Saturday, 15 October 2011

Divergent by Veronica Roth


Divergent by Veronica Roth was wonderful, brilliant, astounding and any and all those synonymous adjectives. I adored it; as I expected to.

It’s a dystopian novel and the society is divided into 5 factions that each seek to combat war and suffering by adopting a particular ethic and thinking according to that ethic: sticking to that above any personal morals or relations. In the books own words: Faction before blood. That means family, but I sort of think it means before yourself too: kill yourself instead of betray your faction. The protagonist is called Divergent because she- Tris- cannot adopt one way of thinking: she could fit in with many of the groups. Obviously, this causes her a load of trouble as well as a unique way to solve it.

I thought Roth wrote brilliantly almost consistently: only occasionally did I find myself being bored by some of what was going on. I think, because this is book one in a trilogy, the setting the scene and giving her and everyone else a background was a focus. Unlike some, I actually like this sort of thing because I am an information junkie; some people just thought it was pointless.

The first 104 pages were available online and before even considering buying the book, I read these pages. Now, this has never happened before. Not once have I been able to access a book in this format (free!) and it was odd. But I read it, and liked it. By allowing me to read this, I was persuaded to buy the book because I expected I would like the entire thing. I now believe every writer should do this: it means, as a reader, we can find out whether we will like the narrative and the writer themselves should we buy it. It was win-win as far as I was concerned. And even when I got the book, I read those pages again.

The book was marvellous and I shan’t rave about it for pages on end but you need to know above all else that I loved it like a cat loves a mouse, a dog loves a ball and a reader loves a good book.

The book wasn’t unbelievable though. I think that this society (the beginning Utopia) has something that could work if possible, but it isn’t. That’s of course the problem with a Utopia: that they are impossible. The reason this one was so much so was because human individuality would have to be controlled and that cannot be feasibly done. I’m not a utopian and I don’t want this is occur in this universe, but accepting the merits of this society gave me an insight to how the characters might think and react.

Veronica Roth was, lets face it, brilliant and faultless. If she’s a nice person in real life too, I think I’m in love.

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