Reviewing A Classic: Divergent by Veronica Roth


Photo Courtesy of Alfons Morales on Unsplash.

Divergent, by Veronica Roth, is the first book in the Divergent trilogy (subsequent books entitled Insurgent and Allegiant). It has become a very popular young adult novel since its original publication in 2011 and a great addition to the dystopian genre. The story was so well-received that a Divergent movie based on the book was released three years after the book’s publication, with Insurgent and Allegiant movies following shortly after. After watching the movies, I wanted to read the series, and I finally got around to it. Now that I’ve read the Divergent trilogy, I would not highly recommend the movies, as they leave out many characters and change scenes and plots that made the books so enjoyable. The Insurgent and Allegiant movies minimally resembled the books. There is a lot more depth and detail in the books, which makes them so captivating. If you have not yet read Divergent, it is a fantastic book to try out soon.

Divergent follows Beatrice “Tris” Prior, a sixteen-year-old girl living in the future city of Chicago. In Chicago, society is divided into five factions: Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Erudite, and Dauntless. Each faction has a different core value—selflessness, peace, honesty, knowledge, and courage, respectively. People are born into factions, and a Choosing Ceremony is held each year where those sixteen years of age must choose a faction to spend the rest of their lives in. Tris’s decision will determine her future—should she stay with her Abnegation family in a life of self-denial and generosity or leave them for a new community and experience? After choosing a faction, Tris and her fellow initiates go through an intense initiation process to become official members of the faction; it pushes all of them to their physical and mental breaking point. Along the way, she makes friends, faces enemies, and develops an unexpected relationship. As Tris encounters shocking betrayals, dangerous secrets, and a threat to her city, she discovers who she is and who she wants to be.

After reading Divergent, I had a much deeper understanding of what I saw in the movie, and the book was so absorbing that I reread it just a week after finishing it. The constant action in the story kept me engaged and excited for more. I also enjoyed how the author added little details that enhanced scenes. Although they did not seem important initially, they added depth to the story. Some details also connected to ideas later in the book, but they were so subtle you may not even realize the connection after reading Divergent only once. The characters and their development grabbed my attention and drew me into the story. As the narrator of the book, Tris’s character is explored the most. She had many internal and external conflicts that were interesting to observe and helped shape and move the plot. It was fascinating to see different sides of her personality and watch her grow and change throughout the book. Her descriptions and observations provided much depth and many layers to other characters, making them feel real. The characters’ relationships added to the complexity and meaningfulness of the plot. All of these aspects made Divergent an entertaining and captivating read for me.

I recommend Divergent for anyone who enjoys action, romance, and dystopian novels. However, you may want to consider that some aspects of the book (e.g., the history of Chicago) could be seen as vague and questionable. I didn’t mind this because I don’t focus much on the plausibility of details, but if you like things to make clear sense, this may bother you. Also, some editions of Divergent have bonus materials at the back of the book. If you find an edition that includes the “Faction Manifestos,” I suggest taking a look at that if you want to have a deeper understanding of each faction’s beliefs, values, and intentions. As a gripping, action-packed book filled with memorable scenes and characters, Divergent is a worthwhile addition to your reading list!