Rating: 4/5 Stars
Release Date: 5/3/2011
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About the Book: In futuristic Chicago, the city has broken up into factions depending on value you hold most important. Are you selfless? Abnegation is for you. Value honesty about all else? Candor is your faction. Is bravery the most important thing? Dauntless is where you belong.
Sixteen-year-old Beatrice was born and raised in Abnegation, but she knows she can't stay. At the choosing ceremony, Beatrice decides to switch factions and become Dauntless. But becoming Dauntless won't be easy. The Dauntless will only accept ten new members into their faction and to become Dauntless, the initiates must compete and train in various skills.
Beatrice transforms herself into Tris and tries to excel at Dauntless training and decide who to trust. But Tris is hiding a secret from them all-one that could be dangerous to her and her new faction. As she uncovers a growing unrest among the factions, Tris must decide where her allegiances belong.
GreenBeanTeenQueen Says: This book is getting a lot of marketing buzz behind it and is being touted as the "next Hunger Games." I've already shared my ARC with my teens and co-workers and they're raving about it, so I expect the hype to keep building! Divergent is similar to The Hunger Games without feeling like a carbon copy. Fans of The Hunger Games would be the first group I would give this book to. The story is different and unique and while it has flavors of other dystopian novels, Divergent is wholly its own story.
Tris is a great character and her world is an interesting take on the dystopian genre. Instead of it being the entire country or world, this dystopia focuses on one city. I did wonder what was going on in the rest of the country, so hopefully we get more answers in future books (because yes, this is a series). I found Tris to be gutsy as well as a bit soft and she balanced these two very well. She's never really a pushover yet she's never really a completely strong kick-butt girl either. She falls in between which gives her room to grow throughout the novel. I also liked that Tris showed a bit of a soft side, it made her more relatable to me.
The book is almost 500 pages long, yet it really is a quick read. I finished this in two days as the story was engaging enough to keep me reading. There were a few things that were a bit predictable and I would have liked there to be more that I can create theories on for future books, but I still had a lot of fun with it. Even though there were things I saw coming, there were others that I didn't which kept the book interesting and kept me up late reading. I do like surprises and twists when I read! I did think the author tried to squeeze just a bit too much in this book and I think some tighter editing could take place, but I'm hoping that's all because I read an ARC copy and the final book will be a tad tighter.
There's not just action and adventure, but there's a romance as well. Yes, I'm a sucker for romance, but I have to say I liked it. It wasn't love at first sight and the author took time to develop the characters and gave them a chance to like each other before the romance took off. Although this was one area that Tris bugged me a bit-she's a bit dense and I wanted to keep telling her that boy wasn't being mean, but liked her-it took her forever to see that!! I wanted to keep yelling at her, come on Tris, he likes you! But let me just say, thank goodness it's not a love triangle-thank you Ms. Roth!!!
I really enjoyed the world building and thought this dystopian Chicago was the perfect blend of creepy and crazy with a just hint of "oh my goodness, could this really happen?" which in my book makes for a great dystopian novel. Tris isn't the only character who gets to shine the supporting cast is well done. There's the right mix of characters you love, the ones you love to hate and the downright evil.
My only big gripe with the book is that the ending sort of fizzles out. It's not really a cliffhanger, but it still leaves lots of questions open for book two without answering much in this volume. The worst part is that I read this one early, so I really need book two now!
Divergent is definitely buzzworthy. If you're looking for the next big dystopian, add Divergent to your list!
Book Pairings: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi, Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
Full Disclosure: Reviewed from ARC from publisher I picked up at ALA