Divergent: A Review

Recently, I finished reading the first novel in a three book trilogy. Titled Divergent, Veronica Roth weaves a tale of how one choice can transform you. Set in a post-apocalyptic setting (which seems to be all the rage now), citizens are forced to choose a faction based on their personality traits: Erudite, Abnegation, Dauntless, and Amity. However, there are those who don’t fit into one of the previous categories and are labeled Divergent.

Grading Scale:

1=Terrible

2=Barely Bearable

3=Good potential but bad presentation

4=Wonderful read but has a few flaws

5=Nearly flawless

I will grade the following: Plot, Characters, Scenery, Writing Style, and Overall. Caution! This will contain some major spoilers.

Plot: 4

I give Veronica Roth a big pat on the back for bringing a new twist to what has already been done. Let’s be honest… apocalyptic novels have swept the nation since Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games Trilogy hit the shelves. I guess Roth wanted to get in on the action. Veronica Roth took a similar idea but added a nice twist. There is a reminiscence of The Hunger Games in that fact that there are four factions instead of twelve districts. Some might label it a wannabe, but I thought she was fairly successful. Tris, the protagonist, is labeled Divergent in her aptitude test (a test of one’s personal traits) and is warned of the danger she could be in because her test results were inconclusive; she is then labeled Divergent. Choosing to be Dauntless instead of Abnegation like her family, she turns her back on all that she knows and tries to keep her secret. Learning to be resilient and being tested both mentally and physically, Tris tries to find a new home with her Dauntless initiates. However, her conflicting personality shows as times as well as her ability to control simulations. This raises suspicions and heightens the plot. When she discovers a plot that the faction leaders are planning, Tris is one of the only ones who can save her friends and family; but being a hero comes at a price. The reason I gave the plot a 4 is that I felt as if Veronica Roth was stepping into the shadow of Suzanne Collins, though I applaud her for making her unique stamp on this genre.

Characters: 4.5 (almost 5)

Veronica Roth made me fall in love with her cast of characters. Tris struggles with her influx of emotions: anger, selfishness, bravery, love, and selflessness. While creating relatable characters, she also created despicable ones. Peter is a good example as he tries to kill Tris and also stabs Edward, one of the initiates, in the eye with a butter knife one night. Tobias, Tris’s mentor and later lover, is probably one of my favorite male characters… ever. I actually enjoy Tris’s and Tobias’s love story and love the break from the love triangle scenario. Veronica Roth weaves their love story delightfully and the chemistry between the two is well written. The supporting characters are memorable, and the protagonist is likeable. However, Tris can come off as slightly annoying to me at times. That’s why I give the characters a 4.5 (though I almost want to give them a 5).

Scenery: 3.5

When it comes to scenery, it’s your classic post-apocolyptic world. Enough description, but nothing too pleasing to the eye. Roth writes about the scenery well enough, but I wish she would add something unique to the surroundings. However, the factions themselves are interesting. The Dauntless headquarters reflects darkness and danger, whereas Abdegnation is bland and uniform. While Veronica Roth creates nice scenes of the headquarters, the overall city itself is dark and dreary with very little (symbolic) light. The factionless live on the street, and the schools are nothing incrediblel. I believe it was meant to be that way, but I give the scenery a 3.5.

Writing Style: 4.5

Veronica’s style of writing resembles Suzanne Collin’s in the fact that it’s in present tense, and the overall feel is similar. However, Veronica has a beautiful way of involving you in the story and feeling for her characters. Her love scenes are passionate and captivating. Her simulation/violence scenes are gory and descriptive.  Her writing style puts you in the protagonist’s head, and portrays Tris’s decision making process excellently. She kept me wanting more of her writing as I read the novel, so I give her writing style a solid 4.5.

Overall: 4.5

All in all, Divergent is the next big series to hit the screen. With thousands of readers, Veronica has made her mark on this popular genre. Most who loved The Hunger Games will gobble up Divergent. Some might say it doesn’t live up to Suzanne Collin’s trilogy, but Divergent was (to me) nearly as breathtaking. With memorable characters, pleasing writing style, and average scenery, I give Divergent an overall 4.5. Pick up this novel before it hits the big screen March 24th. This book could transform you…

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below! What did you think of Divergent? While you read the new rage on the bookshelves, try to figure out how Veronica Roth discovered the key to be published.

Until next time,

S.G.B.

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