Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Cornucopia of Dystopia: Divergent by Veronica Roth

In Beatrice Prior's world, the future holds only five possibilities. At 16, she must pledge herself to one faction: Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), or Erudite (the intelligent). Leaving Abnegation behind means abandoning her family forever, but Beatrice has always struggled with the strict code of self-sacrifice. With the Choosing Ceremony fast approaching and a deadly secret weighing heavily on her mind, Beatrice must make the choice that will define the rest of her life. But the journey is just beginning, because her ultimate decision will take her to places she could never imagine, not even in her worst nightmares.

In DivergentVeronica Roth builds an intricate world of absolutes, evoking the fine line between virtue and vice with finesse. The factions are a fascinating concept to consider, and it is staggering to imagine living such a black and white life. Their eerie, cult-like feel immediately alerts the reader that all is not well in the city of Chicago. Yet, strangely the stakes aren't as clear as I would expect in a dystopian novel. The urgency of the situation doesn't completely resonate, though it is still an intense, action-packed story.

In Beatrice (rechristened Tris), Roth creates a show-stopping heroine, the likes of which I have not seen since Katniss (The Hunger Games) and Katsa (Graceling). Tris is a compelling blend of strength and smarts as she navigates the hidden dangers of her rigid society. Though her fierceness and determination are awe-inspiring, she is still an utterly human heroine, struggling with her fears, her family and her first forays into friendship and romance. Her motivations are complex and sometimes conflicting, unclear even to herself. The novel invites readers to delve into the depths of her character, and search for the fountainhead of her seemingly endless fortitude. Above all, this is a tale of discovery as Tris learns the truth about herself -- what matters most and what kind of person she truly is. Her journey is riveting, a thrill ride of nonstop action that will keep readers' hearts pounding. There isn't a dull moment, and all 487 pages of this large tome fly by in the blink of an eye.

Then there's Four. Four is a fascinating hero, rivaling Tris's complexity. He is perfect in his imperfections, swinging from fierce and intimidating to tender and vulnerable -- but unlike many heroes, he is never cheesy or controlling. Four puts up a tough front to hide his deep-rooted scars from a nightmarish past, but over the course of the novel Tris breaks down his walls to reveal a sweet and soulful side that is utterly bewitching. Their attraction adds richness to an already vivid world. The dynamic of their relationship is balanced; each sees the other as invincible, and their feelings are based on both affection and mutual admiration. Their story moves at a tantalizingly slow pace, building the tension and making the romance all the more believable and delectable when it finally blossoms.

The entire spectrum of human emotion is at work to make this novel an electric experience: fear, awe, desolation, determination, love and pure unadulterated hatred. Roth shows both the best and the worst sides of human nature, brought out by the absolutist society she creates. Divergent explores the heart of human experience, the everyday choices that make us who we are. Readers will be thinking about their own values and secret fears long after this story ends.


Disclosure: I received an advance copy of this novel from the publisher. This did not affect my review in any way.

This novel hits shelves May 3, 2011! Click here to preorder Divergent by Veronica Roth.

Part of the 2011 Debut Author Challenge.

Don't forget, today is the last day to enter my Divergent ARC Giveaway! Leave a thoughtful comment on this review for an extra entry! (By "thoughtful," I mean prove to me you actually read the review.)


ashelynn sanford said...

I read the 100 pages HarperTeen posted and DIED. I am hooked! If there was a bookstore nearby, I would so rush out and buy it when it releases. Sadly, I'll have to wait for Amazon to ship it. *face falls*

Great review! I like that you compared Tris to Katniss and Katsa. Those are two very kick butt heroines.

And I can't wait to meet Four. Every review I've read gushes about Four. I must meet him!!

Lauren M said...

I only have 20 pages left to read. *wide eyes*
But yes, you are so right! Divergent is absolutely stunning. I loved Tris! And Four! (And everything! lol) <3

Rummanah Aasi said...

Thanks so much for a review, Casey! I was hooked ever since I heard it's a dystopia set in Chicago (where I currently reside). The complex characters and the not so black and white choices are an added bonus. I can't wait to read this!

Shannon@BooksDevoured said...

I am dying to get my hands on a copy of this!! I have heard really great things about it!

Jenica704 said...

Great review! I just entered your giveaway. I am excited to read it!

Grace @ feedingmybookaddiction.blogspot.com

Bookish Brunette said...

Comparing to Katniss and The Hunger Games??? Ugh! As if I didn't want to read this badly enough already!

Jenn said...

Great review! I'm getting a little tired of the whole passionate all-consuming love at first sight trend in YA these days, so it's great to hear that this has a relationship that is a little more natural.

Celesta said...

I've heard so many good things about this book! Good review! Thanks for hosting a giveaway!

Linda said...

I LOVE fierce heroines. They're so awe-inspiring, just like you described the determined Katniss and the fearless Katsa. Strong women that really prove that we're equal to men.

I also love guys who seem to be intimidating who are actually so adorably sweet inside. Seems like Tris and Four are perfect for me. <3

Plus, I love dystopia!

Book Addictions by Christina said...

Great review! I love dystopian and this book look so awesome! I cant wait to read it. Thanks for the awesome giveaway :)

They draw of the dystopian world has drawn us all in and its really gaining popularity, so many dystopian books coming out now and I love it.

Divergent promises to be one of the best yet, I know I cant wait to get my hands on it.

Brodie said...

I love your review!! I think you just made me fall in love with this book all over again. And just when I thought I couldn't get anymore gushy about it...

Divergent blew me away. I can't believe we have to wait so long for the sequel, I NEED IT NOW!!!

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Oh, this one is on my want list! It sounds AMAZING. And I like the sounds of the choices needing to be made here. Great review. Thank you!

Lori said...

I read this last week and WOW! It was awesome! I really cannot wait to read more from Veronica!

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