Saturday, September 12, 2015

Divergent by Veronica Roth

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, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

When my friend and I picked up this book, we were in a serious HG withdrawal syndrome. We hadn’t really read a lot of books before, except those “mandatory reads” at school that we all usually hated. For Eve and I, Twilight had been the first book that we read because we wanted to, not because we were told to (sad, I know) and therefore, our knowledge and experience in the YA genre (and, in consequence, dystopian) was very limited.

I’m rambling, sorry, but the point is, we had finished The Hunger Games and, although we were happy that we knew how the series ended and yadda yadda, there was this… I don’t know, hollow inside us because the series was over. That was it, the story had ended and we were trying to come to terms with the fact that we’d never learn anything new about this world and the characters. No baddie to take down and all.

So one day, while reading a teen magazine (Eve worked at a magazine stand right out of school) we came across an article depicting Divergent as the “Next to read after The Hunger Games”, we both looked at each other like,

And started it the very next day. We finished it and loved it, but unfortunately that very same year we finished high school. With college and work, we simply lost a bit of contact and the next two books were never discussed. Still, I had read them and loved them (except the third but that’s for another review).

However, and yes it’s that dreaded “however” after a few years and a bunch more books on my back, I decided to re-read Divergent just for the sake of it and… well, I no longer think it’s that great.

Don’t get me wrong, I still think it’s a good book to read if you are starting the Dystopian genre and also, though this is just a personal belief, I always think it’s interesting to read super hyped books even if we believe they don’t deserve all the praise. Maybe it’s morbid curiosity on my part, but I want to know what’s inside those stories that so many people loved.

That being said, as a novel Divergent lacks in many departments but one of the most important one is the plot.
I’m kind of an over-thinker, so whenever there is a plot hole (no matter how small) it will bug me a little. In Dystopian it’s a bit hard to judge because, well it’s a futuristic version of the world that came from the author’s imagination, how can we know it won’t happen? Ok, yeah, some stuff are ridiculous but still… not impossible. And yet, I had a big problem with Divergent,


That’s not me being an over-thinker or picky, the freaking cover has only one word and that is DIVERGENT in big, white letters. If the main plot of the entire trilogy it’s not clear, then the grounds for it suck, and the story will suck in return.

I remember I had been very intrigued by the concept; “One choice can define you.” Because we had been in our last year of High school and that was the time when we chose which career we wanted to follow. Pretty much what I felt during that year was “One choice can define you.”, it was easy to connect with the book but, as it turns out, the concept of “divergents” destroys the very essence of the book,

If we accept Divergence as it is presented in the book, then there is no choice at all.

Doesn’t make sense? Let me explain, Divergence is explained in the book as one person’s ability to fit into more than one category (Abnegation, Dauntless, Erudite, Candor and Amity). In the Divergent world, people are divided into this five “factions” where they dedicate themselves into cultivating their faction’s believes.

Before I started reading, I thought the test Beatrice was going to go through would be like an aptitude test. You know, it would tell her which categories she had better potential in and so she could choose which one she wanted to spend the rest of her life at. After all, it says over and over that they have a choice. BUT it also says that people can only fit into one category, and one category ONLY. They are either Erudite/Candor/Dantless/Abnegation/Amity or they are nothing.
But they are all born in one faction that teaches people how to behave. If they were all Abnegation naturally, then wouldn’t they all be naturally selfless? And when they leave that faction for another one, then wouldn’t they be unable to fit in, if they are only Abnegation?

We know that, all people are born into a certain faction but have different aspects of each factions (Tris is both selfish and selfless, her brother is both selfless and smart, etc.) like any regular person, right? And so, when they leave it’s because they chose what they want to be, either that be more selfless or brave or stuff.

But then the book insists that only divergents can fit into more than one faction, while people grow in one and then change and learn about their new faction. IT MAKES NO SENSE.

And then Divergents come to screw everything up. Seriously, did people have a choice or were they cardboard copies? The book never settles on anything and it’s pretty obvious why the whole concept was created; to make Tris special.

That’s it, and I could get past this in any other book (Granted, I’d still be pissed because it’s too lame) but the whole Divergent trilogy is based on Divergents and overthrowing the evul government that tries to kill them, and we don’t even know what divergent is!

That was a major plot hole that not only annoyed me, it also made the re-reading rather difficult since I couldn’t understand a thing.

The characters, well, they had their problems as well. I wasn’t very into Tris and how she treated “weakness” if I were to meet her in real life, she would be the sort of person to tell someone with depression to “suck it up because other people have it worse.” She actually thinks something similar about Al and it made me feel disgusted. She could see that Al was struggling, that he was suffering and all she could think off was “Ugh, what a coward!” HELP YOUR FRIEND!

There was this constant reference to cowardice and bravery that I felt was incredibly wrong. Tris thinks that holding a gun is being brave, same as doing dumb things like jumping off a train because everybody else does it.

As for Four and Tris I- I… idon’tlikethemtogether! Phewwww, there I said it. Though it’s not that I have anything particularly against them together, I just don’t see why they are together. From the moment they laid eyes on each other, Tris and Four are somehow, magically attracted to one another. The brooding hunk of a dude who never cared about anybody else, is for some reason obsessed with this skinny and shy girl. I don’t get it, and they certainly have no chemistry when they are together, my guess is the two of them are together because she’s the MC and he’s the love interest, besides that there is nothing going on.

To sum up, my mind has changed a lot since I first read Divergent. I would recommend it for people who love the genre, or simply to read a super popular book but when it comes to plot, characters, world-building or message… yeah, don’t go there.


  1. Wow.... I completely and totally agree. For some reason, I knew something was wrong with this series, but didn't really understand what it was. THANK YOU! Seriously, I can now defend my stance on this book while making sense. So glad you pointed the specifics out!!!!

    1. Thanks!! I tend to overthink stuff and the plot holes here drove me nuts, I tried to put it into words as best as possible :)