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on 10 April 2017
Definitely a page-turner. Fascinating world building, but the pacing is a little strange and the 'climax' and ending seems rushed, almost seemingly out of nowhere. For me, it makes me just want to turn back the pages an go back to read about this fascinating world instead of going on with story.

The romance factor, oh my, sparks definitely flutter off the pages. The chemistry between the characters were believable and genuine. Yet at the same time, it's pacing is a bit uneven so it clashes with the rest of the story telling. Almost like we'll go through the story, but we're going to slow down and notice every tiny minuscule details when it in regards to the romance between the main character and her intended. The end result felt a bit disjointed, felt like we're almost intruding on them (or peeping at them from a hole in the wall - your choice)

I would have like a bit more time to see the characters grow before things 'got to the point of no return' but that's my own personal preference. Overall, an engaging read.
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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 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 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 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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