Divergent - Veronica Roth [Divergent]
Originally Reviewed: January 27, 2014
Look, just being honest, this one struck me as a very mediocre book. The synopsis was engaging, had me intrigued and I debated a long time before finally purchasing because I'm not typically a fan of YA fiction (which this strikes me as).
With that out of the way, I do have to applaud Roth on her imagination. It's something I'm seeing a lot these days - authors with a lot of imagination, a lot of great ideas, but lacking either the technical skill or the time to really do them justice. Roth, unfortunately, falls into this category for me.
The idea of factions is reminiscent of old-school India (and I only say that because I'm not as familiar with the cultural arrangements of modern India as I am with the historical). A few of the classes in the book escape me, but the correlations that stand out to me the most are Brahmin/Abnegation (responsible for the "morality" of the people), Kshatriya/Dauntless (the warriors), and the Untouchables/Factionless (the ones who live separate from society and have the really crappy jobs).
Implementing this kind of a system into a modern setting, very possibly in the US itself, is... sobering. The thought that a society would become so self-destructive that they would turn to a caste-like system in order to save themselves, where there is a LARGE gap between factions (socially speaking, at least) and families can be torn apart just by where interests lay... it's a bleak picture of the world in deed, and Roth does a great job of illustrating it.
With an engaging premise and a solid world to build on, I was genuinely hopeful I wouldn't be disappointed by the characters... but I was. (To be fair, this is where I am usually let down the most in a book). This is also usually why I stay away from YA reads, as due to both the age of the main characters and the age of the intended reader, things are not nearly as developed as I prefer.
For a YA read, this would more than likely be one of the more superior reads available these days. From a book fiend who has read everything from Jane Eyre at age 12 to Harry Potter at age 25, it just doesn't measure up.