Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth

She turns to face the future in a world that’s falling apart.

For sixteen-year-old Tris, the world changes in a heartbeat when she is forced to make a terrible choice. Turning her back on her family, Tris ventures out, alone, determined to find out where she truly belongs.

Shocked by the brutality of her new life, Tris can trust no one. And yet she is drawn to a boy who seems to both threaten and protect her. The hardest choices may yet lie ahead…

A debut novel that will leave you breathless.

Blurb taken from Amazon.co.uk

Breathless, not completely accurate but not too far off the mark. When I started reading Divergent, I discovered that I couldn’t stop. It had me hooked from the beginning. Perhaps, even, before the beginning. I’d seen it during my perusal of the internet and it  had followed me ever since. I finally relented while doing a small marketing excursion to my local book shop, I couldn’t leave without buying something after they’d been more than willing to answer my questions (at least that is my excuse).

It is not a perfect book, there are a few moments in which my inner editor wanted to change words and get rid of some repetition but that said, it did not hamper my reading. It is not the quality of the writing which hooked me, though the writing is very good; it was the emotion. Roth is excellent at making you feel exactly what her characters are feeling. When Tris was scared, I was scared.

Like the book, Tris is not a perfect character. There are moments where I want to smack her (even more so in Insurgent) but there are also moments where I want to give her a high five. She’s three dimensional, she’s believable.

One of the things I love about this book are the factions: Abnegation (selflessness), Dauntless (bravery), Candor (honesty), Amity (peacefulness) and Erudite (intelligence). In a dystopian Chicago, the citizens must choose where they belong, which trait they believe in over all others. Those who do not, or those who fail, become Factionless. They believe that living in factions is the only way to survive and put their factions before their blood. Amidst these factions are the Divergent, who do not fit neatly into one, instead having traits of several. I’ve been really into dystopias recently, like a lot of others I am unsurprisingly on-trend, and the factions won it for me before I’d started reading. I was intrigued by the idea, by how the characters would fit into their factions and I was not disappointed.

I think the only thing that did disappoint me was the cover; it’s nice, it’s a nice design but it’s not the American cover (see below). I adore the American cover and wish that I could have purchased that version. It is a lot more powerful and a lot more intriguing than the British cover. If I based my decision to buy it on the design alone, I probably wouldn’t have bothered. (I am so glad I did!)

Divergent by Veronica Roth (America cover)

This book has haunted me ever since I finished reading it, I had to read it again and then when I’d finished I lasted about a week before my will-power relented and I bought Insurgent, the second novel in the series. I was going to wait it out until nearer the release date of the final book but inevitably my urge to read got the better of me. There are two lines which have stuck with me more so than any other lines from any other books, so I will end this review with them:

‘I am selfish. I am brave.’

Rating: 4.5/5

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Extraordinary Things in Ordinary Places

This morning, as I sat on the bus reading Veronica Roth’s Divergent (for the second time, more on that in a later entry) on the way to OICPS, I witnessed one of the most beautiful sunrises of my life. As I glanced out the window to see whereabouts I was, I was met with the fields by Water Eaton Park and Ride, covered in mist with the sun peeking over the top. Everything was in sepia.

When I looked up again, I was met with something better, something which looked as if it had leapt right out of a painting and I wish I had a camera. Rising up next to the sun, so close it looked huge, was the silhouette of a hot air balloon.

It was possibly the best way to start the day. The artist in me craved to capture it, camera in hand (if only I had one with me which wasn’t my phone); the writer in me wanted to pluck it out of the sky and onto the page; the rest of me was just happy to have seen it. Mist and fog are, perhaps, my favourite weather conditions, sunrise/sunset are my favourite times of day (except when the sky is clear at night and I am out in the middle of nowhere, where the stars are at their brightest – an experience I have only really had once, when in Scotland last December for a friend’s birthday, in a castle away from civilisation).

I think writing is all about finding extraordinary things in ordinary places, even when writing fantasy. When that bleeds into your real life, your real experiences, you should grab it and run with it. I think I should listen to my own advice. So that is what I am going to do within the next few days, between the wedding editing (more on that in a later blog post) and the university reading.