Crafty Stories

I like to tell stories through the creative arts. I may be slightly obsessed with books, movies, TV shows, yarn and fiber. Wanna hang out?

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Book Review: Divergent By Veronica Roth

About a month or two ago I was browsing Etsy for literary-inspired creations, and I stumbled upon The Green Forrest. Among the books I recognized as the inspirations behind several pieces of jewelry in the shop, I also found some that were unfamiliar to me. Namely, I found an entire section devoted to The Divergent Trilogy.

So, naturally, I had to research the books for myself. I found the first novel in the series, Divergent, through my library's e-book system. I had to wait several weeks on the waiting list to get it, but the wait was well worth it.

I'm going to avoid spoiling the book here, but I'll just give you the basics so you will be enticed to read it for yourselves (I hope).

A few disclaimers before we begin:
- Nobody paid me to read this book. I was not given a copy of the book by anyone else, including the publisher. I chose to read it on my own and the opinions I will express in this review are also my own.
- I am a HUGE fan of dystopian literature, particularly of the Young Adult genre. You should know this in advance because I am predisposed to like books like Divergent. If you are not similarly predisposed then you might find my review a bit biased or over-enthusiastic.

Anyway, let's move on to the actual book, shall we?

The Basic Plot
Divergent is a dystopian novel, meaning that the setting takes place in a fictional future where war has torn apart the world and the leaders of the society have taken measures (sometimes drastic ones) to stop that from happening again. In their pursuit of a Utopia they end up creating a system that fails in some way when things go horribly wrong.
In this future version of the United States (Chicago, to be exact), the people who live in the city all belong to one of five factions. The idea is that if human nature's propensity for evil is what creates wars, then the only way to eliminate war is to put a huge emphasis on the more positive characteristics in the human personality. Each faction chooses one main emphasis: Amity for kindness, Erudite for intelligence, Candor for honesty, Abnegation for selflessness and Dauntless for courage. The people inside those factions have to behave a certain way and strive to always emphasize that one important trait in their lives and in their behavior.
At the age of 16, children born into a faction must take a test to determine their aptitude for a particular faction, which may or may not be their own. Then they choose the faction they want to join as an adult; choosing a faction other than the one they are born into means leaving their family behind forever, so it is rarely done (but it does happen).
The main character in the novel takes her aptitude test and finds out that she doesn't have an aptitude for one faction only; rather, she's Divergent, meaning she shows strengths in a variety of areas. This, she soon discovers, is a dangerous label to own, so she must hide her Divergence as she chooses a faction for herself.

My Reaction
I really loved this book. I enjoyed watching Beatrice, the protagonist, as she struggled to choose a faction and be true to herself. I admired her courage as she pursued initiation into her faction and also as she took the steps to dismantle the corrupt government toward the end. There's a nice bit of romance in the novel while still retaining a strong female protagonist, and the plot twisted often enough to keep me guessing and to keep me biting my nails. If you enjoyed novels like The Hunger Games, Uglies or Incarceron then I highly recommend the Divergent Trilogy as well.
The second novel in the trilogy, Insurgent, comes out in May. I can't wait to read it!

Do you have any other dystopian literature to recommend? I'd love to know about it! Leave me a comment and tell me all about it.

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