Book Review: Divergent (Divergent Trilogy Book 1) by Veronica Roth

Tris lives in a society divided by five factions: Abnegation, Amity, Erudite, Candor, and Dauntless. But Tris has never felt like she quite fit in growing up in Abnegation, and, when her test results show that she's Divergent, meaning she has an aptitude for multiple factions, she begins to uncover secrets about her society, her faction, and even those closest to her that she never imagined.

2 Star Book Review: Divergent (Divergent Trilogy Book 1) by Veronica Roth | books, book reviews, sci-fi, dystopian, YA
Title: Divergent
Book Number: Book 1 of 3
Pages: 501
My Rating: 2 Stars


I’m going to keep this review simple by making a handy-dandy list of the issues I had with the book.

1. I couldn’t relate to Tris even a tiny bit. It especially bothered me when she was disgusted (her word, not mine) at Al for crying simply because someone who looks so strong shouldn’t act so weak. That was all she cared about—who was strong and who was weak and which one she was being, except I felt like her ideas of strength and weakness were skewed.

2. Nothing really happened until the very end. Tris’s training at the compound just wasn’t interesting to me because it just seemed to be training, training, then some more training.

3. I could accept the premise of having different factions, but I couldn’t accept how extreme they were and little sense they made. For example, arguing about right and wrong is not honesty, it’s debate. And jumping off of moving trains is not bravery, it’s stupidity. Bullying people is also not bravery, it’s cruelty. I know they explained how and why Dauntless kind of lost its way and changed, but I was so disenchanted with their faction by then that it just wasn’t enough for me.

4. This one wasn’t the reason for the overall low rating, but I think it was the thing that just nagged at me the most: What happened to continuity in the fear landscape test? *SPOILER ALERT* The whole point of the test was for the trainees to learn to face their fears or stay calm in the face of them. More specifically, they were supposed to either dive headfirst into the fear (e.g. If you’re afraid of heights, you jump off the building) or calm down and lower their heart rate until the scene changed. Also, manipulating simulations was the number one giveaway of being Divergent. So what did Tris do in her fear landscape test in front of all the Dauntless leaders? She manipulated the shit out of everything and literally did the opposite of what she was supposed to. Instead of calming her heart rate while the crows were around, she made a gun appear out of nowhere and shot the crows. Instead of succumbing to the water in the tank, she broke it. Instead of staying calm while people came to kidnap her, she made another gun appear and shot them. Every single fear scenario, she did the opposite of facing the fear by instead conjuring something to fight it back or escape it. I spent the whole time thinking this was it, the moment she screwed herself over, the moment they all found out she was Divergent and things were about to get real… but instead she got the best score. *END SPOILER ALERT* Does that make sense to other people? Was I misunderstanding something?

I know a lot of people love this series, and it wasn’t badly written, but, with a main character I didn’t like and a slow-going plot, I just couldn’t get into the book.

On a side note, my fear IS needles. Is it ironic that my fear would be faced before even going into the fear landscape? 😛


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  1. sjhigbee

    I didn’t bond with this series, either. While I loved the opening few pages, the more we got into the world, the less it seemed to make sense. The dealbreaker for me was the casual way in which teens – who are at a stage in their lives when they are becoming USEFUL to any society who has nurtured and raised them – were discarded if they didn’t manage to make the grade in a series of random tests. Really?? Any society I’ve ever studied tried quite hard NOT to create an underclass of angry, alienated youngsters who have no investment in its wellbeing – they generally fail… But not by tossing them out of their classication without any kind of second tier. It didn’t ring true. And the notion we are MOSTLY one type of person also seemed a crass over-simplification.
    Anyway, rant over. And thank you for a really good review.

    1. Kristen Burns

      You make a great point! It really doesn’t make logical sense that people would be discarded because of the random tests. That doesn’t serve any purpose and doesn’t help the society in any way. The classification thing was kind of addressed at the end of the series (I don’t know if you kept reading after the first book?), but it still didn’t make that much sense to me anyway. So I agree that that aspect was odd too. And I’m glad I’m not the only person who had some issues with this series!