Feeling Divided on “Divergent”

I began this book as a part of a little book club I’ve formed with a friend. We’re challenging ourselves to read anything and everything. This month we decided to go mainstream, YA fiction. It’s been a long while since I’ve buried my nose in a YA novel and I’m glad I did.

As a woman in my early 20s and a lover of all things literature, I often consider myself to be somewhat of a book snob. Novels like “Divergent” are certainly not my usual picks. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the dystopian society that Veronica Roth has created. I was fascinated by the cities of Dauntless, Abnegation, Amity, Candor, and Erudite. The flaw that I discovered was the lack of coverage about cities beyond Dauntless and Abnegation, but perhaps this is something that Roth addresses in the remaining two novels. Like any good dystopian novel, the world is falling apart at the seams and of course, the cities (in this case factions) become pitted against one another in mortal combat. Roth’s twist of a technologically controlled, robot-like army of faction citizens was an exciting way to employ futuristic ideas and SPOILER ALERT the death of the mindless killing machine Will definitely was a bit of a downer. 

I’m all for a super fantastic heroine who can kick butt with the best of them, and Tris was no different. I found her longing for Abnegation more than I was hoping. She constantly returned to the thoughts of her home faction, despite her desire to leave. Roth delivered Tris’s status as “divergent” in an intriguing way, leaving the reader to wonder what it really meant to be divergent all the way along. Few YA novels can boast such subtlety when revealing major plot elements.

My greatest criticism has to be the use of typical YA jargon: not challenging whatsoever. Yes I am a few years older than the intended audience, however Roth could have employed a few larger words. And to be honest, the book could have done with a final edit. My favourite instance was the phrase that went something like, “She got a new outfit at the clothes place.” I mean, couldn’t Roth have used “store,” “closet,” or something a little more inventive than “clothes place?” Just my opinion though. 

Overall, it was a nice, easy read. I finished it in a few hours. And I’m curious to read the next few books. I may not be purchasing the rest of the series. Perhaps I’ll add my name to the long list of teens waiting to check it out from the library. For now, I have that pile of books beside my bedside to tackle. 

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