Veronica Roth
Divergent Cover

Divergent by Veronica Roth


Divergent is book one of a trilogy by Veronica Roth; all of which takes places in the "new world" created after an apocalypse. To safe guard this new world from self destruction like the original, tribes or factions have been established. Each faction is supposedly reflecting a member's innate character. So there is a tribe for the intellectuals/scholars & a tribe for service, etc. Allowing each individual to relate, live, and perform according to their "natural" ability is supposed to create harmony and prevent discord. But, of course, there wouldn't be a trilogy if that planned society actually worked.

At the center of this story is a 16 year old girl who must make her life choice, and then be initiated into that faction. Her mind tests were inconclusive- meaning -if publicly known-she is divergent -therefore incompatible for any single tribe and would be cast out to live with the other poor, starving, misfits and failures (the "factionless"). So she must keep this information about herself secret. Once she makes her choice- leaving her family's faction- and beginning the initiation process, life becomes hell- just as many teenagers experience it today. Not one of the "in crowd", being an outsider, having to prove themselves, putting up and responding to bullies, figuring out who to trust, and of course, what does love really looks like.

The "new world" Roth has created in this series becomes as corrupted as the old one, so the first book ends as an actual outbreak of war between factions (festering for a while) erupts. Beatrice or "Tris" as she renames herself- is left with both parents dead, her brother a rebel from his newly chosen faction, and Tris's trainer now outrightly her boyfriend. They escape, riding a train away from the city, to become part of the factionless of the world.

The premise of the "new world" was superficially interesting, but failed to explain many aspects within the novel. I got weary of Tris's failure to recognize her ally in Tobias (her trainer who became her boyfriend). And the extreme violence in the Dauntless faction did not feel sufficiently justified. This is not a novel I'd recommend to any reader who enjoys thoughtful character building or smart plot weaving. This is a fast action, quick painting of background/characters, with weak writing that probably won't even be noticed by many young readers. Maybe the 2nd in this series is stronger, but that isn't usually true for most series- maybe the new movie, just out, is better- but, we all know that is rarely ever true.