“Divergent” by Veronica Roth

Following the relatively new trend of dystopian novels, Divergent seems to be typical story depicting a dreary world where groups of people are being divided up by the government in order to “help” the citizens discover more about themselves and benefit society the best they can. The details throughout the book are both intriguing and original but the overall concept shadows one much like the Hunger Games trilogy. A female heroine who is questioning more to life is a somewhat beaten in topic and this novel has done nothing that sets itself apart from many of the other series that are floating around in pop culture today. Though very successful, Divergent seems to lack both an original theme as well an extremely deep level of thinking and analysis.

It is relatively easy to compare our teenage heroine Beatrice or “Tris” as she renames herself later in the novel to Miss Katniss Everdeen, a pop sensation that struck millions of people with her signature bow and arrows. Both characters put on a mask of strength and act tough in order to survive in the harsh world that surrounds them when in fact each of them contain worries and doubts of their future. They are both sharp in their mind, quick on their feet, and portray the ability to think critically in stressful and possibly harmful situations. However, neither Beatrice or Katniss start at the top of the food chain and must learn how to survive in the environment they had thrown themselves into or die trying. In both novels, the heroine seeks out independance from the life that they have grown up in, shown in Divergent when Beatrice chooses Dauntless over her family’s faction, Abnegation and shown in The Hunger Games when Katniss attempts to eat the poisonous berries that end the life of her and the only other competitor, Peeta Mellark.

In the first quarter of the book, the content of Divergent has been mostly cut and dry to a point where we can understand what is happening in the story as well as what is Beatrice is thinking. There is very little wiggle room for analysis so far in the novel. Overall, I think that Divergent is more of a “beach” book than anything else.

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15 responses to ““Divergent” by Veronica Roth

  1. I am sorry to say that I would have to agree with Quincy that Divergent is indeed a “beach book.” After what I had heard in class, I thought that this would be a crisp, thoughtful dystopian novel that would open my eyes to the said “greatness” of the genre, when in fact, it did not meet my high expectations. While there were some strong points in the first quarter of the book, there will also weak ones, and I felt that the weak points highly outweighed the strong points. Believe me, I don’t like to think of a book as bad, and that isn’t how I think of Divergent. I just feel that it could have been written better, but there isn’t really anything that I could do about that.

    The plot of Divergent is actually pretty strong in my eyes, although it has a few weak points. As a quick review to anyone who hasn’t been reading along, in a future Chicago (I believe), most citizens are bound to one of five factions, which each have different beliefs and rules. For example, one of the factions is called Abnegation. They believe that the worst trait a person could have is selfishness, and inside of their faction they seek to destroy it. Everyone is always thinking of others, and thus they can keep selfishness out of their lives. This is where our main character Beatrice comes in. When kids turn sixteen, they take a test and it shows them which faction they belong in, and Beatrice gets odd results, she is given the label divergent, thus the name of the novel, and told to under no circumstance tell anyone. Divergent means that there are multiple factions that she could belong in, and this is what doesn’t make sense to me. She is told that this is very dangerous, but why? Okay, she is a little indecisive, but is it that big a problem? I don’t know why, but this just gets on my nerves a little. In the end, the choice of faction is always the person’s to make, so why would this matter so much? There could possibly be an extension of what this means later on in the novel, but only time will tell. This is really my only criticism, but I understand that it is a pretty big part of the novel. When Beatrice picks a faction, she chooses Dauntless. These people are the army of the city, the strongest, bravest people that there are. This is where I start to like the plot. As she gets intertwined with new friends and enemies, the book gets interesting. In the end, only a certain amount of initiates will get to be in the faction, and the rest will be kicked out. This makes all of the fights in between initiates, as they have to train and duel, even more nerve wracking and exciting. After how predictable the novel has been so far, I know that Beatrice will make it through the initiation, but I can’t help but wonder how, as she really isn’t that good of a fighter. I think that the idea of the plot is a great one, but the delivery is too predictable and doesn’t really follow through.

    There was mentioning of one character, his name is Tobias, near the start of the novel. He was the only person in the last couple of years to switch to Dauntless, until Beatrice came along. There has been absolutely no mention of the name Tobias in the Dauntless headquarters, so for me it comes down to two options of who Tobias could be. Tobias could be dead, or he could be the one nicknamed Dauntless member who is mentioned in the book – Four. Personally, I think that Four and Tobias are one and the same, but in order to figure that out I will have to read more.

    Finally, Divergent seems to have some thematic messages. So far, one seems to be stressed a lot even though it is a cliché. This message being to always be yourself. Beatrice is starting to make her own decisions instead of trying to help others. She can express her emotions with clothing and tattoos. So far, that seems like the most stressed message in the novel.

    I haven’t been amazed by Divergent so far, but there is still three quarters of the book left that could improve. I have high hopes after all that I’ve heard about the series, even through my criticisms. If all turns out well, I may be able to take this out of the “beach book” column, and into one for more sophisticated novels.

  2. tuesdaylew

    Before I had even heard of Veronica Roth’s Divergent, a ridiculous amount of my friends and peers advised me to do just as they had done – jump on the bandwagon and read it. Upon debriefing the story after reading ¼ of it, I can see why its success stole the most covetable ranked spots on best-seller lists along with countless awards. Roth’s dystopian novel could be read in a fraction of one short day, if like me, the reader could not put the book down. As you mentioned before though, Quincy, it was clearly influenced by the characters and ideas such as rebellion, rivalry, and friendship of Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.
    Each of the five “factions” are much like the twelve districts in the Hunger Games, for they are each stereotyped into specific roles in their society, which if rebelled against, will cause the dystopian government to take extreme measures. Each segregated sector of society was created to keep different social and political groups from starting war. This theme swirled within both novels implies that outcasts in society are not tolerated, and/or forgotten. Creating identity, a theme that we seem to have explored from several angles throughout Jr. High and in TKAM, is evidently lurking so far in Divergent. As far as themes (beside the aforementioned ‘identity’) and symbols go, they seem to be a lacking resource in the story. One thing that I REALLY am enjoying about Divergent however, is the easy to follow dialogue and fairly simple methods of characterization that Roth chooses to use. These elements make the story flow when it’s being read, and overall create a better book, in my opinion.
    Whether it be because of the familiar plotline or naturally relatable rebel spirit I felt of Tris, Divergent is, as Quincy mentioned, a quick page-turner. So far though, I am thoroughly enjoying the upbeat pace and interesting plot twists that Roth’s renowned story carries.

  3. The dramatic, eye-catching, display at Barnes and Noble heavily advertising the Divergent series, complete with collectors editions and never-before-seen bonus material, immediately excited me as I grabbed my copy, payed the cashier, and began reading the first chapter in the car on the way home. My expectations were high for the novel seeing as the first three pages are filled with praises from big name authors and companies and the constant buzz from my friends too read it. Though I enjoy the plot and I find myself unable to put it down I have to agree with the popular opinion of this group that a lack of originality and ability for analysis is evident in the first quarter of reading. The story is written in a way so concrete and precise that there is little ways messages and themes the author has given us can be interpreted unlike those in To Kill a Mockingbird. I constantly find myself comparing Divergent with TKAM and The Hunger Games. TKAM because the quality of the writing Roth displays in her Divergent does not compare too what Lee brings to the table and The Hunger Games because of the many similarity such as the writing and and dystopian concept.

    I believe that the faction of Abnegation in the novel is a group of people that can easily be categorized as the mockingbird figures of Divergent. It is not debatable that Abnegation has a very positive view and excellent values that are beneficial for the other factions. They live to serve others which is why their faction was chosen to run the government. However, the Erudite faction, constantly ridicules Abnegation for what they see as flaws and try to convince other factions they are not fit to run the government.Though there is tension between all factions Erudite by far has the most heated arguments against the Abnegation and is trying to get others to hop on their bandwagon. Also the term “stiff”, a derogatory remark for Abnegation members is a frequent word Tris is often called by her fellow initiates and before the Choosing Ceremony. Due to the societal rules of dystopian Chicago, Abnegation can not defend themselves against Erudite’s attacks and the term ”stiff” making them mockingbird figures because they only put positive and never negative into the community.

    I enjoy the protagonist, Beatrice or Tris, as she later renames herself, and her ability to remain strong under intense pressure. Her ability to think outside the box of society’s rules gives the book a unique perspective and her thoughts are filled with ideas such as, “I doubt that all Erudite want to study all the time, or that every Candor enjoys a lively debate, but they can’t defy the norms of their factions any more than I can”(9). I believe these beliefs and ideas contribute to her divergent results during the aptitude test and that is why her identity is so dangerous. She thinks differently then the rest of her faction and focuses on the well being of herself, something forbidden to Abnegation, and this is why I believe she chose Dauntless, so she could focus and learn how to protect herself.

    Divergent has impressed me so far and I look forward of what Tris’s journey of self-discovery will bring her and how she will change as a person during the novel. Oh, and also the biggest mystery of all: why is being divergent so dangerous? I hope these questions will become answered during the next quarter of the book.

  4. After reading more of Divergent, I have grown to like it a little more. The plot has thickened, although the writing is still has a “lack of originality and ability for analysis” like Alex said about the first quarter of the novel. Although it still falls into place as a regular dystopian novel, it seems to give itself a bit of distance as the story chugs on.

    One aspect I thought of as really interesting was the Dauntless simulations. In the novel its says that the, “serum stimulates the amygdala, which is the part of the brain involved in the processing of negative emotions-like fear-and then induces a hallucination.” Although yes, this could beak down someone’s brain in real life, it would be really cool to make one that could make you have happy experiences with lost loved ones. After Tris’ escape from the glass case that she almost drowns in, Four knows that she is Divergent, and tells her that she needs to hide it. Then, Tori explains that if Divergents are found out by the Dauntless leaders, they are killed. Four is trying to protect her, but is this a mask of sincerity that he is wearing whilst he is actually going to kill her? This did go through my mind, but if this was his intent, why did he whisper “be brave” to Tris before she went through her first simulation? I guess that I will have to read more if I want my questions to be answered.

    On visiting day, Tris’ mother tells her that she needs to stay near the middle of the group during initiation. Judging on how well she did in her first simulation, I’d say that that won’t happen. Four tells her that she got out the fastest, three times faster than the next fastest person. There is no way that she will be able to hide her talent of getting out of the simulation, because who would stay with there fears that long if she could just come out? After the results of the two tests, I don’t think that Tris will be able to stay at the middle of the pack for long.

    Throughout the novel, Peter has become a problem. He has stabbed Edward in the eye because he got second. If my theory that Tris won’t stay in the middle of the pack for long is true, then is she in danger not only of being Divergent, but also of Peter’s treachery. He has already shown Tris and all the other initiates that he is the most physically skilled, and that could be a huge danger to her.

    Thematically, Divergent has not been a very strong book. Like what Tuesday said about the first section of the book, the only theme present is that it is important to be yourself. I see this more and more, as Tris starts to feel more like a Dauntless born initiate. She goes off on the zip lining trip and has the most fun with people that she doesn’t know well. She starts to make distance between her and Christina. The fact that she chose Dauntless over Abnegation was her choosing her identity. As she drifts away from everyone, Tris may start to find herself.

    Finally, I’d like to note a mistake I made in my first blog post (obviously, I’m not infallible). I wrote that Tobias, “was the only person in the last couple of years to switch to Dauntless, until Beatrice came along.” What I meant to say was that this Tobias was the only person from Abnegation to switch to Dauntless. Sorry to any and all who read that and were confused.

  5. As Allegiant, the “thrilling” ending to the Divergent series along with the first movie advertisements for Divergent have hit the pop culture by storm, I still find Divergent as a bit of a tiring book even as the story has progressed to about the halfway point. However, the characters have finally gotten some meat on their bones and have started to portray more individualistic qualities. To be completely honest, I had checked back over the book in order to refamiliarize myself with who each character was during a few especially distracting occurrences. Nevertheless, the story has continued to progress in a very black and white, cut and dry sort of fashion that is characterized in many quick page turners today.
    As Tris, our young, courageous, Dauntless has finally begun to get the hang of the factions customs and has worked her way into the thick of things during Initiation. However, her teeter-totter like personality along with her subtle crush on Four (yes, I said it) has embedded a deep, thick, paste-like sort of drama in between the lines of the pages. And trust me, it’s not difficult to read them. Wrestling between the Abnegation principles that she had been taught and the Dauntless society that she now is being exposed to, our female heroine Tris is clearly fighting more than just the other Dauntless initiates. In a few occurrences, Tris has been able to mix her Abnegation ties along with the Dauntless customs. Shown when Will and Tris discuss about the Dauntless leaders lack of concern after Edward gets stabbed in the eye during the middle of the night “I believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another” (143). Apparently Dauntless is big on helping others. Who knew?
    The plot itself is progressing slowly and mechanically but has actually made a few twists and turns that I had not expected. For example, Tris ends up with the shortest simulation time out of the entire group and having only seven fears, a rare occurrence among the Dauntless. After expressing weakness to the reader for pretty much the entire novel, having only seven fears came as quite the surprise to me. I had originally foreshadowed her having an unusually high amount of fears and then her overcoming them with Four’s help. Tris’ placement after the simulation will be interesting as I continue to read further into the novel.
    Overall, the halfway point has been relatively interesting compared to the beginning and has met my (very low) expectations. Hopefully the third section of the book will successfully keep the momentum that it has going. Lets just hope nobody else dies. I’m starting to feel a little attached to some of these characters…

  6. The second part of reading Veronica Roth’s thrilling first book in the trilogy, Divergent has been much for satisfactory and enjoyable in my opinion. The novel is fast paced, and over the course of a few chapters many events can take place making the novel a never ending thrill-ride. I definitely will be reading the rest of the series in the near future because I believe Roth has done an excellent job of hooking teen readers into her work. I have to agree with the popular opinion however as stated in the last analysis of our reading section this story has remained “a beach book”. That’s probably why I like it so much because I don’t really have to use my brain to get the concepts messages of the story unlike Harper Lee’s TKAM, I simply just READ the novel without ever having to look back at certain pages or get confused about what is happening in the plot.

    I think Tris’s situation relates to our theme in class about identity in many ways because she is constantly struggling to figure out who she is. She wants so badly to fit in with the Dauntless and be successfully initiated, much like Millicent in Sylvia Plath’s ‘Initiation’ wants to fit in with the popular group in school. Both characters believe they will find who they truly are through the people they hang out with. Tris also deals with her internal struggles regarding her culture and leaving her Abnegation heritage behind much like Mona in Gish Jen’s “What Means Switch” having to leave behind her familiar Asian upbringing to fit in with the American culture. Our heroine Tris is going through a very hard time in her life and I believe there is an event still yet to come that will ultimately define her identity…..maybe the Fear Landscape, the next part of initiation?

    One thing I find very interesting as Quincy stated above is Tris’s growing romance with Four. I believe Four is clearly interested in Tris and I look forward to how their relationship will change in the next half of the book. Many challenges will present themselves to these two if they do decide to become a couple however, so I don’t think it is very likely (though I want it to happen, I think this would make the book very interesting). It constantly surprises me how much Tris has matured and grown as a person through her developing relationships with fellow initiates and her self-motivation she often fuels herself with. I think for any other teenager in this situation it would be too much to handle, as it was too much for Al who flung himself into the chasm. So many changes and challenges are given to Tris and these helpless kids who have no choice but to accept them as they come. I know I for sure would never choose to be initiated into the Dauntless faction, I certainly do not have the will power or desire to live that kind of lifestyle.

    Overall I have thoroughly enjoyed Divergent and am looking forward to the next section of reading, and have already began reading ahead. I still don’t know why Divergent is so dangerous, why is it so bad that Tris’s aptitude tests were inconclusive. What is the threat in a computer not knowing where to place an average Abnegation girl? I look forward to that, and Tris and Four’s relationship-in-progress. This book has not failed yet in keeping me entertained, which is the most important aspect in a ”beach book”.

  7. In all honesty, I’m not quite sure how to feel about Divergent in my reading thus far. I’ve found myself disagreeing with my initial thoughts, (which were that I enjoyed the easy pace of the novel and simple dialogue between characters). I am beginning to crave deeper meaning to the story, which is only partially satisfied through the lingering unknown in Tris’ “divergent” label. Throughout my reading of the next ¼ of the story, I’ve found myself becoming bored and having to mentally quiz myself on the characters names. Personally, I feel that when the characters aren’t even memorable enough to keep my attention for a few days, this is a clear indication of a mediocre story on Roth’s part. (This could also just be a testament to my short attention span so feel free to disagree).
    Like Quincy said in his most recent post though, the characters have been getting a little more “meat on their bones” which has made the story easier to read. The only issue I have seen with this is that Tris still seems to lack the attributes necessary to even begin to imitate the lovable heroine figure I look for in any story. Her actions seem to be very paper thin, and the way she is acting in her new Dauntless faction seem to still scream anything but dauntless in my opinion. Although she is brave no doubt about it, and is willing to do almost anything to prove so, something is still fishy to me, which I have yet to discover but hope to find in the next section of reading. The second quarter of reading has been faster paced than the first, which helped me regain some interest in the story, but I have not yet fully said to myself, “wow, this book is great, I can’t wait to read the sequel”. The one thing I think I’m onto is that Four is also Divergent, based on his mutual and bond with Tris, and understanding of her uncertainty at several points in the story. I hope my hypothesis is correct, do you guys have any thoughts on this?

  8. Upon finishing Divergent I have come a conclusion that it was enjoyable, fun, and a quick-read. The book started as Quincy’s notorious label, “beach book” and ended as one. The plot overall was not very original but very appropriate for its dystopian genre. I think the finale of the book was thrilling, action-packed, and left the reader with many unanswered questions, its no wonder people are getting sucked into reading the sequel (like me, I’m 3/4ths done with Insurgent).
    FINALLY my question about Divergence has been answered leaving me with the feeling that Insurgent was mainly about Tris and her companions trying to overthrow the corrupt government, now completely controlled by Jeanie of Erudite. The end of the story made me realize how innocently written this whole book is. For example, while the Dauntless were under the simulation, they killed many Abnegation, the leaders, men, woman, and children, and in the story it is written plain and simple as if it is the norm for that society. I think Veronica Roth, too add more depth and emotion, could have analyzed these events more thoroughly through Tris’s perspective to appeal more towards the complexity aspect of the story.
    I give this story a 7/10, not a 10/10 only because of the writing and plot, but I do not regret choosing this is our independent reading book! It was fun,casual and definitely gave me a break from all the sophisticated analysis stuff we are required to read in class.

  9. Ding, Ding, Ding! Here’s round three of my critique. Like I said last time, the Divergent has gotten a little better to me. It still isn’t a great book, but it has made itself a little more enjoyable and interesting. Despite this, I hate how black and white the plot is. It is very predictable, and that doesn’t make a novel exciting to read.

    First off, I was right about Tobias. I had a feeling that the character I had known as “Four” for so long was Tobias, and I turned out correct. What I didn’t see coming is a now budding relationship between the two former Abnegation members. I guess that no dystopian novel is allowed to leave love out of the story. For instance, in The Hunger Games, Katniss can’t decide between Peeta and Gale, or in 1984, the main character (whose name is escaping my mind) finds his own love interest in the futuristic world ruled by Big Brother. It almost seems like there is a formula that has to be followed in order to be dystopian, it goes a little bit like this. Oppressive/weird government + Future + Spicy Love Interest = Perfect Dystopian Novel that will make teenage girls scream with joy. Maybe that’s a little far, but it seems that way in my head.

    I wish that this novel was more thematic, but I guess that would make it harder to read for younger people. I still feel like the only main theme is being yourself or choosing your own path. Part of the reason I think this is because of the young readers that are attracted to these kinds of novels. In order for them to understand the reading, it has to be more of a cut and dry or black and white plot. There can’t be complicated themes or ideas, because the kids won’t understand what they are reading. I think that the main reason that Roth chose this is because of the age group she was trying to reach, and she was successful.

    Finally, my hopes for the future of the novel. There is talk of war, and because I know there are sequels, I hope there isn’t a bad ending. Nothing is worse to me than a bad ending of a book that leads into a sequel. For example, anyone who say the last two Harry Potter movies will probably know what I am talking about. The tension rises, the movie almost reaches its climax when what comes up? Credits! Now I have to wait for a whole other movie to come out if I want to see the end, even though I read the book. It just isn’t satisfying as a reader. I want to read about a war, not have a cliffhanger at the end of the novel. I also hope for more thematic presence, but that probably won’t happen.

    I have medium to high hopes for the rest of Divergent, and I do hope that they are met.

  10. While reading the third segment of Divergent, I’ve begun to appreciate the simplicity of the plotline and not-so-eloquently-crafted sentences that Roth has put out for the public’s enjoyment. We all know that Roth isn’t the next Fitzgerald or Poe or anyone with the power to revolutionize literature, so we may as well try to enjoy the story as exactly what it is: another teen dystopian novel made to spark interest in the often careless minds of young adults. As aforementioned by Andrew, Roth is clearly serving up a steaming hot plate of whatever her wide tween audience is desperate for: “spicy love interest”, conflict, direct narration, and predictable storyline.
    I guess that in her simple way of stating things, the author is trying to get across that that no matter who you are or what you do there will always be someone to judge you. (What a cliché)! Really, this basic idea can connect to literally anything and everything we’ve read this year and in junior high too, and possibly every book ever written (although I guess that’s dependent on how the reader views it). The other theme that I’ve found hints of here and there, is unity, which seems unfitting thus far and I’m curious to see how this idea pans out. On page 223, Tris connects herself to the Dauntless born initiates by thinking, “We are not the same. But we are, somehow, one”. As Andrew also said, the themes that the author uses are ones that can be easily understood by all teenage readers. These can be interpreted in one concise and universal way, eliminating the need for anybody to misunderstand the text. I do wish there was a little bit more to grasp onto though, as far as themes to thicken the book. Really, the lack of thought-evoking themes are my only complaint in my reading of Divergent. I’ve come to accept the fact that it’s only a beach book, therefore I really can’t expect anything more. I can’t say how high my hopes are for the concluding segment of the novel, but I hope that an interesting plot twist is waiting around the corner.

  11. tuesdaylew

    Although I would consider myself an avid Hunger Games fan, I can’t say that dystopian novels are at all my genre of choice. This is a crucial factor my decision to rate Roth’s novel a 6/10.
    Originally, I had planned to give Divergent a 4, but had decided a 6 might be a more accurate rating. At some points, the plotline was so bland that I thought what a waste of my time and energy it would be to even turn to the next page. But at others, I could read ten chapters in a row and want to keep going. Hopefully, this gives you an idea that unless you are completely satisfied with reading anything with a title, you may not love Divergent. Being brutally honest, Roth isn’t the most amazing writer. But then again, neither are the authors of most books out there. I mean truthfully, out of every book you’ve ever read, how many did you LOVE and refer back to on a constant basis? For me, the answer is not very many (maybe 8?) which definitely says something since I label myself as being well read. Alas, Roth has not made it into my list of “books that changed my life” or anything. She produced a book that at is best was enjoyable to read. Although predictable, often repetitive, and blatantly unoriginal, it was overall moderately enjoyable nonetheless.
    I feel like the reason that I haven’t been the most appreciative reader is that don’t fit the mold to which Roth and her publishing company are reaching towards with Divergent. Although I make myself sound like a complete and total book snob, the reading level that Divergent is placed at is (I’m assuming) substantially lower than what I’ve grown accustomed to (for example: TKAM, The Chosen, and basically ANY book we’ve read this year/in junior high requires much more capacity). I can assume that although it was meant for middle school/high school age group, I tried to find themes and analytical rhythm where there wasn’t any. So, for anyone who seeks to read Divergent, a disclaimer: IT IS A BEACH BOOK! IT WILL TAKE YOU A FEW HOURS TO READ THROUGH IT. BUT IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR THEMES AND SYMBOLS, IT WILL BE DIFFICULT AND TAKE YOU A LONG TIME. Whew, I’m glad that everyone reading this now knows.
    But hey, if you are the biggest dystopian fan in the history of ever or are in love with every book on the NYTimes Bestsellers list, than you might love Divergent more than anything/anyone! It is easy to read, entertaining, and extremely similar to the HG series. My biggest word of advice would be that this a novel best read on your own time, not for school. While yes, it does fit into the ideas of identity, rebellion, the struggles for peace, acceptance, etc. it will be difficult to analyze and you will practically rip your own hair out trying to find things to discuss, as it is also very predictable. So, I gave Veronica Roth’s Divergent a 6/10. The good outweighed the bad! But, the simplicity and repetitiveness was still prevalent throughout the story. All in all, I would recommend Divergent, even though it wasn’t exactly what I’m used to reading. If you have a few spare hours on your hands and are looking for a quick read, Divergent may be the perfect cure!

  12. So let me confess something at the beginning of this blog post, I had actually finished Divergent many weeks before the assigned due date. It was just too quick of a book for me and without trying I had not only read but absorbed the plot in a matter of days. Although I am beating a dead cat or some other animal here, (I think thats a figure of speech) Divergent by Veronica Roth really held no interesting or original ideas that would spark a new type of hunger for young readers. It is in fact, just another novel that jumped onto the Dystopian Band Wagon and made a killing off of teenagers that were hunting for a new Hunger Games to read. At the beginning of the book I was convinced that this novel would eventually turn into a sappy romance action teenage girl novel, and unfortunately I was correct. For the sake of closure itself, I ended up reading the other two books in the series Insurgent and Allegiant. And if you thought the first book was mushy don’t even bother reading the next two. To make a short story even shorter, the following books were a collection of emotions that our young heroine Tris had a difficult time sorting out and keeping straight. Four, or rather Tobias was probably the most interesting character out of the whole series. Although I won’t give away any spoilers I will admit to being surprised by Veronica Roth’s plot choices in the later books. But not too surprised.
    As stated by my fellow bloggers, Divergent, especially after the whole Hunger Games spiel, was a black and white, clear-cut, third grade level novel that was so dehydrated of depth and theme, the ending was almost given to the reader from the first few opening lines. However, I can happily give honest credit to Mrs. Roth for creating a bit of a guilty pleasure novel. A novel in which you know it’s not really worth reading (especially for a Honors English class assignment) yet you can’t seem to put the book down. Evidently, somewhere deep inside me I hoped that thematic messages and a good layer of depth would come oozing out of the pages which kept me going throughout the series. In the final pages of Allegiant, I can honestly say that I was content with the series. Now this could have been a product of my expectations being whittled down at every turn throughout each and every novel but I ended the series with a grin and maybe a tear or two. Just kidding I don’t cry.
    Overall I would give the book Divergent and 6/10 like Tuesday. But would give the series itself a 7/10 because of the clever tricks that Roth uses towards the end of the series. Now reader, if you have bothered to read this far down the comments section of the blog post, it must be evident now that this book is not meant to be an analytical novel for school. This book is simply for you when you are sitting down eating breakfast, or embarking on a journey, or just looking for a way to pass the time. It’s fun to read, (even if it is pretty sappy) and if you read it for the story not the content, you will most likely end up grinning like a madman (or woman). Either that or you will hurl the book across the room in frustration at the ending. Either one is perfectly understandable.

  13. If anyone is familiar with the way all of my other posts have gone, they know that this review won’t be the kindest for Veronica Roth’s “Divergent.” For the strength, age, and analytical focus of readers from our English class, Divergent just doesn’t make the cut. Without many major themes and a very (very) predictable plot, there isn’t much to pull out of this novel while reading. I’ll admit that our age group is probably not the target age Roth had in mind, but that’s besides the point for know. Keep in mind, if you haven’t read the book and are planning to, there are some spoilers ahead.

    I felt like the plot had promise, even if it seemed recycled from past bestsellers. The whole Erudite wants to take over the world was a twist that while I saw it coming; it still seemed to surprise me. I feel like if Roth was a bit more secretive with her plans for the end of the novel, it could have made for a more thrilling ride. The main reason that I didn’t enjoy this novel was the fact that I could predict almost every main plot event.

    As those before me have written, it is very hard to find subliminal messages throughout this novel. The themes and symbols that were present in the novel were few and far between. So, as my peers have already made clear, if you are looking to read this book, read it for fun, read it to be pulled into the “near future.” If you are going to read it, don’t think too hard, just try to enjoy the story hand fed to you from Roth.

    I also feel like I should give this book two different ratings, if you think I’m crazy then just hear me out. I’ll rate it for an academic purpose and an easy read purpose. Under an academic spotlight, I would have to agree with my peers and give it a six, or maybe a five for lack of brain usage while reading. On the other hand, Divergent isn’t a bad book to just pick and read if you’re looking for a good dystopian experience. For that reason, I’d give it from a seven and a half to an eight. Over all, I didn’t think that Divergent was necessarily bad, but wasn’t creative enough or deep enough to read from an academic standpoint.

  14. Divergent 6/10 Stars:
    So, seeing that this is the last blog post on Divergent I am surprisingly sorry to let this book go. A good solid three-four months of solid criticism does wonders on your own writing. But I would like to end this on a good note. Three years ago Divergent would be the turning point of child and preteen fiction novels. However, The Hunger Games beat it to the punch and now poor Beatrice Prior will always be second string to Katniss Everdeen. A real shame.
    Anyway, although the story followed a more of a train track plot, I enjoyed the little twists and turns that it brought along with it. I would have to agree with Andrew about Roth’s choice to reveal a little too much about the hostile take over so early in the book. From page 374 until the end of the book, I was simply waiting for the invasion to happen. And so, for about one hundred pages, I was getting increasingly bored and impatient. Let’s be honest here, Veronica Roth was giving out spoiler alerts to her readers THROUGHOUT THE BOOK. Now that’s kind of a sad thought.
    I feel like everyone here in the comments has been pretty much meaning to say the exact same thing but for some reason no one has chosen to admit it. This book is a guilty pleasure. The level of depth and available analysis is hovering around the seventh grade. It’s not quite up to par with a high school level honors class. However, Divergent is a quick book that you can pick up and quickly get sucked into. Like Andrew, I would have to give this book two separate scores. And like Andrew, the academic spotlight is not shining very bright. Maybe a 6/10. However, Divergent is an excellent role model for the dystopian genre. If any possible teenage readers are looking for a second taste of The Hunger Games I give Divergent a full 10/10 stars.

  15. Divergent 7/10 stars
    First off, I would like to say that I completely agree with Quincy and his opinion that if Divergent had been published before the Hunger Games, we would all undoubtedly be comparing Roth’s novel to Collins’. Though I think Tris is a much stronger character in terms of her depth and development, sadly she is only 2nd best next to Katniss, a heroine who defined teen dysopian novels.
    I believe Tuesday’s view of how the reading level of Divergent is substantially lower than anything we have previously read in Junior High and Honors English very accurate. However, we can all agree it was a nice break from the constant analysis and thematic concepts given to us in class. I didn’t have to worry about taking notes, or missing major messages, or good quotes I would maybe use in an essay. I just read the book and enjoyed. That’s all you can really ask for when reading a novel that doesn’t require you to use your brain at all.
    Although I agree with Andrew on the fact that it was a highly predictable book, I don’t agree that our age group was not the audience Roth had in mind. The violence and occasional gore definitely defined the age group Roth wanted, and though it is a book I would still probably pick up and read while I was in junior high I think it is a book intended for highschoolers. At some points the violence and disturbing images in Divergent startled me, and that’s saying a lot from a graphic horror movie fanatic.
    The plot and theme left no room for any analysis in my opinion. Imagine trying to write complex discussion questions based on Divergent. That would be a nightmare. I also found that Roth didn’t use any words that i didn’t know the definition of, versus when I’m always looking up words from our curriculum books. That was a nice change, since my reading was never interrupted. I already finished Insurgent and i would say that nothing really changes along the lines of analyzing it. It’s all at the same level. Still don’t regret choosing this book and I’m glad we all got to praise/complain about it together!

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