My Review Breakdown:
TOTAL SCORE: 18/25
STORY/PLOT: The story line is similar to other YA dystopian titles currently on the market; however Roth keeps it unique enough to stand in it's own spotlight without blending in and getting lost in the crowd. This is always the hardest part of my review to write because I don't want to just summarize the book - you can do that on your own at Goodreads. Plus, even though I like to write "may contain spoilers" at the top, that doesn't stop everyone (Not even me, when I see it on other people's reviews!) and I don't want to single-handedly ruin it for anyone. So, I try to be vague and say what worked and what didn't, but even that sometimes is difficult.
The idea of dystopian Chicago being split into five factions depending on your personal morals and beliefs is a bit far-fetched, but works itself well enough into the story. The first half of the book has a lot going on - setting up the plot for the series - but there's a lot of information that you need to retain. If you are like me you might read through it too quickly because it lags a bit, and then end up wanting to reread it right away because the last half of the book is so kick-@$$.
Along the lines you'll grow to love and hate (and wonder what the H-E-double hockey sticks Tris is thinking!) characters, and miss some - since it's a nice change of pace that Roth follows in JK Rowling's footsteps and takes risks by killing off characters (even by Tris's own hands!) Is this the most amazing or original or heart-pounding of dystopian stories? Maybe, maybe not, but it was enough for me because I lurved this book!
"A brave man acknowledges the strength of others."
"I am selfish. I am brave."
"Then I realize what it is. It's him. Something about him makes me feel like I am about to fall. Or turn to liquid. Or burst into flames."
"We kiss again and this time, it feels familiar. I know exactly how we fit together, his arm around my waist, my hands on his chest, the pressure of his lips on mine. We have each other memorized."
CHARACTERS: One thing that Roth nails perfectly is characterization and individuality. There are a lot of characters in the book, but each is their own person and they all stand apart without losing who they are. Tris is a wonderful character overall, and while at first I was like, "Ok, how can someone be one person and totally change and become someone else instantly?" but then I realized that Tris was always a part of Beatrice, but she wasn't allowed out. While Tris doesn't embody every pleasurable, or desirable personality traits, she is herself; she is who she is supposed to be. Tris completely grows, and changes, and adapts throughout the book. She is definitely one of my favorite heroines.
Once I got past the name, Four became one of my biggest character-crushes. He's so sweet, and loving and yummy!
WRITING: Roth's writing style is easy and straight-forward, but not juvenile and doesn't lag too badly, though the beginning of the book started off slowly for me, and I feel like I missed some of the book and want to go reread it immediately. She wonderfully portrays her characters, and she is great at visualization because I was having dreams last night about Tris and Four's fear landscapes! I can easily see this series becoming a movie.
ENDING: The ending is okay, no gigantic cliff-hanger where you want to scream and yell and freak out and throw the book because you have to wait almost six more months for the sequel; but it definitely leaves you wanting more. I had mixed emotions at the end because Roth punches you with violence, death, heartbreak, and love all in the last hundred pages. I didn't want to write the review right after finishing the book because I needed to let my brain process it all first.
COVER: Simple, but pleasing to the eye. The Divergent emblem over the Chicago skyline. It works.
FINAL THOUGHTS: If you are into what I like to call "Roller Coaster Books" - meaning your emotions are up and down the whole time - and you enjoy dystopian, futuristic books mingled with romance, action, and a side dish of betrayal, backstabbing, and jealousy then you need to read this book!