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Divergent (Divergent Series) Paperback – September 30, 2014
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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.--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-In the dystopian Chicago setting of Roth's novel (Katherine Tegen Bks., 2011), the population is divided into five factions. Upon declaring allegiance to one of them, 16-year-old Beatrice will decide her future. Beatrice and her brother, Caleb, grew up in helpful, unassuming Abnegation, always putting others first. During her aptitude testing, a simulation probes her suitability for Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, and Erudite. Rather than getting a clear reading of her strengths, Beatrice's result is disturbing and dangerous: she is Divergent. At the choosing ceremony, the teenager impulsively joins Dauntless, the tattooed "hellions" whose value is bravery, and who protect the community. Beatrice, now called Tris, finds she feels brilliantly alive in Dauntless, even during the brutal training. She enjoys seeing her muscles harden, testing her courage, protecting the underdog, and working her way up the ranks of recruits. Making both friends and enemies, she moves through simulations tailored to trigger her Fear Landscape. Gradually, her Divergence shows itself, allowing Tris to see that the faction-dominated world isn't as wonderful as she has been told. The likeable characters, excellent pacing, and blooming romance will have listeners hooked. Emma Galvin's youthful voice has a twinge of huskiness that lends itself to voicing both young men and women. The audiobook will be very popular, so library patrons will have to be careful considering the packaging: a lightweight box and foldout sleeves. You might want to purchase the audio download instead.-Maggie Knapp, Trinity Valley School, Fort Worth, TXα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top customer reviews
Divergent - Like many others, I really enjoyed this book and loved the world that Roth created with all the character background. I feel like I need to go into a ton of detail since I'm late to the party and a lot of people already have. I totally bought into the romance between Tris and Tobias/Four (enigmatic, strong, but broken young man attempting to be courageous and try to save others, including those who hurt him).
Four - I really liked this addition, it's probably my second favorite of the 4 'books'. Since I am a girl, I don't know how men think inside their heads, but I really enjoyed the prequel and additional explanation of the world - faction, initiation, why Eric and Four didn't get a long and their initiation class, etc.
Insurgent - The book was interesting, but I still liked Divergent best. It did hold my interest and I continued to read it even though I did get annoyed with some of the characters. I liked learning that there were more divergents and that there were brave people attempting to infiltrate the Erudites/rebel-Dauntless and fight for 'freedom' or order in their world. Tris was a guilt-ridden teenager who kept it in instead of talking about it with others which is what I would have done, but I supposed she has learned to be more introverted from her upbringing.
Allegiant - Honestly, I was not a huge fan. I thought it was a let down experience after this world was created and built up only to have it be a complete fabrication and something that could be 'reset'. It would have been cool for them to go outside the wall and had the fringe people come back and fight with them or something of that sort, but just having this all powerful government in the ORD airport was really weird. I just couldn't get into it. Also, knowing there were other cities that weren't 'experiments' allowing them to just do these huge experiments on thousands of people didn't sound plausible. Even though Four got all weird and kind of pathetic in the middle of the book, I still hated him hurting so badly at the end. I did like that Roth added some parts about love, that Tris realized she chose him and chose to love him no matter what and they chose each other through the good and bad times. I did not understand why Tobias would ask for Tris' opinion and then not even care what she said, but also, she should have worked on her explanations and been more open with him also - perhaps I'm expecting too much of 2 teenagers that have been traumatized and probably have PTSD.
Overall, I just got them a week ago and I read all of them in the first 2 days (hard to do working full time and having 2 babies but I hate not knowing what happens... then after Allegiant I was like meh... I guess I kept hoping that it would get better but then it was over and I felt kind of empty/unsatisfied with the ending/how their world was utterly destroyed and made into something fictional even in it's own book. Since I finished I read Roth's blog on why she ended it the way she did and I understand why she had Tris' part the way it was, but I still think their world could have been built up more instead of suddenly becoming an 'experiment' and being confusing. I feel like it was like the Truman Show but nobody was flipping out other than Four about it (and his lack of real divergence which was weird too) and if my whole world was a hoax, I think I would have had needed some serious time to figure out how I felt about it all.
After I read other's reviews, watched the movies in order, I re-read Divergent and Four and I still like them, but I would probably not read Allegiant again since it kind of ruins the whole experience for me as it tears their whole world apart and doesn't really feel 'finished' when the book is over. Something would have happened to the people running the experiment, they couldn't have been the only ones who were concerned about pure/damaged genes since someone obviously was funding the project. Confusing and inconclusive but I'll probably re-read Divergent and Four again... possibly Insurgent but avoid Allegiant.
I liked Allegiant the movie better than the book, Four still was manly and determined to save everyone. I did like the Divergent book better than the movie. I can't really decide which version of Insurgent I like better, but I felt like the movie was kind of confusing, especially if you had no background from the first movie/had not read the books.
They should definitely make a Four movie though featuring Theo James, he was a great Four character.
Insurgent was a disaster for me. A ruined series at this point. Tris was annoying as heck and she stressed me out cause she was stupid and I got really bored of the constant action. It got mundane and repetitive. Hated insurgent. I read it as fast as I could to get it over and done with. The characters didn't get developed as well as I thought they could have and story line was weak list in a billion other side plots. And it got to the point I was trying to remember who everyone was and what everything stood for that I couldn't pay attention anyways to the story or lack there of. It was a book needed to link the 3rd book to divergent but totally could have linked them in 10 chapters.
I actually really like Allegient. The ending surprised me and I was actually upset what happened to Tris. It wasn't suppose to end that way. Yet when all was said and done it ended good. I couldn't picture Tris and Tobias settling down with a normal life and heading up the rebuilding of Chicago. I was upset they didn't get to be together but I really liked the Epilogue.
I gave this trilogy a three stars because I give 1 and a half stars to Divergent and 1 and a half stars to Allegent but none to Insurgent. If I could give a half star to Insurgent I might just cause of the connection but I hated that book. I won't be reading the series again just to avoid that book but I will see the movies. Just for curiosity and that I like the two books. Not that I usually read series again anyways. Three and a half stars is my final answer.
I purchased the hardbound, boxed set of this trilogy. My only negative comment about this purchase has to do with how the books arrived. The top of the outer box came with some damage that was very disappointing to me. I take great care of my books and this was a major bummer. Other than that, I think that many people will enjoy this series. You won't want to put these books down.