Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Divergent by Veronica Roth

I'm taking a break from The Darkest Minds trilogy to read the Divergent trilogy before the new movie Insurgent comes out March 20th.  I saw the Divergent film last year so I knew most of what was going to happen in the book, but I'm so happy I read the book because there is just so much that a movie cannot capture in a book-to-film adaptation.

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Released February 28th, 2012
Borrowed from Friend
Rating: 5.0/5.0
Definitely Recommend

Spoiler-Free Summary

Divergent is about 16-year-old Beatrice who, like everyone else at 16, goes through a test to see which "faction" is best suited for her.  Factions include Amity for the peaceful folk, Abnegation for the selfless, Erudite for the smart, Candor for the honest, and Dauntless for the brave.  Beatrice was born in Abnegation, but doesn't feel like she is as selfless as the rest of Abnegation.  She looks forward to the test to tell her where she truly belongs.  But when the results turn up inconclusive, known as Divergent, she is put into a dangerous situation.  Those who are Divergent end up dead.  

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 threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves...or it might destroy her. (Summary from Goodreads)

Spoilers Ahead!

Once again, I am so happy I read Divergent.  The best thing about books is getting into the mind of the main character. Although Tris proved to be brave, she still felt all the emotions like fear, guilt, and embarrassment I would expect myself to have in many of the situations she faced.  I could tell she really loved her family, and it was nice to know that the tattoo of the birds was for them, which wasn't explained in the movie if I remember correctly.  I liked that when she joined Dauntless, she still thought about her family and often compared her values from Abnegation with those of Dauntless.  I liked that the transfers would talk about their previous factions, as well.  It reminded me a lot of when I started college last September, and everyone I met seemed to go on and on about their old schools.  I could relate to Tris, especially when she first joined Dauntless.  She was kind of a goody-two-shoes not used to the disorder of the Dauntless lifestyle.  I could also relate to her struggle of being short, as I am myself only 5 feet tall.

Another strength of this book was the cast of characters.  I got attached to Christina and Will, as well as other characters that weren't in the movie.  I actually felt really sad when Will died, and it has me wondering if Christina will blame Tris and become a sort of enemy to her in Insurgent.  I also felt Tris and Four had some great chemistry going on between them. While I didn't get any "feels" or make any weird dying cow sounds during their scenes together, I still thought the relationship was great and not cheesy at all.

Finally, although I saw the movie, the book was so action-packed that I never got bored, probably because the book was very different than the movie.  Typically, I don't read a book after seeing its movie because I get bored knowing what will happen in the book.  However, the writing was great and I could experience what Tris was feeling. In those moments of tension I found myself reading like lightening to see what happens next. The good thing about seeing the movie first is that I can envision all the characters looking like the actors from the movie as I'm reading the scenes.  Overall, I enjoyed the transformation Tris went through to become stronger, both physically and mentally.  Insurgent should be extra interesting for me since I don't know what to expect.

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