Divergent by Veronica Roth
I’m very new to the Divergent fandom. I’ve seen the films – book blasphemy, I know- but I finally finished the first book last week. I had read the first chapter a few years ago and wasn’t really impressed. Now that I’ve read the whole thing… well first book… I’m annoyed I didn’t read it before.
I’m not in the mood for writing a summary of the book, I’m sure most of you reading this have at least a good idea of it, so I’ll get right into the characters. Beatrice (Tris) our protagonist is brilliant. I love her. She’s sacrcastic, smart, not completely selfless like most heroines yet she still has a bit of a vulnerable side. The line “I am selfish. I am brave” really does sum her up. She does stand up for her friends but other than the end, only when it won’t harm her. I’m thinking mostly of when her friend is hanging off the railing over a chasm. Tris doesn’t go to help, even when she nearly falls off, nor does she start trying to encourage her until someone else does because she knows the consequences if she does. It’s refreshing really. Most heroines are annoyingly self sacrificing that I want to shake them. This includes the knife throwing scene, I think she knew he had a good aim and wouldn’t really hurt her. Something about her reminds me of Cleopatra – yes I know its a strange comparison. I blame how one of her friends describe her. She’s not called beautiful she’s called “striking”, which is how Cleopatra is described. Add to that she is smart and takes part in a revolution, I think it’s an apt comparison. I love seeing her venerable side mixed in with badass side like in her fear simulations. We see her being a fast thinking fighter yet see she still has the same fears like intimacy, it’s really sweet.
I can definitely see the appeal of Four and why he is everyone’s fictional boyfriend. He is adorable. “He is not sweet or gentle or particularly kind. But he is smart and brave, and even though he saved me, he treated me like I was strong”. Ok, I don’t completely agree with Tris’ evaluation but its a start. I do think he can be kind and gentle and sweet, but only to those that he cares about… we only see it with Tris. Every time he got embarrassed I couldn’t help but think how adorable he is, not helped by what his last words in the books is – my exact note that I made while reading was “screw it, I’m in love with him”, his words are that cute. He lets her dictate how their relationship is and actually talks about what both of them wants. His bravery is somehow also adorable, he admits he has fears yet he owns them i.e. name. I’m sure I could continue raving about how much I love him but I think there are other things I could be talking about.
The only things I didn’t like about the book are all very small and insignificant. Tris says about her father that “people see him as an opinionated man… but he’s also loving. I try to see only the good in him; I try”. It sounds like he’s putting on a facade when she says “try” and he has a dark deep secret but I haven’t seen anything like that even after finishing. I don’t get why she had to “try”. All her private memories of him show him as good man and father so I’m not understanding that line.
The other thing that only slightly annoyed was the over exaggeration. It only happened once or twice and it’s more a personal thing than anything. It one point it says “It has been years since i jumped off a building… it has been decades” for something that happened a few days or weeks ago. I understand it is to show it felt like a long time but it took my slow brain a few moments to figure that out.
One quick question. Does the Faction choosing ceremony happen every year, and at what age does it happen? Tris and her brother weren’t the only siblings that chose in the same year so I was just wondering.
Other than that I enjoyed everything. Even liked the bits of foreshadowing i.e. Christine saying she likes being in control of her own mind, or certain a person being a good actor. Admittedly, I only noticed that because watched the movies first.
I really enjoyed this book. It had some great characters, including my new boyfriend and love of my life and was well written. The tiny bits I didn’t like were barely noticeable and I probably would have forgotten by the end if I hadn’t made notes as I went along. I would recommend this to YA lovers, probably those who also liked Hungers Games or who is fed up of self sacrificing heroines. Can’t wait to read the rest of the series.