‘Divergent’ – A Review of the Book, Not the Film.

‘Divergent’, the film, came out a few weeks ago. I bought the book a week before going to see it in the cinema, so giving myself a week to read it. Within 24 hours, I had finished it. I knew there was plenty of hype surrounding it when I got stuck in, so I was wary. In my experience, hype does not necessarily equate good. In this case that wariness appeared to be unfounded. From here on, there will be spoilers.

The world that author Veronica Roth creates in her book is fascinating. The city is divided into five factions: Candor, Amity, Erudite, Dauntless and Abnegation. The latter is where the story starts off with the main character, Tris, preparing for the Choosing Ceremony, where she will decide which faction she belongs in. If I had not seen the film trailers, the part where she is trying to decide probably would have been more suspenseful. Instead, I knew what she was going to choose.

The first part of the story explores this choice and the initiation process for the faction she decides on. I really enjoyed this bit – the allegiances formed, the testing and the training. It was interesting to learn more about the different factions and pick up clues on what is really going on higher up the system. Admittedly, I did see Four’s reveal coming and it was a bit hard trying to remember who was who – lots of names with not much focus on their characters.

The second half of the story, which takes place after the final test felt rushed. I turned the page and suddenly everything just escalated. From an entertaining story about a girl trying to fit in and discover herself, ‘Divergent’ just exploded into all-out war. The mind control seemed to come out of no-where and everyone started dying. Unfortunately, the deaths that did occur, while obviously supposed to affect Tris, meant very little to me. Not enough time had been spent on the specific characters for me to care about them. In fact, the only scene in this entire segment that really hit me was Tobias facing his father.

‘Divergent’ is a good book, it hooks and hits you in the gut. I just wish the pace been a bit better and the eruption more controlled. There is definitely a very strong ‘Hunger Games’ vibe going on, so if you enjoy that series you will probably enjoy this one.

Rating: 3.5/5

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