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on 31 August 2017
I've read this series three times now and every time I do, even though I know how it ends, it leaves me in tears, feeling raw and bruised. I sometimes wish there was a different, alternative ending option, because, fictional or not, it leaves me hurting for days (I should really just stop reading it!)

That said, the writing is fantastic, the story line was unique ( the first time at least) and the characters so relatable and real. I think one of the things that really draw me to reading it again and again is the sense of belonging that develops between characters despite the struggles they face and the hopeful, if desperately painful, ending.
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on 27 November 2016
Like Brave New World this novel deals with different groups (Abegnation, Dauntless, Erudite, Candor & Amity), which contribute to societies functions. Every group has its distinctive motifs, dress and colour. They represent the different sides of human nature taken to the extreme. Abegnatin are the selfless faction where Beatrice is born and the fact that she is divergent, not fitting neatly into any one faction, just highlights how complex human beings are.

The induction creates the values and behaviours necessary to reinforce group mentality. Those who do not succeed, or conform, are factionless. This is portrayed as a fate worse than death, as they live outside the bounds of a civilised society. Again a little like Brave New World, a place outside of the compound filled with savages.

It is interesting that the author has chosen 16 years of age as the time of choice. An age in the UK where students finish compulsory education. A stage which they are also still pliable and open to new ideas and influences.

Like most YA novels it is written in the first person from Beatrice’s point of view and it is though her interactions that we learn about the rest of the characters. We learn a lot about Peter through his shocking behaviour and the way he treats Beatrice. Equally we love and respect Four for his ability as a leader and his care and respect for Beatrice. Four’s role is also contrasted with Eric and we discover that Four is the more able despite Eric’s seniority and obvious resentment.

This book is a great example of groups, motifs and team dynamics and how these are woven together. The first person narrative, like the Hunger Games, is relational and exposes the other characters through their words and actions. I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the series.

<b>Insurgent</b>

Divergent ends with Tris thinking of life beyond a faction, yet insurgent is so much more than this. She still clings to Dauntless as her faction of choice, but she also has to recognise that she is divergent with all the risks associated with this.

We discover much more about the other factions in this book, starting with Amity, where they flee to first. Erudite by their nature hold the knowledge of all the faction as well as a secret they would prefer to see destroyed than fall into the wrong hands. It is this secret that drives the story forward as individuals set aside their factions to work together. The reader also sees the strain this puts on Tris and Tobias’s relationship as he works with this father and is reconciled to his mother.

The divergent are much more important in this book than the previous one and we learn that there are more members of this group than Tris may have imagined. They are certainly a target for the Erudite and their Dauntless allies. From a political perspective they are the people who think across party lines. This can also be seen in the way Dauntless splits with some siding with Erudite, most notably Eric and those who don’t. Even peace loving, neutral Amity suffers a crisis amongst its members with some needing to fight rather than stay neutral.

As the title suggests there is more fighting, violence and torture in this book, but I love the ending. The idea that the divergent are the future and that factions were only a temporary solution to restore order from chaos. I look forward to reading the next book.
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on 22 June 2014
I first read this book a few months before the film was announced and I have loved this book since the very first page.
It does, admittedly, take a while before you fully grasp everything and wrap your head around the information you are and aren’t given.
The first few chapters are a little bit of a drag for many readers as the author talks about events and factions as if you already know what they are; but once the book gets going, boy do it get going!

Tris (Beatrice) Prior is a bit of an annoyance. Roth tries to write Tris’ character by adding selfishness or possible cowardice laced into the pages, but as many readers know, authors don’t write characters, the characters write themselves.
Having said that, this book is an amazing read and Roth has really outdone a lot of books out there on the market.

For me, Divergent is the beginning and ending of Tris and Four’s story.

The second book, ‘Insurgent’ suffers from second book syndrome, however, the self-pity and the feel you get of wanting to slap the protagonist in the face doesn’t last that long in the second book, it’s over pretty quickly and the book comes to life.
The third book, ‘Allegiant’ is a bit of a let-down, with the ending worse than that of the ‘Hunger Games’. This is my opinion. (No offence to anyone!)
It hurts me to say this about the Divergent Series because Divergent and Insurgent are both really great books and the third book had such potential to make one of the best trilogies I have ‘ever’ read. Sadly, the ending was the biggest let down.

However, Divergent is and always will be one of my favourite books.

Roth has written a book which has action, romance and that all great dystopian factor. This is one of the best books I’ve read this year, and the film is just as good. (I don’t say this about many books, but the film is as good – if not even slightly better than the book. But if you see the film, you have to read the book first, or you’ll be slightly lost).

This is defiantly a great book and I recommend this to anyone looking for a great read. If you love romance, action, twists and turns and a good dystopian read, then this is the book you need to get your hands on.

(And for those out there, who have no idea what I’m talking about when I say ‘dystopian’;
Dystopias are often part of a fictional universe. Dystopian novels are usually set in ‘caged’ settings – though not always – and the government or something close to an acting government are usually involved. The world we live in now, is usually no longer the same and there is most of the time a backstory. The backstory usually explains how the shift in control came to occur, with the end result being changed societal norms or a government now run by corporations, totalitarian dictatorships or bureaucracies.)

Review by Jade Lloyd. If you'd like to read more of Jade's Reviews check out her blog at: [...]
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on 2 February 2017
Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant by Veronica Roth.

I really enjoyed this series. The characters were well written and the story was ... if not original, certainly engaging. The books look at the theme of humanity and the characteristics that are displayed by it ... how some people are stronger, some are more peace loving, some more daring, some more intelligent etc.

It also looks at the cruelty of mankind and how some people are able to harm others' without emotion ... as though their victims are not real people with loves and feelings of their own.

I really liked the characters of Tris and Four. Four felt that he had to be strong. He'd had a brutal childhood that left him emotionally scarred. Tris came from a loving home but was equally strong ... in spirit, if not in body. Through his love of Tris, Four is able to to let down his guard and realise that he doesn't need to put on the "brave front" he has always shown. He is allowed to face his demons and show weakness.

Tris learns that she must shake the ties of her past, as weakness will prevent her survival. She has always known that she didn't fit into her family's ideals and so seeks her real place in the world.

What happens next pushes her to the limit of her abilities. She has to be tough ... sometimes she has to make choices that seem uncaring or ruthless ... but to survive and to care for those she loves, she has no choice.

I was taken by surprise at the twist at the end of Allegiant ... I can't say more without spoilers but I was unhappy with the turn that the book took ... even though it did add realism to the story.

This was Roth's debut series. I really enjoyed it and will definitely read more by this author.
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on 30 January 2016
To be honest this is not a novel I would normally have splashed out on, as I know it is intended for children/teenagers. But I have always enjoyed a good SF yarn on a dystopia so from that point of view, this was still a most entertaining read.

It is written in a very simple style, almost as though the narrator is speaking aloud. This does mean that Divergent will be a very accessible novel to read, even for those who maybe haven't yet acquired stellar reading skills.

Divergent is the first book of a trilogy - presumably, all following the adventures of unlikely heroine, Beatrice Prior - or Tris. It is set among the poisoned ruins of a rusty post-apocalyptic world. The city she inhabits - apparently Chicago - is full of dilapidated railways and skyscrapers and is surrounded by mud and marshes rather than lakes. At various points Tris wonders whether these lakes and surrounding countryside could be reclaimed, but this is not within the scope of this ferociously-paced debut novel.

At 16, this girl, still with the body of a child, is poised to make the first adult decisions of her life. The trouble is, that some of these may mean that she will have to say goodbye to her family and everything she has known, for good. Then, during her assessment, intended to determine where her future, she finds herself with another problem. She is a Divergent. And that means she could be killed if this is ever found out.....

This is a future world where humanity is divided up into five castes, or rather, factions - well six actually, as there is a subgroup of dispossessed and unemployable individuals who are factionless. Tris starts out as a demure Abegnate, who are conditioned always to put the needs for others before their own. Then there are the honest Candors, the intelligentsia, known as Erudite, the peace-making Amity and finally the thrill-seeking Dauntless, who value courage.

Each Faction is designed to instil conditioned virtues intended to correct the human evils responsible for war and social discord. Now only Abegnators may be in positions in power, because being devoid of ego, they are least likely to be corrupted by it.

Sounds like a good system and not really dystopic at all. But the worm of human evil within the apple is beginning to turn within some Factions.

Though long, this novel does not seen to flesh out the details of this future social order, nor what lead to it, nearly as much as readers such as myself might have wished for. What it does do, and with great efficiency, is to create a compulsive page-turner as this Tris negotiates the brutal combat training involved in her initiation into the warrior caste and then the traumatic mind simulations, designed to confront the initiates with their deepest fears to they can overcome these. It is all very dog-eat-dog as this is a process of ruthless elimination and is far removed from the Abegnation way of life as could be imagined.

Divergence includes a love interest too, who may or may not have secrets of his own to protect. The relationships does seem rather complicated by the fact that he is supposed to be one of her mentors.

Tris ruminates at times whether or not the training truly fosters truly courage in its candidates or whether her initiation isn't more to do with bullying. She certainly seems to end up becoming capable of acts of cruel violence herself, which may not endear hr as a heroine to some. Overall, this is a precipitously savage tale and heads do roll, especially at the end. Still - thus is supposed to be a dystopia and our heroine may have a destiny beyond what she already knows. Either way that may not much bother the adrenaline-fuelled kids who may lap this up, though.

Most young people will be confronted with the question on how far to accept or deny what they have grown up with, and maybe risking rejection from the culture that has fostered them so far, which us maybe why novels such as these address so well these angsts. It will be interesting to see how Tris's understanding of the world she lives in develops from here - if she can survive long enough to do so.
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on 24 January 2016
Divergent is an enjoyable YA thriller. It's uncomplicated, unsophisticated, but chock full of enthusiasm and energy. It lacks the relative complexity of the Hunger Games (which it is obviously modelled upon) but even given the simplicity of the morality within it's a lot of fun to read. In many ways it makes me think of it as 'Uglies done right' - I really didn't like Uglies, which I thought had a lazy premise and a paper thin premise. But it had some interesting bones that a more competent execution could have built upon - Divergent really seems like it fills that niche. The factional system of Divergent is at least moderately believable, even if it lacks the geopolitical nuance of the Hunger Games. The characters are like-able, even though the villains don't get much in the way of characterisation beyond 'look how mean they are'. The story is - well, it's okay. It's much like Full Metal Jacket in that it's very much a book of two halves, and the second half doesn't come remotely close to the quality of the first. But I didn't resent a second I spent reading it, and I'll happily move on to the next one before too much time has passed.
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* I have been given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review *

My main problem with this book, and the series in general is still the absurdity of the factions, but I won’t rant about it again here – see my Divergent review for that piece of fun.

This book had a lot more focus on Tris and Four’s relationship, which really didn’t do anything for me. I wasn’t really enthralled by their relationship in the first book, and it just got more boring here. Their up and down struggles just felt pointless to me, especially in the midst of all the drama – I don’t understand why characters focus on petty relationship things when their whole world is crumbling. But hey, maybe that’s just me.

This book felt a bit like a filler. After the set up of the first book and its climax, this one seemed to dip in the action and drama – there was a lot of time spent running between different factions and talking about what was to be done, when really I wanted something more to happen.

I think my favourite thing about the book was probably Tris’ character development. She’s still shaken after the events of the last book and finds it hard to shake off the guilt of what she’s done. It makes her reckless and rash and gets her in all kinds of trouble as she enters a downward spiral. It’s great to see a character suffering as a result of their actions rather than taking everything in their stride.

Having read all three books in a row, this is probably the weakest of the three for me, as it feels like it’s just a bridge between the opening and the end, rather than really driving the plot forward. The really key bits happened right towards the end, and I wish that could have been slotted into book three and saved us all a lot of Tris and Four back and forth.
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on 5 April 2016
Divergent is the debut novel of American novelist Veronica Roth, published by HarperCollins Children's Books in 2011. The novel is the first of the Divergent trilogy, a series of young-adult dystopian novels set in the Divergent Universe.[1] The novel Divergent features a post-apocalyptic version of Chicago and follows Beatrice "Tris" Prior as she explores her identity within a society that defines its citizens by their social and personality-related affiliation with five factions, which removes the threat of anyone exercising independent will and re-threatening the population's safety. Underlying the action and dystopian focused main plot is a romantic subplot between Tris and one of her instructors in the Dauntless faction, nicknamed Four.

The novel has been compared to other young adult books such as The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner because of its similar themes and target audience. In particular, the novel explores the themes common to young adult fiction, such as adult authority and the transition from childhood to maturity, as well as such broader motifs as the place of violence and social structures within a post-apocalyptic society. Its major plot device, the division of society into personality types, is one used in other science fiction works. Beyond its literary context, Roth's open declaration of her religion as a Christian has brought commentary from Christian communities both endorsing and challenging the novel.

Roth wrote Divergent while working on a Creative Writing degree at Northwestern University, and it was quickly purchased for publication alongside the subsequent books in the trilogy (completed in October 2013).[1] Summit Entertainment purchased the media rights to the book in 2011 and subsequently produced a film adaptation titled Divergent which was released March 21, 2014. The film, a success amongst audiences, generated $288,747,895 at the box office despite mixed reviews from critics.
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on 19 June 2015
Roth's triumph is Tris: a strong female character who gets on with defining her own destiny without being too annoying and whiny (alright, she does whine a bit, but it's mostly justified). You care what happen to this girl and follow her willingly as she leaves her family to go through initiation into another tribe. However, for me, the book lacks the emotional intensity of The Hunger Games. There are no moment's comparable to Rue's death, for example. When [SPOILER ALERT] Tris' parents are dispatched swiftly in the final pages of the book, I shrugged and read on. We hadn't spent any time with these characters and it was difficult to feel sorry for their passing.

The idea of dividing society into a series of factions is a well-established idea seen in a lot of dystopian fiction. Unfortunately, here I felt the divisions over-simplistic and difficult to swallow.

Overall this is a good read. Apart from a bit of slack in the middle (when initiation training starts to drag on - a problem Ender's Game also suffers with), it rattles along at a great pace, leaving the reader little chance to get bored or distracted. I have since read the next two installments in the trilogy and I think Divergent is probably the best.
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on 9 February 2016
With books that have been made into films, I think sometimes its better seeing the film first, otherwise I sit thinking they have missed that out of the film.

I watched Divergent and quite enjoyed the film, I didn't at the time know it was a book which was probably a good thing, so I saw the book on Amazon and decided I'm going to read it and see how good it was compared to the film. I found the film actually followed the book rather well, which was impressive.

Divergent is about factions, Erudite, for the clever, Amity, for the peaceful, Candor, for the honest, Abnegation, for the selfless and Dauntless, for the brave. Children will grow up in the faction that their parents are in, and when they turn 16 they have to go on a quest which will then decide which faction they belong to.

The story follows Tris, she has always known she doesn't belong to Abnegation like her family, so despite having doubts she decides to leave and try out for another faction Dauntless, the decision might be hard, but the initiation process is going to be harder, one she may not even pass. She finds it really hard, not knowing who to trust, after all how can you trust someone you don't know fighting for one of the few spaces in Dauntless, the worst thing is Tris learns a secret, one she can't tell anyone.

The story follows the ups and down, about the budding relationships between some of the initiates, and also goes into the different factions and what its like to be factionless. The story does jump a bit, there is no logic to the story in the fact there is no real order to the society. The book is written from Tris's point of view, so its about her ideas, her ideals, he rights and wrongs, following a character like this makes the book fun to read.

Some people relate this book to The Hunger Games, its not, it has a lot of similar type of stories, so if you liked The Hunger Games you will like this book, I think its also a bit like The Maze Runner series, in how its written, following the one main character.

I enjoyed reading the book, I shall look forward to reading the next in the series.
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