Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth
Paperback; 487 pages
Published by Katherine Tegan Books on February 28, 2012
Rating: 5 stars
Summary (Goodreads): In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
The first time I read this book was nearly a year and a half ago, and at the time, I read the book within a day or two. This time around, it took me much longer, but I loved and appreciated the story just the same.
I love the way the story is pieced together. The world is interesting, and while it's obviously corrupt by this time, I think it would be neat to see the way everything ran before all of the corruption. Regardless of that, the world itself drew me in, especially the way things went in Dauntless. I personally would never make it in Dauntless, but I loved seeing Tris there.
Tris went through such a transformation throughout this novel. Sure, she starts out brave, and the things she does at the beginning of the book to show this bravery is outstanding, but as the story progresses, she becomes a much stronger person in both mind and body. This only serves to make her braver than ever, and she is able to do things that she would never have imagined in her wildest dreams with no thought to it anymore. The transformation in both her character and in her physical aspects is really impressive, and I feel like she was able to discover herself more as well.
Seeing Four in this novel is amazing as well. I love his standoffish behavior and the way he responds to the initiates. Even more than that, I love the way that he interacts with Tris and the little hints at his attraction to her are thrown in here and there for both Tris and the readers to swoon over. I love seeing the layers of the walls he built around himself peel away as Tris gets closer and closer to him and we get to see him in a new light. He's still that guy he was in the beginning, but he has so much more to him when he is unguarded.
I honestly love reading about initiation in Dauntless and the way that it all is put together. It's brutal and harsh, but it really helps build up the strength in every single one of the initiates, even if there are some that shouldn't be trained that way. Those who read the book should know exactly who shouldn't be trained to use knives and fight. It's terrifying how they have to face their fears day in and day out, and I'm sure it's even worse when they aren't Divergent like Tris is. I personally thought it was bad enough when she was in the simulations, so I can't even imagine how it would be in the mind of someone who isn't Divergent. I wish we were able to get more of a peek at all the other factions' initiations, I think it would be really interesting to really know how it went. I'm glad we got a little information on this through Tris and Christina.
The romance between Four and Tris had me at the edge of my seat, even the second time around. I could feel their attraction oozing out of the pages and was anxiously awaiting their first kiss. I love the way they both are able to work together and bring out whatever is needed for the other to either be their best or get through something difficult that required a little extra strength and push. I don't think Four sees her as a little girl or anything like that, I think he sees her as an equal, even though he is her instructor. I like this, because while he is her instructor, he really is only two years older than her. Sure, this gives him a higher position of power and a little bit more maturity, but not enough for him to act too superior over her.
The ending of this book is both intense and heartbreaking, and I couldn't turn the page fast enough to get to the next page. There's barely a chance to catch a breather or take too much time to process one horrific event, because a second later something new and just as awful is happening. The way Tris handles everything is spot on, and while it's agonizing that she has to go through what she does, she stays true to herself and the people she loves.