Book Review: Divergent

October 29, 2013


While October seemed to my weakest month this year, it has also been one that surprised me a bit, mainly due to half my order coming early. So far, I covered all of the books from my order and only the book my sister recommended to me remains. Today, I will be reviewing that book, which is called Divergent by Veronica Roth.

Much has changed in Chicago from what it once was. Society has split off into various groups with different views of what makes a person evil.

This is the world in which Beatrice Prior lives and may seem peaceful, but after she turns sixteen, and making a decision everyone her age is required to make, she learns that things may not be as they seem and that there are people hunting down others like her.

I enjoyed this book. Starting with the very first pages I was drawn into world and the story. This certainly how I should feel with any book, but there are some, like The Book Thief, that takes way too long to do anything of the sort. In fact, it did so well enough that I did not want to stop reading it. The pacing was good enough that I got to know the characters and could follow things without too much trouble. After all, if a reader cannot really follow what is happening, I doubt that they would enjoy it too much. I liked how Beatrice was struggling with figuring out where she belongs. It seems reminiscent of the same struggle many other people have, whether it be religion or something else, and does take quite a while to find the answer, just like it did for Beatrice. I also liked is how the actions of Jeanine seemed similar to those of mainstream news in the US. Things seem to be pretty decent in world presented in the book, but Jeanine just keeps complaining about those in power, thinking that there is something wrong. Likewise, there are people in the US that do not get how good that they have had it, and put into office those that will make the country better. Fortunately, things in the world of the book have not crumble yet. Then again, I have not read all three books yet, so I cannot really say whether or not things improved. Another thing I liked is how a girl that Beatrice met in her new group said, "Politeness is deception in pretty packaging." As much as my elders seem to sing high praises for politeness and being gentlemanly or ladylike, mostly the former, I think that it makes people, mainly women, become apathetic or unaware of looming danger. Of course, that just depends on how easily they give people their trust, since Akiyama from Liar Game states in the 29th chapter, "What many people do that they call 'trust' is actually giving up trying to understand others and that has nothing to do with 'trust', but is rather apathy." I just do not think that people should be polite to make others like them and should only be polite when it is genuine, otherwise it would be like a person that tells people they are grateful because their parents told them to, not because they are genuinely grateful. I guess that I share some views of the Candor faction, because the book does say that they value honesty more than anything else, though I do see some situations where deception is needed. The thing that I like the most though is that there are not really any characters that I want to die just because they are dull. The characters may not be unique, when compared to characters from other works, but it is exactly what I want in a story. Take A Certain Magical Index, for instance. One of the reasons I hated the show was because Touma Kamijou is the main character and he was so dull I wanted him to die in every fight. However, that is mainly because he was the main character, due to the fact that I felt differently about him in A Certain Scientific Railgun S episode 15, where he is not the main character. Other than that, I do not think that there is anything that comes to my mind without repeating myself. The fact that I felt like I was drawn into the book's world and Beatrice faces at least one problem we all have, as well as the fact that there are really any characters that are too dull for my liking, made this a decent read.

Although I liked the book there are certainly some issues. However, there is only one thing that really bugged me. The book uses the first person point of view with present tense. I will admit that I have not read every book out there in the world, nor would I live long enough to do so, but it seemed to break the flow of an otherwise good story. Just like there are colors go that well each other, there are tenses and points of view that work well together and this combination is not one of them. If the author wanted to use present tense, I think that a third person point of view would have been better, as I would have not been as distracted, though the distraction would still be there because of other books I have read in the past. At the same time, because it did not hurt the enjoyment too much, I can only consider this a minor issue. While having a story that is first told in the first person point of view with present tense was a bit annoying, it does little to ruin the enjoyment.

Despite the fact that the first person point of view with present tense does break the flow of things, the good outweighed it enough to make it worth reading. I would recommend this to people looking for decent story.

What are your thoughts on Divergent? Do you agree or disagree with my views? Do you have anything to add? Feel free to comment.

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