Friday, September 28, 2012

Book Review: Divergent

As you've noticed, I have been devouring dystopian novels. You can blame The Hunger Games. When I finished that series, I began searching for similar novels. Although I saw Veronica Roth's Divergent series during my many trips to Barnes and Noble, I could never bring myself to buy them.  Moving to another country is expensive, y'all. Then, I made the trip to New York to visit my sister and remembered that I couldn't read my Kindle during take off and landing. And so, after seeing the new Brooklyn Nets' stadium, I stopped into the bookstore and bought Divergent.

Ironically, though I purchased this novel specifically for the airplane, I started the novel that evening. The next day our flight was delayed by 4 hours, so I not only finished Divergent before I ever got on the plane, but I finished Insurgent by the end of the first leg of our journey back to Houston. Sigh.

What this should tell you is that Veronica Roth is the author of a fabulous series.

At the beginning we're introduced to Beatrice Prior, a teenager who lives in dystopian Chicago. In this city, anyone who expects to be fed, have a family and have meaningful work is a member of one of seven factions. These factions each embody a particular virtue: honesty {Candor}, selflessness {Abnegation}, Bravery {Dauntless}, peace {amity}, and intelligence {Erudite}. At the age of sixteen, members of this society must choose their factions. Beatrice must choose between her current faction {and her family} and where she feels like she will most belong. To complicate things, she has a gift which would make it easy for her to fit into several different factions, and she is told that she must keep this a secret or face death.

We follow Beatrice on her journey, her initiation into her faction {a grueling, competitive process},  her romance with an older member of her faction, and her discovery of a plot which threatens her society and the lives of those who live in it. 

Roth has created a work which grips the reader from the very first page. Her characters are well crafted and believable and her story leaves the reader wondering just how well she'd cope in a situation like this. 

And yet, there were times I found myself scratching my head wondering about the finer points of just exactly this society came to be. I assume that we will be enlightened in the final novel of this trilogy, but it does leave me to wonder if Roth couldn't have put a bit more effort into crafting a more detailed universe. More than that, I found her language to be a bit clumsy at times {though, nothing so severe as the "inner goddess" from Fifty Shades of Grey} which was frustrating. I loved the novel in general, but wish that Roth could have given us a more polished product than what we have.

What have you been reading lately?

1 comment:

  1. I can't wait to read this one! I've been putting it off, but it's our book club book for next month which means I have to read it now. But I'm so excited and just hope it'll live up to all my expectations for it.