movie first, I was expecting something highly different in the actual book – well, I was expecting the SAME story but written out, instead it was almost an entirely different story. Actually, it reminded me of fanfiction because there were some similarities and the world was the same but it was almost an entirely different story. I felt like the characters in the book were catty and jealous a lot and most of the scenes that I expected to be taken on a suspenseful ride (because I was in the movie) were actually tame compared to what I was anticipating.
Now, this is not to say I didn’t enjoy the book but I just wasn’t expecting it to be so different from the movie. I didn’t expect Tris’ friend, Christina, to be so jealous of her and even sometimes go out of her way to beat Tris (Christina is sooo nice and supportive in the movie!). Four was a great character (I loved him in the movie, too!) and I liked that he was a mix of gentle and harsh with Tris (gentle in private, harsh in front of others) and I loved that there’s a love developing between them. They’re a great team together but also sweet a couple.
The premise of the story is extremely interesting and I love the setting of the book. The fact that it was divided into factions to rid the world of evil and yet evil has still managed to creep up in the factions, really held my attentions. The concept behind being divergence was really captivating and I loved reading about it. I loved discovering the characters backgrounds (especially Four’s) and I loved experiencing the training and simulations.
Overall, it’s a great story. The execution was a little choppy at times with sentences that were short and stunted but I got used to it eventually. I loved the world and I loved the characters most of the time but I won’t deny that I had big expectations when I came into the book, already set on loving the movie more than the novel and, because of that, my opinion was biased. I’m hoping that when I read the second book, Insurgent, I won’t be as disappointed especially since the movie isn’t out yet 🙂
Overall Impression: I liked it!
*I purchased my own, personal copy of this book for review.*