Book Review: Divergent

So, Veronica Roth wrote this book while she was in college (when she was supposed to be doing her homework). That makes me laugh. Maybe I can write a book instead of grading students’ essays. Think that will work? When I sit down with a novel that keeps me glued to its pages for hours on end, I later sit back and wonder, “Why didn’t I think of that?” It seems like everyone has already taken all the good ideas. However, I’ll start this book review by wondering a bit where Roth got her ideas.

Divergent is the first book in a sci-fi trilogy that features a 16 year old female as the heroine who becomes the focus of saving the futuristic world from the evil forces/powers that be. Sound familiar? You should read the book to decide for yourself.

In this dystopian society (set in the city of Chicago), people are divided into five different factions that each adhere to a strict code of conduct and beliefs. When children are of age (16), they take a simulated aptitude test to see which faction they should choose for the rest of their life. The choices are unique, and I’m eager to learn more about the philosophy behind each group. The Erudite are knowledge seekers, the intellectual type; the Dauntless are afraid of nothing (think daredevils and the X games?) and they guard the city, the Abnegation are selfless, so they govern the city; the Candor are always truthful and frank; the Amity want peace for everyone and lead very peaceful lives.

Beatrice is the main character, who finds herself in a predicament I don’t want to give away, and she must make some very difficult choices. She finds love along the way, and she also becomes a driving force in fighting the overthrow that happens toward the end of the book. That’s all I can tell you about the plot.

As for the content, I enjoyed Roth’s writing very much. I feel like she gives a great explanation of the undercurrents of this society, unlike comparable books. So far, the trilogy has more “meat” than other current adolescent trilogies. I’m really looking forward to seeing more of Roth’s philosophy on life come through in her writing. The premise of the five factions seems to be that people are able to be controlled quite easily. Beatrice and her friends show that this is not true. I’m already reading Insurgent, the second book in the trilogy, which just came out in May. Watch for the movie in 2013!



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