The Divergent Trilogy is a dystopian young adult fantasy series set in an alternate reality where the USA is split into different factions, with each faction having unique mannerisms, rules and dress codes. On turning 16, main character Tris must join her classmates in taking the Aptitude Test, which determines their future, by placing them definitively in one of the five separate factions: Abnegation, Erudite, Candor, Dauntless or Amity. Once decided during the Choosing Ceremony, each pupil then leaves to join their chosen faction and train to complete the initiation process. Failure is not an option worth contemplating.
….possible spoiler warning…
Veronica Roth’s Divergent is similar in style to other recent young adult series, such as Hunger Games or Maze Runner, and this is immediately apparent, from both style and political substance. The story flows smoothly and swiftly, hooking the reader in right from the very beginning. Unlike Hunger Games though, Divergent dives straight in to the action, keeping the reader turning pages and following Beatrice as she moves through each stage of the initiation process, fighting for survival.
Admittedly, I was sceptical going in to this novel, not being sure what to expect from this writer. However, I found it to be a really exciting fast-flowing, well-written book. I loved the courageousness of Tris, as we follow her first-person narrative through the story, starting from shy conformist girl to the brave rebel she later becomes. With strong relatable supporting characters and great character development this is a must-read recommendation from me.
The story isn’t new, it’s been told before in numerous other series and in numerous other ways. However, where Hunger Games fails, Divergent shines. It kept me engrossed and entertained, despite not being the biggest fan of politics. It gave me enticing hooks and strong characters to care about and root for. It was also full of action with surprising twists and turns, although predictable at times too.
My main gripe is that we never fully learn what happened to the world, the background if you will, as to how the factions came into being. Why it was necessary to split humanity into its component parts, with each personality style living independently of the rest. Also, while this novel has a definitive beginning, middle and end to it, it is also clear from the slightly abrupt ending that there are more books to follow in order to complete the overall story.
At 4.5 out of 5 stars, Divergent is a great start to – what I hope will be – a fascinating and enjoyable young adult trilogy. Recommended for those who enjoy dystopian fantasy, it’s not perfect by any means, but it sure is a compelling read. I just hope that Veronica can keep the momentum going throughout the rest of the series.