Monday, May 28, 2012

55 Books in a Year: Book #20 Divergent

Hmmm...since I'm reading Insurgent, I suppose it's time that I write a review for Divergent.

I feel that you can't talk about this book without first talking about its author, as its author is truly every aspect of this book. I began reading her blog a little before Divergent came out and fell in love with her voice. I liked it so much that I found myself wishing that she could have been in one of my classes so we could have spent time talking about books and the world. If you read her blog you will find that she is truly all of her 24 years, humble, to the point of self-deprecation, witty, smart, funny and gosh darned brilliant.

All of these traits spill over into the characters in her debut novel, so much so that I found it really hard to dislike a single one, even those that are terrifying and horrible, like Eric.

This book is set in a dystopic Chicago (squee) were people have been divided up into 5 factions (Amity, Abnegation, Candor, Dauntless and Erudite), during your choosing ceremony you go through tests that determine the faction that best fits you. If that faction doesn't work or you don't fall in line, you then become factionless and live in the wasteland (a place we know is probably better). Each faction then trains their initiates...and, by trains I mean brainwashes...into the ways of their respective faction. And, as with any dystopic universe this works only if there's tons of control, people who blindly believe whatever is put in front of them and people who naively believe that what is being done is right and just. Of course, they believe that because they don't know all the answers.

Both Tris and Four, in some way, fall into the latter category. As each begins to find out who they really are, they, of course, find one another. They must then learn to lean on one another when they find out that their perfect world of factions and exact rules is falling apart.

And, while Tris is the narrator, Four is the one to watch and Four, with his light eyes and dark hair and tattoos and muscles, teaches Tris about family and true selflessness.

I understand that there are people out there who have had their fill of all things dystopic. To those, I say add this to your list, I promise it will rejuvenate you and show you that there is hope for dystopia.  There are also many out there who compare this series to The Hunger Games. I don't disagree with them (and, in some ways I think this series is better...of course, this series is not for those in the middle grades) I do, however, say "Who the flip cares?". In Divergent, Veronica Roth, has given us a strong female lead who is fiery and fierce and who knows that she is flawed, who makes mistakes, a girl who I imagine is a bit more like the author than most think and therefore a bit more real than the rest of the YA heroines out nowadays.

Once you finish the book, go find a copy of "Free Four: Tobias Tells The Story", it's a little short story of the initial meeting of the transfers and Eric and Four. I like that from that story we get a sense that Four is truly sensitive and compassionate. I also like how it subtly gives us background we need for Insurgent. Four really is my favorite character...

Oh and just in case you don't have time to read Ms. Roth's back catalog of awesome blog post, here are a few of my favorites:

Prince Charming, Meet Wal-Mart
Divergent Playlist
Likeable Schmikable
Writing Out of Order
The Mistakes Writers Make

Now, back to Insurgent, I'm right in the middle!

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