Divergent Review

All right, so I just finished reading Divergent by Veronica Roth. It’s the first book I read as a college graduate aww. Sorry, I’m too sentimental for my own good. I’m going to review the book by listing the pros and cons.

Pros:

  • Strong female lead. This is something I always look for in a novel. It is, of course, a love story at its core. But that’s the case for most Young Adult novels, because that’s what most YA readers enjoy. The main character, Tris, is an independent thinker in a world of people who live to follow the rules of their society. She is strong and capable and outshines her love interest, Four/Tobias.
  • Dystopian society disguised as a Utopian society. I’m very interested in books that depict Utopian societies. I really love what I’ve read of Thomas More’s Utopia and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. So I was intrigued by the dystopian society Roth created, not that it compares to the works by More and Huxley, but it was a good version of a different kind of society meant for a younger audience.
  • Good underlying themes. There’s a lot of good stuff going on under the surface of this novel. There are political ideologies and themes of government corruption and what it means to be a good, moral person. These themes are not overtly thrown in the reader’s face, but instead presented to us in a way that allows us to form our own opinions.

Cons:

  • It’s very slow. At a whopping 487 pages, it took me at least 150, maybe 200 pages to get hooked on the story.
  • Poor world building. It’s very difficult to create an entirely different world and society within a novel. I was often confused and couldn’t keep up with the different factions, or the 5 groups that the society was divided into. I also had trouble seeing the world. When I read, I like to picture what’s happening, and the descriptive language used was very vague and confusing so I was forced to rely on the trailer of the upcoming film for visuals.
  • Too many characters. It wasn’t until the end of the novel that I was able to tell apart all the different characters, and I’m still a bit unsure about some of them. It felt very cluttered and a lot of the characters were too similar which made them impossible to tell apart. If you’re going to include that many characters in a novel, make them more distinct and focus on developing each character as independent from the other.

Overall, it was a good read. It got better the further I read until the end when it felt a bit forced and too fast. As far as Young Adult novels go, I’d recommend it. It’s no Harry Potter, but it’s no Twilight, either. I think it’s an especially good book for girls because of the strong female lead, but it can also be read by guys who aren’t into love stories because there is so much science fiction and action. It isn’t a strictly “girl” book. I give it a 5.5/10. Starting the second book in the trilogy tonight and will be reviewing it as soon as I finish. If you’ve read Divergent, comment and tell me what you thought and if you agree with my assessment of it.

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