Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

This will be the last post for a week.  Despite the fact that for Foxes chocolate is actually a poison, we are all taking the risk and will be consuming excessive amounts of Easter Eggs over the next few days.  Expect us to come lumbering back on the 2nd May feeling ever so slightly queasy, tremendously guilt ridden and with renewed fitness plans. 

Until then read this review and enjoy a very Happy Chocolate Filled Holiday! Smile

 

****

Oh no, not another dystopian novel I hear you cry?!  Erm…yes, *but* please hang on in there, ‘cos this is a really, really good one.

Beatrice lives in a future world where everyone is grouped according to their personality characteristics.  There are the factions of Abnegation, Candor, Erudite, Amity and Dauntless.  Beatrice has been born into the faction of Abnegation where everyone believes in putting the needs of others before themselves… they rule the society due to their selflessness.  However, where you are born does not determine where you will eventually end up.  At the age of 16 you are assessed and then you choose your faction guided by the test results.  But Beatrice’s results are inconclusive and she is a Divergent. She is told to hide this at all costs and never let anyone find out what she is.

Beatrice chooses the complete antithesis to her current situation… Dauntless. They are fearless, warriors who are tattooed and pierced and kind of cool.  (I would SO be Dauntless!) and so she becomes Tris and begins her training, which is arduous and terrifying (and probably the one part of being a Dauntless that puts me off!).

This is a fascinating novel which captivated me completely.  The idea that people can be grouped according to personality types and be awarded jobs and lifestyles to suit is compelling.  To begin with, I completely agreed that this was an inspired idea.  But as the novel progressed and situations with the factions began to fall apart I saw all sorts of problems emerge.

Divergent is so much more than an exploration of Myers-Briggs Type tests.  There’s a love story when Tris falls for her instructor, the super-wonderful Four.  And there’s mystery and intrigue when Tris discovers the reasons why she must hide her true Divergent nature.

Tris is a wonderful character, so desperate to prove her bravery and courage.  She fights against her upbringing in so many ways and in doing so shows herself to be an outstandingly fearless girl.  She is brilliant!

I loved Divergent for so many reasons. I loved the exploration of the nature of character and where that blurs.  I also loved the full on excitement of the trials that Tris has to succeed in… or die.  And I loved the tense love story that emerges between her and Four.  This is a fantastic novel and one I heartily recommend.

About Eve Harvey

Eve Harvey is a bookaholic. She is forever to be found with her nose in a book. If there are none around then newspapers, magazines, the back of cereal packets, road signs or the tiny washing labels found on the seams of jumpers will do. Eve has a full time job as a children's bookseller. She was, in fact, the very first Waterstone's Children's Expert Bookseller in Scotland. Her first love then really has to be literature for children and teens, although she has been known to read grown-up books (not very often though - they didn't put in enough hours when they invented days). She especially loves to find brand new authors and is always on the lookout for a stunning début... Eve lives in a field just outside Edinburgh in Scotland with her daughter and son and two dogs and two rabbits. She also has some tanks of tropical fish and vows one day to start up a marine aquarium. And the day she signs her very first publishing deal she is going to celebrate by buying a pair of Horsefields tortoises. You can find Eve through her Agent, Ella Kahn at DKW Literary Agency. She's also on Twitter or on her website : EveHarvey.com

8 comments on “Divergent by Veronica Roth

  1. Amy L. Campbell
    April 23, 2011

    Sounds like a great book. I’ll have to see if I can find it!

  2. Jackie
    April 24, 2011

    What an unusual idea! Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before? I bet it adds layers & possibilities to the story. Not the least, the reader would be trying to determine which group they’d belong to. And I applaud a strong female character, especially for this age group, what a great role model type.
    Are they going to make it a series with each book exploring a different group?

  3. Moira
    April 25, 2011

    What a curious and intriguing idea for a book. Not sure I’d want to be in with the ‘Candor’ lot. Imagine being surrounded by people who always told you the unvarnished truth.

    ‘Does my bum look big in this?’ – ‘Sure does, hippo-hips.’
    ‘Do you like my new, incredibly expensive haircut?’ – ‘No. Ask the hairdressers not to use the tame rats next time.’
    ‘You DO still respect me, don’t you?’ – ‘Oh course not, you daft slapper.’

    Etc, etc, etc …

    More seriously, I can see that there would be lots of food for thought here – which is always a good thing.

  4. Hilary
    April 25, 2011

    This sounds wonderfully imaginative! I’m a sucker for Myers-Briggs and other personality tests, but mercifully have never thought about the implications of having one’s life mapped out by its results!

    Anyhow, it sounds as though that’s just the starting point for a great adventure – super review of an excellent read.

  5. Shelley
    April 26, 2011

    I wonder if all these dystopian novels are channeling an alarm at the growing control corporations exert over our lives. It’s upsetting but almost unthinkable….

  6. Nikki
    April 30, 2011

    Sounds intriguing. And also vaguely similar to something I wrote at university so I’m very interested in reading this!

  7. Eve Harvey
    May 5, 2011

    I think there is really something going on with all these dystopian teen books coming out. I’m a little scared to think beyond “there’s something going on…” though :(

    Hahahaha Moira :) That’s exactly how it is! And yes Jackie, there’s definitely another one. The ending leaves it open for more… and I’ll be interested to see how it all evolves.

    Thanks everyone. It’s really great… and very interesting.

  8. Pingback: Divergent by Veronica Roth | Iris on Books

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This entry was posted on April 23, 2011 by in Entries by Eve, Fiction: young adult.

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  • (The header image is from Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Francis Barlow (1666), and appears courtesy of the Digital and Multimedia Center at the Michigan State University Libraries.)
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