|Robb's Rambling Reviews||
Looking for your average, run-of-the-mill, YA dystopian novel? Well don’t look for that in Veronica Roth’s novel Divergent! Fresh, fast paced, and totally unique, Roth has created something truly memorable and groundbreaking. The plot of Roth’s novel revolves around a post-apocalyptic world in which citizens are separated by aptitudes. The separate groups, or factions, work in symbiosis, at least on the surface. Unfortunately, due to simple human nature, it becomes only a matter of time that one group feels superior to another, and tensions erupt. An ingenuous twist to the typical dystopian novel, Roth’s use of this faction system and the problems it creates, sets her work apart from others of this genre.
Roth’s plot, although intriguing and captivating, is immeasurably enhanced by the rapid pace at which the novel’s event occur throughout the novel. Traveling like a train at breakneck speed, the action never stops. Just when you think you can breathe, yet another unexpected event occurs, sending the story on another rollercoaster ride. Whether the factions are fighting with one another, new initiatives are fighting within their chosen faction, or faction leaders trying to usurp power, the action never stops. At times I almost became tired trying to keep up with all the action. The only downside to the story’s pacing is the fact it makes the novel’s ending come too quickly!
One of my favorite aspects of the novel however, are the themes Roth inserts throughout the novel. With themes such as identity, selflessness, and belonging, my favorite is the theme of choice and how our choices come to define us. As the novel opens, Beatrice, or Triss as she is later called, must chose the faction she will belong for the rest of her life. Triss is well aware that if citizens choose outside of their established home groups, the must sever all ties with their family and friends. How’s that for making a difficult choice even harder? Teenage readers will find this conundrum totally relatable. Finding your own identity is a difficult undertaking, but knowing you can never change this identity, and finding that this identity may alienate you from your loved ones forever is heartbreaking. In the book, Roth includes a scene after Triss has made her faction decision, and decides to get a tattoo along with her friends. “Maybe there is a way to honor my old life as I embrace my new one. ‘Three of these flying birds.’ I touch my collarbone, marking the path of their flight—toward my heart. One for each member of the family I left behind.”
As the story began, I found myself thinking what an interesting idea the faction system was, and how well that would work. I chose Amity for myself. Valuing harmony and peace, members of Amity are the farmers, artists, teachers, and writers of Triss’ world. I began to realize quickly however, that humans, as the character of Triss shows us, are not simply one dimensional. We are many parts of one whole, and it is these parts which make us who we are. I can also relate to the idea of life being full of choices, so although we make decisions and choices every day, we must make good, informed decisions, for they will shape who we are, and who will become. I was thoroughly impressed that Roth was able to put so much realism and practicality into a Sci-Fi title. Perhaps that’s the reason it’s such a wonderful work: readers of all ages can find something to relate to. Divergent is a must read not only for lovers of this genre, but for anyone looking for a great story. Roth rocks!
Roth packs so much into this work. Her unconventional story design not only gives a twist to the novel’s plot, but really gives readers something on which to reflect and contemplate. Her use of differing themes throughout the work also further this introspection. If something like this were to happen, who would I be? What decisions would I make? Could I be as selfless as Triss and Four? Would I need to be? And of course the story would not be nearly as exciting without the breakneck pace and speed at which the story travels. Again, a most memorable and enjoyable read, even for those who are not a Sci-Fi enthusiast.
Citation: Roth, V. (2011). Divergent. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.