Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

2012-01-28-divergent2

Title: Divergent

Author: Veronica Roth

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

ISBN: 0-06-202402-7

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopia, Fiction

Synopsis

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris, and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together, they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes-fascinating, sometimes-exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret: one she’s kept hidden from everyone, because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly-perfect society, she also learns that her secret might be what helps her save those she loves . . . or it might be what destroys her.

Review

This was one of those books I read because a movie adaptation came out and I want to know what crucial parts of the book they took out. So expect a lot of comparing the book and movie in here.

I didn’t entirely like the book. There were some parts that felt unnecessary, but I can’t do anything about that, can I?

I have no problem with the way the books starts, I think it started out smoothly. Direct to the point. The way how they’re being put into the five factions bothered me though. They have this aptitude test that works somehow like the Sorting Hat because it determines which faction you belong in, but it’s you who’ll make the choice of which faction you will join. So what exactly is the point of having a test to tell which faction you belong in, when in the end, you’re the one who chooses your faction? (At least with the sorting hat, it’s the one who chooses your house, after considering which trait you value most.) What if you get Erudite in the aptitude test, but decide to be in Amity just because you want to? They won’t be able to do anything about it. Yes, you might fail the initiation, but if you do succeed, the aptitude test would seem useless.

Also, why would you let people manually enter the result of some people who get problems with their test? That’s the whole reason Tris got away. It would’ve been easier to catch the rebels before they get scattered into different factions. Oh well, that’s Erudite’s fault.

 

Moving on, Beatrice Prior.

During the first chapter of the book, she already showed interest with the Dauntless faction, so it didn’t surprise me why she chose dauntless. Also, she was being bullied or teased (being called ‘Stiff’) since she’s from Abnegation, I suppose she wants all that to stop. Dauntless was actually a good choice for her. She evolved through their initiation and learned things she eventually used to save herself and the people she loved.

She sacrificed so much in the book. She left her parents during the Choosing Ceremony, for the sake of transferring to the faction she favors. She had both her parents killed because they were trying to save her and the rest of Abnegation. She shot one of the closest friends she had: Will, who helped her through tough times during the Dauntless initiation. (I got emotional with this death. There were no tears, but I felt bad.)  And not to mention how she handled the guilt of killing all those mindless, innocent people. It’s a miracle she didn’t have a break down during the suicide mission she pulled off. She is 16 years old, that is too much to handle for someone in that age. (I should know, I’m like, a year younger!)

 

“The flag hangs from am tree branch, high above my head. I reach for it, and so does Christina. ‘Come on Tris,’ she says. ‘You’re already the hero of the day. And you know you can’t reach it anyway.”

I love how the book showed that the initiation isn’t just child’s play. In the line above, you can see how Christina becomes jealous of Tris. She didn’t like how an Abnegation girl like Tris gets all the spotlight. It showed that everybody can get blinded by greed sometimes and betray other people in the process. I know this is such a weak example but, considering it was Christina, Tris’ first friend in Dauntless, the idea of getting that kind of treatment is unimaginable.  Other parts of the book shows the competition between the initiates, too. How Al, the boy who likes Tris, tried to kill her for the sake of a possible advancement in the ranks. How the initiates would literally kill their fellow initiates out of desperation for the sake of not getting cut out.  This part of the book was removed from the movie and it is so disappointing. In the movie, Christina genuinely treats Tris like a friend and the importance of the initiation and not becoming faction-less  is somehow lost.

 

Tris x Tobias

A lot of you may hate me for saying this but, I believe the romance between Tris and Four is completely unnecessary. I didn’t entirely understand how they established romantic feelings for each other. Is it because they’re both Divergents? Is it because they both came from Abnegation and transferred to Dauntless? Why? Please explain the origin and reason of their love story, because I just don’t buy it. They’re better off as friends who treat each other like siblings because they think they’re the only ones who understand each other. Yes, I do feel giddy every time they have their Tris x Tobias moments, and I do somehow ship them (although not entirely) but, I still don’t understand how and why they had to develop romantic feelings for each other. Help me understand the whole point of it all.

 

Anyways, the book was altogether incredible, despite the unnecessary romance. I look forward to reading its sequel. I give this book 4 potatoes!

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3 thoughts on “Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

  1. Shealea Iral says:

    Hi! Divergent is actually one of my favorite books. I hated the movies though.

    Anyway. Regarding the simulation tests:

    The society and the factions — they’re supposed to create a utopian kind of civilization. Tris’s world is ideally a perfect world, and what kind of perfect world would lack freedom? That’s why people in the book are given a choice regarding their factions. Had they been sorted in a way similar to that of Hogwarts, the story wouldn’t have worked because it would contradict the “”utopian”” aspect of the faction system. Let’s not forget how during the Choosing Ceremony, the faction system was described with so much reverence. The leaders truly believed that the system was ideal. Also, in Harry Potter, those students were in a school and could therefore do nothing. As students, they were obligated to abide by the school’s rules so it makes sense to have a sorting hat, it makes sense to have such restrictions. But in a supposed utopian setting, that wouldn’t have worked because doing so = oppressing citizens = obviously not utopian.

    Now, here’s where it gets tricky. The Choosing Ceremony, the simulations — they may seem like forms of freedom, but they’re actually an illusion of freedom.

    Do you recall how terrified Tori was when she realized Tris was Divergent? Do you recall how determined the antagonists were to kill Divergents? Why? Because of their line of thinking, yes? Because they couldn’t be controlled. Because they refused to give into the system.

    The thing about the faction system is that it limits a person’s mindset. By focusing on one value, they are being conditioned in a certain way. They become predictable. They become submissive. They become easier to control without them knowing. They are conditioned to act the way the government wants them to.

    And that’s what makes the Choosing Ceremony an illusion of freedom. Consider that the faction system has been established for generations. The people who’ve been conditioned by the government will pass their principles and consequently their mindset to their children, who will pass it on to their children and so on and so forth. Basically, citizens are raised and taught to conform without them even realizing it. And if they’re conditioned to conform, then that renders the Choosing Ceremony useless as their supposed “choice” is predictable — which is what the antagonists want as predictability = easier to manage, manipulate and control. Basically, the entire thing is an extremely subtle form of oppression. People are being manipulated into thinking they have a choice when really, they’re just following choices predetermined by someone else.

    Obviously, this isn’t a perfect method of controlling people, as evidenced by the faction transferees. But that’s where the fear of being factionless comes in. The possibility of failing initiation and becoming factionless discourages them from going after something else — it keeps them in check. Now again, this isn’t 100% effective either — which is why Matthews decides to take it one step further and pursues actual mind control.

    It all makes sense, really. The elements are just incredibly subtle. Although this is honestly just my take on it. But I totally get where you’re coming from! And I agree with you regarding the romance aspect of the novel. This was a wonderful review! Thank you for the discussion.

    Liked by 1 person

    • carpefiction says:

      Thank you for clearing that up. It does make sense if you put it that way. It’s good to know I’m not the only one who thought the romance in the book was unnecessary. Your comment is much appreciated. Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Shealea Iral says:

        Sure thing! Your review gave me a lot of things to think about, which is great! 😊 I’m looking forward to reading your thoughts on the latter books, should you decide to read them. And by the way, I think it’s adorable how you rate books with potatoes. 😂

        Followed you solely for the potatoes. 😅 Oh and welcome to the blogging community! Hope you’ll enjoy it here.

        Like

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