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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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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.


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 24 April 2016
This was a rather silly teenage love story masquerading as sci-fi. It feels like it was written by a teen rather than for teens. And not a very bright or talented teen. The idea of the factions is just stupid, as is the idea that a human being can be dominated by just one trait. To be brave you also have to be violent and vicious? To be selfless you must be dull and drab and grey? And, of course, that tired old chestnut; to be intellectual you must also be cold and unfeeling and ruthless. What an obscene insult to the glorious, chaotic, contradictory jumble of good and bad that comprises every human being. There were so many flaws to this book that it really is just one giant flaw. The central character is an irritating cliche too. One nonsense that particularly amused me was the idea that Tris didn't know Tobias: they were in the same faction, their fathers were close friends and co-workers, they would have been in school together for at least ten years, yet they didn't know each other? Give me strength. My title summed it all up: not good!
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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 14 June 2017
I could not put this series down! Very much for a young adult/teen (even though I'm 23), and fans of Hunger Games! You really connect with the main characters Tris and Four, so much so that I read all four books over 2 days!

The books themselves arrived very quickly, in a fantastic condition!

I highly recommend this series and this particular book set, it's worth a look at even if you are just starting venturing into dystopian novels.
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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 21 March 2016
The instructions to redeem the free books are not very easy to find, so this might help... To redeem your voucher you need to copy the code, follow the small font link on the top of your email, it takes you to the page to enter the redemption code. Submit the code. Wait for the success message. Hit back till you get to the start and then select the redeem now button. Choose from one of the selected books and click buy now. You'll get a receipt for £0.00.
Not read the book yet, but got a top seller for free, so can't complain!
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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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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 14 August 2016
Because this is a Young Adult novel it has quite a simplistic and unrealistic view of a dystopian society. The idea here is that the world is now split into a number of factions each of which represent an approach to the world, or an emotion. At sixteen young people are tested to see where they belong and then expected to stay in their birth faction or move to another. As an adult reader you have to just accept this premise but it really doesn't make a lot of sense and I didn't understand how it worked out in the actual government and running of society and culture.

Beatrice (Tris) makes the discovery that she is "divergent". This means that she belongs to more than one faction but apparently this is a huge secret because it is unacceptable - I really didn't ever properly understand what it meant to be divergent or why it mattered so much. Tris makes the decision to join the Dauntless faction and leaves her home and family to join in their initiation process. We then share with Tris in meeting her compatriots and going through all the tests she has to endure. This is where I had the most problem with this book. Tris admires Dauntless because she wants to be assertive and brave but in actuality the faction appear reckless and cruel. The tests seek to make her independent and ruthless and to a large degree they succeed. The things that Tris admires and wants to replicate are not admirable in my view and although I can understand that she wants to be strong I don't think that some of the things she does here are really very acceptable. Although some of the activities are brutal the author does keep the descriptions relatively general but it does mean that some pretty horrific deaths are rather skated over.

If you accept the brutality and some dubious morality the book is a good read. It isn't wildly original and there are more than a few occasions when you can directly see its resemblance to "The Hunger Games". There is a fledgling romance which is handled well and fits in with the story. I did finish the book and I may well continue with the series just to see if the author addresses the issues with which I had difficulty.
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on 29 February 2016
Veronica Roth is back with the final book in the trilogy - and it most definitely didn't disappoint. I loved book 1 but thought book 2 sagged a bit as storytelling goes, but the pace and thrill is back with a vengeance with the final book in the series. Having read the backlash against Roth for how she wrote the ending, I was worried about what would greet me when I got the final 3rd of Insurgent, but in my opinion, it was the only ending possible after everything that had happened and after everything all the characters stood for. The characters were a unique and quirky bunch from the start and I liked all of them for their individual flaws, quirks and challenges. The character arcs were exceptionally well written and for that reason, the plot behind this last book in the series was deftly produced and provided a hugely satisfying ending. If it had been written in any other way, it would have been cliched and unsatisfying.
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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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