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Divergent – by Veronica Roth

November 9, 2011

DivergentI’m going to be bold here and admit that one of my initial thoughts after finishing this amazing book was, “Katniss who?” I don’t really want to go comparing, because I dearly love The Hunger Games, and Katniss is undeniably awesome, but I guess my point is that this is the first book since The Hunger Games that I’ve read that’s had that same level of intense action mixed with fascinating world-building and emotional resonance. Or at least the first that’s also had enough similarities (namely, a dystopian future and a badass heroine) to make me think of comparing the two while reading.

But I didn’t intend this review to be all about The Hunger Games, so let’s move on. Divergent takes place in a futuristic version of Chicago in which society has been separated into five factions of people based on the qualities they value most: Dauntless, Candor, Erudite, Amity, and Abnegation. At sixteen, everyone has to choose the faction they will devote themselves to, which for Beatrice means choosing between abandoning her family and denying her true self. In the wake of her decision, she has to make it through the initiation process, during which she begins to realize that all is not what it seems and the growing unrest in the city may be shaping into something more.

There’s action, there’s suspense, there’s romance, and it’s excellently written to top it all off. Tris is a marvelously complete and complex character and the supporting characters—her family and friends—are all brilliant as well. Plus, naming a character after one of the Animorphs will always get you extra bonus points from me. I had a moment the night before I finished the book when I knew I was in trouble. First, because the chunk I had left was small enough that stopping would be really difficult, but big enough that if I didn’t I would be up into the wee hours of the morning. And second, because what was I going to read next? Anything I follow this with is going to pale in comparison.

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