- Hardcover: 496 pages
- Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books; 1st edition (May 3, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0062024027
- ISBN-13: 978-0062024022
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.5 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 44,232 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #27,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Divergent Hardcover – May 3, 2011
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A Q&A with Author Veronica Roth
Q: What advice would you offer to young aspiring writers, who long to live a success story like your own?
Roth: One piece of advice I have is: Want something else more than success. Success is a lovely thing, but your desire to say something, your worth, and your identity shouldn’t rely on it, because it’s not guaranteed and it’s not permanent and it’s not sufficient. So work hard, fall in love with the writing—the characters, the story, the words, the themes—and make sure that you are who you are regardless of your life circumstances. That way, when the good things come, they don’t warp you, and when the bad things hit you, you don’t fall apart.
Q: You’re a young author--is it your current adult perspective or not-so-recent teenage perspective that brought about the factions in the development of this story? Do you think that teens or adults are more likely to fit into categories in our current society?
Roth: Other aspects of my identity have more to do with the factions than my age. The faction system reflects my beliefs about human nature—that we can make even something as well-intentioned as virtue into an idol, or an evil thing. And that virtue as an end unto itself is worthless to us. I did spend a large portion of my adolescence trying to be as “good” as possible so that I could prove my worth to the people around me, to myself, to God, to everyone. It’s only now that I’m a little older that I realize I am unable to be truly “good” and that it’s my reasons for striving after virtue that need adjustment more than my behavior. In a sense, Divergent is me writing through that realization—everyone in Beatrice’s society believes that virtue is the end, the answer. I think that’s a little twisted.
I think we all secretly love and hate categories—love to get a firm hold on our identities, but hate to be confined—and I never loved and hated them more than when I was a teenager. That said: Though we hear a lot about high school cliques, I believe that adults categorize each other just as often, just in subtler ways. It is a dangerous tendency of ours. And it begins in adolescence.
Q: If you could add one more faction to the world within Divergent, what would it be?
Roth: I tried to construct the factions so that they spanned a wide range of virtues. Abnegation, for example, includes five of the traditional “seven heavenly virtues:” chastity, temperance, charity, patience, and humility. That said, it would be interesting to have a faction centered on industriousness, in which diligence and hard work are valued most, and laziness is not allowed. They would be in constant motion, and would probably be happy to take over for the factionless. And hard-working people can certainly take their work too far, as all the factions do with their respective virtues. I’m not sure what they would wear, though. Overalls, probably.
Q: What do you think are the advantages, if any, to the society you’ve created in Divergent?
Roth: All the advantages I see only seem like advantages to me because I live in our current society. For example, the members of their society don’t focus on certain things: race, religion, sexual orientation, political affiliation, etc. I mean, a world in which you look different from the majority and no one minds? That sounds good to me. But when I think about it more, I realize that they’re doing the exact same thing we do, but with different criteria by which to distinguish ourselves from others. Instead of your skin color, it’s the color of your shirt that people assess, or the results of your aptitude test. Same problem, different system.
Q: What book are you currently reading and how has it changed you, if at all?
Roth: I recently finished Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma, which I would call “contemporary with a paranormal twist,” or something to that effect. It’s about a girl whose sister has a powerful kind of magnetism within the confines of a particular town, and how their love for each other breaks some things apart and puts other things back together. It was refreshing to read a young adult book that is about sisterhood instead of romance. It’s one of those books that makes you love a character and then hate a character and then love them again—that shows you that people aren’t all good or all bad, but somewhere in between. Imaginary Girls gave me a lot to think about, and the writing was lovely, which I always love to see.
“A memorable, unpredictable journey from which it is nearly impossible to turn away.”— (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“You’ll be up all night with Divergent, a brainy thrill-ride of a novel.” (BookPage)
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Beatrice is about to take the test that will determine which of the five factions she will go into for the rest of her life. The five factions are: Candor (the honest), Amity (the peaceful), Erudite (the intelligent), Dauntless (the brave) and Abnegation (the selfless). Each of the factions carries out certain job throughout the city. Those without factions do all the dirty work and have no rights in society. Born into Abnegation, everyone thinks she will stay in. On the day of the test, Beatrice learns she is Divergent. Fitting into not just one, but many factions. She chooses Dauntless and is told to keep her Divergent identity secret. In dauntless Beatrice renames herself Tris, and she is tested to determine who she really is. Her failure could leave her factionless. Her testing will reveal that she is divergent if she isn’t careful. Being divergent might just get her killed.
I can’t believe how spot on the movie was. I could completely picture the scenes while I read this book. There were only a few details left out of the movie Divergent. This book was really addictive. Even though I knew what was going to happen, I couldn’t stop reading the story. There were a few interactions left out and we get a more in depth look at Tris’ struggle to leave Abnegation and her whole family behind. The development of her relationship to Four made much more sense in the book and he was instrumental in the end. We also get more of an explanation of Tris’ fears and why Four was so different from his peers when he graduated.
I really enjoyed the character building, getting to know her friends and her fears. The author is able to draw in the reader right from the start. The location of this story is a dytopian Chicago. I liked the gradual world building in this story. The whole society is cut off from the outside. The idea that people are either of 5 personalities was really problematic for divergents because they have characteristics from more than one. The struggle to pick just one thing for the rest of your life is something a lot of young adults can probably relate to as they make career choices, so this story may feel close to home.
The female protagonist is the typical young adult blank slate and follows a rather dull love story throughout the books. In the third book, the author suddenly decides to abandon narrating only from the main protagonist's POV and alternates following the female protagonist and her male love interest. The second and third books manage to rehash the same theme (and even some of the plot points) from the first books a la Hunger Games.
Leave this book for the young adults.
There was a lot of hype around this trilogy, and I resisted picking up the box set for a few years after being disappointed with some other YA series released around the same time. News of a film franchise being kicked off is what finally encouraged me to start reading. Though I didn’t power through the books – I really enjoyed ‘Divergent’ and rated it for the experience I had, thinking this was going to be an amazing trilogy. I’m not a big lover of dystopian novels, so the subsequent sequels were spread out over the following two years, each spurned on by looming release dates of the film franchise.
Overall, it is a fun, imaginative and gritty series, but I would probably recommend some others in this genre to my friends before the Divergent trilogy. My satisfaction diminished with each volume. It has a great conclusion, but ultimately the narrative style is what dragged my rating down.
I’d probably rate the boxed set as a solid 3.5. It has become a big part of the YA reading culture, and with the films, hard to ignore. So while a phenomenal story, fantastic packaging and a strong female protagonist role model, it didn’t make the impact on me I’d hoped for… whether my expectations had been elevated by the hype, or that I did not gel with Roth’s writing style, it’s still an action packed journey worth a look.
On the whole I feel as though I have enjoyed the movie franchise a lot better than the books, especially the SPFX, and much of the superfluous story lines stripped away, leaving it compact and throwing a punch. Really excited to see the final movie, 'Ascendant.'
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