10 March 2016

Divergent - Veronica Roth

Image from Goodreads
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, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

What's it possible to say about Divergent that hasn't already been said? To be honest probably very little, this book is popular and with good reason. It's been nearly two years since I read Divergent and when I read it I did so in a single day. 

My good friend, and blushing bridesmaid, gave this to me for my birthday in the middle of my final exam season at uni. I'd been planning to buy it for a while, and in some ways her timing was perfect, I needed a break, it was my 21st and I had an exam, two more in the following week and was moving out of my student accommodation for the final time to boot. In some ways her timing was terrible, because after that first exam instead of studying I picked up the book and read it from cover to cover. 

Veronica Roth in Divergent has managed to explore humanity at both its best and its worst. In Tris she has created a powerful heroine, someone with willpower and determination, but also morals. At the opposite end she has explored what highly tense situations can do to people. 

The pace in this book is very fast, the whole events take place over a period of around a month, but the book feels faster. And yet within the story there are places to pause, gather your thoughts and your breath and get to know the characters. 

I can't recommend Divergent enough. I've even seen the film and can say that they didn't do too bad a job. 

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