Author: Veronica Roth
Source: NetGalley ebook
The entire Divergent trilogy recently became available on NetGalley and, knowing the large fanbase this series has, I jumped at the chance to read and review them. Of the three, I have only read the first one (Divergent) before, and I have only seen the first film. I have, however, seen the trailers for the following films and heard they are not that close to the books. So, reading this series from start to finish will be an interesting experience for me.
The trilogy is set in a dystopian future where a society of people live in five factions, surrounded by a wall. These factions are personality/value based (for example, a drive for knowledge, honesty, selflessness etc.) and each member of the society belongs in only one, based on their dominant trait. Tris, however, starts the series not knowing where she belongs but her choices soon find her embroiled in something that could change everything.
Divergent has a fantastic combination of sub-plots and over-arching plots that really keeps you engrossed in the story. Mostly, however, I found the first novel in the series to be a book of self-discovery and development. You really see Tris grow as a character as you see her determination to be accepted into her chosen faction. It intertwines with the main story-line really well, as well as with the less-important plots. I thought the use of the simulations was unique and left a lot of scope for the later books.
However, I did not enjoy the story as much as I thought I would. Knowing the events already, from having already both read and seen this novel/film before, prevented me from fully appreciating the threat and events unfurling. This does make me wonder how re-readable these books are. Hopefully, I will be able to capture the thrill I miss in Divergent when I read Insurgent.
Tris, as the main character, is a great lead. She is strong, yet vulnerable and her determination to make it in this world, despite not knowing where she really belonged, is inspiring. I also liked the fact that neither Tris nor Four, the male lead, were perfect. Each had their flaws and their fears and this made them a lot more relatable (although, I was a little concerned about the consistency of the fears throughout the book)
The secondary characters helped flesh out the world a bit more. However, it was difficult to tell one from the other. I could not remember who came from which faction so whenever these parts of them were mentioned, I ended up a little confused. There were a few where they just seemed like bodies with names rather than real people. Christina definitely shines, however, and I am looking forward to seeing how both her and Tris react and deal with what happens at the end of this book.
As I said above, I thought the simulations were really well done and a great part of the book. As a main part of the initiation Tris has to go through, they allowed us to get to know her and get a better grasp on how this dystopian world works.
The faction system is also very interesting. During the aptitude test, I found myself trying to work out which faction I would most likely belong in based on what I thought I would do in those situations (Erudite, for those wondering). I really enjoyed how each faction had their place in the world and how the values are put to use. I did find the Dauntless a bit ridiculous to begin with. This may have been due to how they were explained through Tris’ perception of them, but it took a while before I could work out their motivations (I could not see how running was considered brave) but the explanations as the book progresses help you get to grips with each faction.
Divergent is a great start to the series. It builds up the world and develops the characters in a way that lets you feel like you are a part of the story. It’s written from Tris’ perspective but, as well as letting you get into her head, it also lets you start to build up relationships with the other characters. I am really looking forward to seeing where the series progresses to, and how I find them after having seen the trailers to the films (although I have heard that they are different) and been exposed to a number of spoilers.