4 April 2012

Divergent - Veronica Roth

Tris lives in a world where you get to choose how you live your life. There are 5 factions - Amity, Abnegation, Candor, Erudite and Dauntless. Each citizen chooses theirs when they are 16. after that, they belong to that faction for the rest of their lives. But what happens if you don't slot neatly into one faction; what if you are divergent?

Dystopian fiction for teens is bang on trend at the moment, thanks to the huge success of 'The Hunger Games'. And this book doesn't disappoint, even for an adult reader. The plot isn't all that twisty and can be obvious to an adult reader, but the depiction of this interesting dystopian concept is excellent. The plot, at times, can be a little cliche - this genre and romance seem to go hand in hand - but overall it is a thrilling, fast-paced read. The events culminate to an unexpectedly huge crescendo, and I wonder how the next novel will fare after that. One possible question that may remain in the reader's mind is exactly how the world came into being. Hopefully, an explanation will be given to us in the sequel.

While the novel does not compete with 'The Hunger Games' in terms of technical skill, it has many features that make it well worth the read:-

The characters are believable, likeable and realistic to their world. This, I think, can be see very well in Roth's protagonist, but also in her other characters. For example Albert, another initiate, is torn between a crush on a girl and the will to survive the initiations (or risk being factionless and living on the edge of society). I think it is good that they don't act or think exactly as we do, otherwise they wouldn't feel right to the reader.

It also really makes you think about yourself as a person. If you were in this world, which faction would you belong to? Would you also be divergent? Or would you choose to be factionless? There are tests in the book that you can place yourself into and decide how you would fare in that world - your capacity for selflessness, or your deepest fears.

Overall, I give it a 9/10. Not perfect, but definitely getting there.

The second novel, Insurgent, comes out on hardback on the 1st May 2012.