Book Review of Divergent (Divergent, Bk 1)

Divergent (Divergent, Bk 1)
reviewed on
Helpful Score: 3

Disappointing. Eager to hop on the Hunger Games train of the post-apocalyptic genre, readers find themselves skimming the surface of the Divergent trilogy, never able to fully immerse themselves in the world or the characters. Roth paints a fascinating picture: a world comprised of five factions of which the characters must select one to join during their 16 year, or be ostracized from the communities, but thats all you get of the book, a fraction of what it could have been. We only ever get a surface view of the characters personalities and the world they live in. My hope was that as the trilogy went on Roth would go deeper. Unfortunately, Roth stuck to the relative safety of generalizations, overused simile, and repetitive conflicts between the main characters of Tris and Four, and of violence/revolution.

SPOILER ALERTS for the entire Divergent trilogy

My biggest complaint is that throughout the books the only major deaths are of main female characters: Triss mother, Jeanine Matthews, Tori (although she was more of a theme throughout the books than a main character, a grounding mechanism and source of answers for Tris, like many characters never really having a chance to develop a strong personality so her death barley affects us until we meet her brother), and finally Tris herself. The main message coming from Roth seems to be that once a female character has a position of power she must give it up, like Evelyn, and sit ideally by, or die by bullet. I would have loved to see Johanna Reyes have a chance to become a main character, but her story was always overshadowed, first by Marcuss involvement and then the disbanding of their revolution and world. In Roths Divergent trilogy the primary source of movement throughout the books is violence and revolution. There is nothing else pulling the story forward until the epilogue, at which point its too late. The epilogue feels more like a consolation prize, that maybe the world can change to become a better place but not until everything has been soaked with blood and death, exhausting the extent of Roth's writing ability.