The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth

Divergent
Addition: E-book
Genre: Young adult
Published: 2011
Rating: 5 out of 5
Synopsis:

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

The first book in The Divergent Series – aptly named Divergent – is easily my favourite of the three. What a great introduction to the series and to the characters.

I loved this book. I have read it twice now, and definitely enjoyed it more the second time. This book has it all for me. There are great characters – I liked Tris. She is bold and follows her instincts. I liked Four – he was strong and mysterious. I liked Will and Christina. And I enjoyed disliking characters such as Eric and Peter. Roth writes with a skill that draws you into the story. You feel like you are there and you know the characters personally. I would have trusted Tris and Four. I wouldn’t have gone near Peter. I loved the feeling that I was there too (although in reality I am pleased I don’t live in that world!)

Divergent is a great story. There is everything you could want – action, risk taking, murder, war, friendship and love. I don’t think Roth could have crammed anything else into this novel. I could not put this book down. I had to keep going, I was sucked into the story and needed to know what was going to happen. When this book finished, I was desperate to read Insurgent. This novel left me wanting more and it was easy to rate it 5 out of 5.

Insurgent
Addition: E-book
Genre: Young adult
Published: 2012
Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis:

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

I didn’t enjoy Insurgent as much as I hoped I would. Don’t get me wrong – this is a good book – it just wasn’t up to the standard of Divergent. I found the beginning slow to get going. A lot of the action was at the end of the book – but what a great cliff hanger!

This book is similar to the first in that it contains action and war, plus love. It has the added element of having to make really tough decisions – such as forgiving your friend for shooting your boyfriend and choosing which bad parent to follow – the manipulative one who left or the abusive one.

We see the characters develop and we see Tris work through feelings of guilt and grief. War is taking its toll on her and Four is struggling to help her. Insurgent introduces more characters – again, some I liked, such as Cara who showed great strength when she forgave her brother’s killer, and more to dislike. People like Jeanine, who were so scared of losing power they were prepared to kill almost anyone and everyone.

I rated this book 4 out of 5 because I found the beginning slow. However, once the action started this book transformed and I was hooked all over again and eager for the final installment.

Allegiant
Addition: E-book
Genre: Young adult
Published: 2013
Rating: 4 out of 5
Synopsis:

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

Divergent fans had to wait a long time for the final installment, Allegiant, to be published. To be honest, at first it felt a little bit like a let down. Tris and Tobias, plus a small army of friends, have left Chicago to discover what lies beyond the wall. Roth seemed to use half the book to explain their existence. There was a lot of background and a lot of science. To be honest, I’m not sure how much of that half of the book I took in. It wasn’t the explosive beginning I was hoping for and I found that not a lot happened in those pages. That said, again war broke out and the book became exciting! I think Roth writes action better than she writes background.

I wasn’t sure about the dual perspective either. It came as a bit of shock to be reading one chapter from Tris’ point of view, and then the next from Tobias’. I like one of the things I liked about Divergent was his mysterious character. I didn’t like that he was suddenly stripped bare and I got to see how he felt. He seemed weaker than I had envisioned him and that spoilt the book somewhat for me.

I must mention the ending. I don’t want to give anything away but I didn’t see it coming and I didn’t like it! It fitted with the characters and the story but it was not the ending I was expecting. It worked, but it saddened me.

I rated this book 4 out of 5 as well because I thought once the story moved away from the background information and we got going, the book was great and I had to keep reading.

The Divergent Series
I have written a lot already so I will keep this brief. This is a great series. I would highly recommend it to everyone. It is worth pursuing with the second and third books because the story does pick up. This is one of the best series I have read. This is a young adult series but don’t let that put you off. It is well written, it is engaging and the story has everything without the feeling that the author has tried too hard and failed. I can’t wait for the film to be released and I think everyone should read this series. Overall, I would rate it 4 out of 5.

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