6:26 AM

Divergent (Divergent, #1)Divergent by Veronica Roth

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rating: 4.5 stars

This is one of the BEST books I've read in the whole of 2011. Which is quite a surprise to me 'cos I thought I wouldn't like this book at all. I have never been into dystopian fantasy novels. The appeal for me stemmed from the reviews claiming what a thrilling read this was. And I have to agree with them whole-heartedly.

The story is basically about a dystopian world set somewhat in a post-apocalyptic future where the human race is divided into 5 different factions (or clans), each living by a certain value that is held dear to the people. There's 'Dauntless' (bravery), 'Abnegation' (selflessness), Amity (kindness), Erudite (intelligence) and Candor (honesty). So, the people of each faction are to live their lives solely by that one particular value that their faction is associated with. For instance, the Dauntless would engage in extreme and dangerous acts to prove their fearlessness and adorn piercings and tattoos while the Abnegation would dedicate their entire life to being selfless by helping everyone before themselves and wearing gray & plain clothing. Each faction take things to the very extremes. The story revolves around Beatrice, a girl who found out through a test that she fits into no particular faction and has qualities that make her suitable for many. She is deemed as 'Divergent'. This is a dangerous fact that she has to hide at all costs. At the Choosing Ceremony, she chose to leave her own faction (Abnegation) and family behind in order to join Dauntless. This is where she is put through ruthless initiation exercises whilst discovering more about herself and what sets her apart from the others, as she is divergent. In the midst of all this, tensions grow between factions (even though the world has been in peace ever since the creation of the factions). We follow Beatrice as she creates friendships, enemies and even romance, also realizing the truth about being a Divergent.

I can't say anymore without totally spoiling the book for everyone but tons of things happen in between. With every chapter, we are thrown deeper and deeper into this alternate reality and discover more about the world that Tris (Beatrice) lives in.

At first, it took me a while to get into the book. Simply 'cos I couldn't grasp the concept of the factions completely. I didn't get why the Dauntless must dedicate themselves to doing such idiotic and dangerous activities (such as jumping off moving trains, climbing towers and learning to fight) just for the sake of proving their fearlessness. I didn't understand how the Abnegation had to be as plain as humanly possible to prevent selfish thoughts that come from vanity and always serve others before themselves. It seemed too simplistic and one dimensional. It was a difficult concept for me to grasp. Especially so during the Dauntless initiation training, where I thought that they were just crazy and masochistic. I then realized that this was the flaw of the alternate world. And the reason why being divergent was so special. Tris was unclassifiable in a world that depended on order and classification to bring about peace.

But with each chapter, I get sucked further into this world and was swept away by the break-neck pace that the story ran towards the end of the book. There were SO MANY twists and turns that left me in shock and gasping. Not to mention, cringing and totally at the edge of my seat at the vivid action sequences that doesn't leave out all the gory details. It's FANTASTIC! In the midst of all this action and the unveiling of a conspiracy, there are many tender moments as friendships and romance is explored. The romance that blooms between Tris and Four (that's his name) is surprisingly tender and heartwarming. The few scenes that they share were not at all childish, but believable. I felt the intimacy and passion between them, which was the only delicate thing in the harsh, cutthroat world they lived in.

Tris was a character that I needed time to warm up to. I did not fully understand her rationale when she did certain things. Especially when she was being mean towards her friends and family. I couldn't understand her obsession with proving her toughness and fearlessness. But towards the end, I grew to understand her much better and accepted her flaws as her complex character was just part and parcel of her being a Divergent.

Let me just say that the ending was RUTHLESS. I am dying to know what will happen next and I cannot believe that I have to wait months before the sequel comes out. While I did make some correct guesses at the plot, there were so many things that caught me off-guard and made me look at things at a WHOLE new perspective. And the action towards the end was RELENTLESS. It doesn't pause even till the end. I was literally BREATHLESS as things unfolded at a fierce pace. I also teared up at certain moments in the book (especially at the end, OMG OMG).

I only wished that certain relationships and characters were explored further and the logic and history of the factions were further elaborated. But who knows, more may be revealed in the next book. I CANNOT WAIT. This is a book I HIGHLY recommend. It might be a bit tough to get through at first as it was hard for me to grasp the concept of the new world and I thought Tris was rather annoying. Somehow, it sucked me midway and I breezed through the rest of it. It was violent, gory and thrilling.

Ruthless and relentless.

I'm gonna gnaw at my nails in anticipation for its sequel.

View all my reviews

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