In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, 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 to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating 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 a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.
Why I read this book:
I am participating in the 2011 Ya debut challenge. My goal is to read 12 new Ya debut authors this year. I had heard amazing buzz about this book back in January, so had pre-ordered it. When it showed up early in my mailbox, I knew it was fate (or something close to), and so picked it up immediately!!!
This book is like rushing down a zip cord at 100mph with the wind rushing through your hair and the tears stinging down you cheeks. It is page turning exhilaration. It is also extraordinarily well executed. It has these amazing action sequences, but it also has great characterization; at no point was one element of writing ever sacrificed for another. Everything about this book was well done to the point where I just want to scream and tear my hair out that I will never ever ever be able to produce something this completely remarkable. And on the same page I want to buy every single copy I can find (if I could afford it) and press it into everyone’s hands I come across and make them read it at gunpoint (because at gunpoint is fittingly appropriate for this book)
Okay, now that I am done my gushing jealousy rant of awesome, I’ll explain a bit more. This review is going to be a wee all over the place because I am still shattered from reading it and I can’t quite grasp all the reasons this worked so well and glue them together cohesively yet.
Chicago – sometime in a dystopian future. I have never ever been to Chicago. But now I want to. I want to go to everyplace described in the books. I want to go to Dauntless headquarters and see the rushing chasm of water. I want to go to the building they zip lined off of and insist they put up a zip line cable to I can zip line down from it. I want to see the lake and how the author can see it dried up as a marsh. The trains – oh the trains. Who thought that trains could be so freaking cool and awesome again. I didn’t. But now I want to run to catch one and then jump seven stories up onto the roof of a building from a moving train. I want to be dauntless in the acts that make this book freeing, but not in those that make you a bully or a coward (the fight scenes).
This is a like a YA version of fight club in a way. There is fighting, and a lot of it. And it never feels over done. And it never feels mechanical. It feels very very real, and has a strong part of the novel. Kudos for writing extraordinary fight scenes.
Egads!!! First person present tense. And through every exhilarating moment of this book it feels fresh. Every scene serves a purpose. We will be exactly in Tris’s head the whole time and it doesn’t feel like déjà vu at all. Also the character building in magnificent. We may only be in Tris’s head but we have a great deal to learn about the people around her by the actions they chose to make.
Things are put down and things are picked up. There are guns on mantles and they are used. The thing at the end, I saw coming about 10 pages before they did, the how of it anyways. And it was interesting getting there with the characters. Seeing them get it too. There are threads that are still left tangled, there are a few guns left hanging, and this makes waiting for the next book even more delicious.
I’m not sure I buy it. Honest to goodness I’m not sure. But it doesn’t matter. Because the story is that freaking incredible. And even the main characters don’t know how they go to the society they are today. But I’m pretty darn sure that by the end of the trilogy, they will know, and it will be EPIC!!! So while I may not buy it, I am still more than willing to suspend my belief and keep on going, because the world she weaves, even though I can’t see us getting there, being there it feels very real.
I have it in hard copy and immediately purchased it for the Kindle for my IPad so I can go through and reread at a slower pace and highlight things. Most times when reading a book I can see why it is working and why it isn’t. I can sit back after and deconstruct it in my head, writing wise. Not this one. This one I try to sit back to figure out how every scene, every moment was charged like a live wire, and I can’t. This is the first book I have finished and am immediately picking up again to discern how. This is a story bible kind of book. You read it and go WOW, and then after (if you are writerly inclined) you think how. And go back through it to figure it out. I’m not sure that I can, but there are lessons in this thing regarding how to write a gripping thrill seeking character driven novel, that make me want to cry, because Veronica Roth is only 22, and it’s just not freaking fair!
Go read this right now. Whatever you are doing. STOP! It doesn’t matter. All that matters is reading this book. I stayed up late into the night to finish this and I don’t even regret it. I woke up in the morning thinking about this book. I wanted to bring it to my writers group to make them all read it, but didn’t want to part with my copy. This is amazing. This is my favorite book of the year thus far, and I can honestly say probably will be my #1 pick for the year (and it’s going up against WHERE SHE WENT, by: Gail Forman)
Veronica Roth does action packed, world building, character driven, believable, every moment counts and the world can change on a dime kind of writing. READ IT!!!!
Rating:10/10 times 10 to the power of 10
P.S. This book is so freaking awesome film rights where optioned before publication date.