Saturday, November 26, 2011

Dystopian Novel "Divergent" by Veronica Roth ~ Cautionary Tale

Published by: HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 487
Genre: YA Fiction, Dystopian

Why Was I Drawn to This Novel? I love dystopians. Truthfully, I'll read almost any novel that says it's dystopian...especially a YA genre.

Cover Value? Interesting cover. Again, it's the dystopian look that really caught my eye, and the title, too. That firey circle reminded me of the "eye" on our dollar bill and the secret society that is supposed to represent the "New World Order" in our present world. Creepy!

Author? Veronica Roth was not known to me before reading "Divergent." I'm going to be very interested in reading her next book.

Series? Yes! The next book in this series comes out in May, 2012. It's called, "Insurgent." Can't wait!!

My Weekend Review:

"Divergent" is one of the YA novels I was most curious about this past year. I kept holding off reading it like a gift I wanted to wait to unwrap until a special time; then I realized the year was coming to an end! I'm glad I picked it up last weekend and read it...devoured it, is more like it.

In summary, the story centers around a teen aged protagonist, Beatrice, who is of the important age when she can choose which "faction" or lifestyle she will live and work within for the rest of her life. Of these factions, there are these: Abnegation, which values selflessness; Candor, which values frankness/honesty; Erudite, which values knowledge; Amity, which is a faction concerned with working for peace and compatibility; the "factionless" who have not qualified for any factions so are poor and perform the most menial of jobs, and Dauntless, the brave and bold--the fierce fighters.

Beatrice was born into an Abnegation family but never felt at home within the confines of that restrictive environment, and looks forward to her time of reassignment, albeit with a heavy heart with concerns about hurting her parents and brother.

When the test administrators come to her school and give her a "stimulation" inoculation to determine her most appropriate faction placement, Beatrice is pulled aside and told she is something called "Divergent" ~ one who could fit in to several factions ~ and something which is never to be shared with anyone at anytime, ever. It is a dangerous thing to be. She is told that to protect her, her test will be made unclear to those it's reported to, and that she should simply choose a faction she feels most inclined to...Abnegation and Daunting, and Erudite being where she scores.

What follows is the story about Beatrice's choice to join the Daunting faction, her initiation within that faction, her love interest, and her wisdom gained that will conclude with a surprise that will bring all the factions into play.

As a dystopian novel, I felt that "Divergent" was fairly successful. Its creation of a futuristic society that had been partitioned into different "factions" to carry on a world which had an apparent catastrophic ending, was believable. Although the setting played at being in a destroyed, futurist Chicago, we have only a few hints to discern that; and, we are not given any knowledge as to what caused the destruction of the "world" or the United States. I felt at a loss for that information.

The initiation section of the book was excellent in concept, but it seemed to take up too much of the story content, in my opinion. It could have been compressed to lend as much impact; possibly more impact. It began to belabor the story, but was pulled out just in time to move on to a conclusion, thankfully. The conclusion, however, seemed rushed in contrast. Possibly the author was cut short by editors, but the ending of her book failed to tie things together well enough to answer questions that seemed pertinent to this particular story. It seemed abrupt, to me.

There is no doubt that Veronica Roth can write a story that is intriguing and full-bodied. She writes one with interest and good character building. I felt as if her characters were realistic and captivating, personal and probable within her world-setting. They engender a caring response, and an understandable connectedness to each other within the novel. I think these are her strong points, and very immediate ones, ultimately making "Divergent" a good book to read. Nothing better than an author who can create great characters we can attach ourselves to!

I would recommend this book to YA readers, and to many adult readers who enjoy dystopian novels. With the small exceptions I've mentioned that do not in any way take from her overall presentation of a worthy novel, this is quite the entertaining book!

While the story is left unresolved, I expect a second book to conclude it, making this a series. Personally, I'll be looking forward to reading it.

4 stars and a choice of Erudite for my faction

Deborah/The Bookish Dame

My Favorite Character?   Four     You'll have to read the book to find out who that is...   ;]

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