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Thursday 14 July 2011

Divergent by Veronica Roth [Reviews]

Written by: Veronica Roth.
Published by: Harper Collins.
Format: Paperback.
Rating: 4.5/5.

Official synopsis: "She turns to the future in a world that’s falling apart. For sixteen-year-old Tris, the world changes in a heartbeat when she is forced to make a terrible choice. Turning her back on her family, Tris ventures out, alone, determined to find out where she truly belongs. Shocked by the brutality of her new life, Tris can trust no one. And yet she is drawn to a boy who seems to both threaten and protect her. The hardest choices may yet lie ahead… A debut novel that will leave you breathless."
Every once in a while, you read a book that literally, and for real, leaves you breathless. And Divergent is definitely one of those books!  

A dystopian epic, that doesn't really have that much of a dystopian feel (I didn't really get that post-apocalyptic, post-mass-murder/war/horror) but dark and futuristic nonetheless, the book hurtles along at a brilliant pace. From start to finish, Roth doesn't let go of you, or your mind for one second. Reading the book is both effortless and a little demanding. To start with there is a lot to take in and to try and remember. The whole faction situation is a little confusing to start with, but once you remember Erudite are the smart ones, Candor the honest, and Dauntless are brave/courageous/stupid it soon becomes second nature.

Personally I love the whole faction situation. The whole "make a choice at 16 that will affect you for the rest of your life" really resonated with me. It shows that sometimes a choice, no matter how minor you think it is at the time, can have cataclysmic consequences that can affect you immediately or in the long run, and boy does Tris, or Beatrice as she is known as for the first few chapters of the book, learn this the hard way! There are five factions in all, as I've already mentioned there are Erudite, Candor, Dauntless and also Amity (who favour the peacefull side of their personality) and Abnegation (who value selflessness above all else). At 16 you have to decide which faction you want to live in, the one that you most value, but it's not as easy as that. There are personal implications to think about. Do you stay in the faction you are already in, and live your life as it has always been, possibly a lie if you don't truly belong. Or do you leave everything you ever know to fulfill your own personal needs, and leave your family, never to see them again?

After a terrifying aptitude test to help the teens to decide what faction they want to live in for the rest of their life, they go through a fairly brutal choosing process. I won't spoil this for you because it hit me when I read the book and I hope that it makes an impact on you too! And the initation process, too, isn't an exactly nice experience either. Again, I won't spoil that for you, you'll have to read the book to find that out!

Roth's writing is beautiful. I've said before, and I'll say it again, I'm not really a fan of first person novels. They just don't do a lot for me. So a book has to be special for me to really make such a massive connection to it, and Divergent did just what I asked for! It enthralled, it shocked and above all it made me actually feel a part of the action, which sometimes other first person narrative's fail to do. I read this book a couple of months ago and re-visited it a week or two ago now after I read something rather disappointed and wanted something I knew I could trust and I only loved it more. 

I for one am very excited to see what happens next, in the second book, Insurgent which is out in 2012. Roth has created something special which deserves to stand the test of time. I recommend this book for everyone really. Male, female. Old, young. Just read it at whatever cost. This series looks set to be exciting and breath taking so don't waste another moment to get started!

My thanks to the lovely people at Harper Collins for my copy!

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