DIVERGENT, Roth’s debut novel, comes at a time when dystopian novels are the latest “it” genre, thanks in part to the highly successful HUNGER GAMES trilogy. Admittedly not a huge fan of this genre, I picked up DIVERGENT mostly because I enjoyed HUNGER GAMES and had heard good things about it from friends who also weren’t ready to let go of Katniss & co (side plug: if you haven’t read Suzanne Collins’ THG series, you should).
After reading DIVERGENT, I can certainly say that I am now a fan of the dystopian genre.
In DIVERGENT, mankind decided to split up into five factions based on personal values: bravery (Dauntless), selflessness (Abnegation), intelligence (Erudite), honesty (Candor), and peacefulness (Amity). On their sixteenth birthday, children can decide which faction they want to live in – with the help of an assessment test, of course. When Beatrice gets a surprising result on her assessment test, she must then make a decision as to which faction she’ll belong to. The consequences of her decision shape the rest of the story.
Roth did a wonderful job in building the world in DIVERGENT. I felt that I could see what the Dauntless and Abnegation worlds were like. The violence felt real (this book is clearly not for the younger folks or faint of heart). The romance between Beatrice and Four was also well-done in that I felt their relationship grow organically. The conspiracy mystery and war talk in the second half of the book felt awkward and rushed, though. But with its sequel, INSURGENT, hitting the stores in May 2012, I’m hoping that Roth would delve further into the upcoming war.
4 out of 5 stars