Book Nook: Divergent
Wednesday, February 08, 2012
So, I have something to admit, and it's a little shameful. I have always been a hard-copy loving book snob, one who looked down her nose at e readers and the like because I love the idea of a giant library, and the smell of books, and on and on. (I'm nearly positive I gave my roommate Kara a small heart attack when I hauled all 15 boxes of my books into our apartment this year.) Living in an apartment is tough enough space-wise, so it became pretty evident that something was going to have to be done about my book buying obsession. For years now, my dad, (Big Al,) has been singing the praises of his iPad, but being the literary snob I occasionally am, I've stubbornly ignored him and kept reading, (and hauling around,) my giant books.
Then I got one for Christmas.
I'm kinda obsessed.
This isn't to say that I don't still completely love books, and I TOTALLY still want a ridic library in my future home, (just look at my pinterest and you know this,) HOWEVER... the iPad rocks. They should pay me for the endorsements I've been giving them to everyone I know since Christmas. I've always been a pretty speedy reader before, but now I FLY through books. I've read 7 in two weeks. (Okay okay 3 were smutty romance novels, but the others were legit!) On top of all that, it's so easy to carry around, has apps for EVERYTHING, (including blogging,) and has saved tons of trees from becoming the stack of magazines on my closet floor. I'm a convert.
Whew. Feels good to get that off my chest.
With that being said, I've been reading so many books that I'm currently writing something like 4 book nook posts in a row to be released over the next couple of weeks. Now you can't all be mad at me because I did so few...they're coming!!
I'm going to start off this dileuge of book reviews with a new trilogy from Veronica Roth entitled Divergent. I've always been a big fan of dystopian fiction , (The Giver is my all time favorite book and I was mildly obsessed with the Hunger Games trilogy,) and I won't hesitate to say that if the rest of this trilogy is half as good as it's first installment, it's going to be EPIC. Though I was a little wary at first when I saw the cover, (it is eerily reminiscent of the early Hunger Games movie posters,) I'm happy to say that it strays away from any similarities quickly and becomes an engrossing read.
In Divergent, Beatrice Prior is a sixteen year old girl living in a post-apocalyptic Chicago, in which society has been split into five 'factions' which uphold and live by a core value system. These five factions are composed of: Candor, those who vow to speak their mind and live by truth, Erudite, those who thirst for knowledge, Abnegation, those who live selflessly and to serve others first, Amity, those who believe in peace at all costs, and Dauntless, those who are courageous and strong. On an appointed day every year, all sixteen year old's take exams to determine their strengths and must select the faction in which they will dedicate their lives. Though born into Abnegation, Beatrice struggles between making the choice between her family and where she feels she truly belongs.
On the day of testing, Beatrice learns that she falls into a dangerous subset of the population, Divergent, in which she displays dominant traits not only in Abnegation, but Erudite and Dauntless as well. When the time comes for her to choose her path, Beatrice makes the decision to leave her family and become connected with the wild an brave clan of Dauntless, a choice that shocks and betrays her family. Divergent follows Beatrice as she learns that the choice to join the Dauntless will lead her through a brutal initiation before becoming a full member of the clan of which only 10 spots are available, and that danger is brewing amongst all of the factions. Not only must Beatrice battle for her new lifestyle, but she must learn what it truly means to be a Divergent.
As her debut novel, I really felt that Roth, (who is only 23, impressive) did a rather masterful job of sidestepping many of the pitfalls that are made by the most recent flood of dystopian novels following the Hunger Games. Though I remain a pretty devout fan of HG, I felt that Collins really dropped the ball in further developing the character of Katniss throughout the second and especially third installments of the series. While many of these novels create a protagonist who is irritatingly unflawed, in Beatrice we see an often selfish and manipulative young girl who from the beginning has struggled with the good and selfless traits often associated with that of Abnegation. She's a refreshing take on what can often be a goody-two-shoes female role. Also, I really dug that Beatrice wasn't necessarily a star fighter, the girl really gets the you-know-what kicked out of her, and she has to really work at getting stronger and faster in order to survive. Roth also isn't afraid to shake things up, and doesn't hold back in the shocking deaths of more than a few surprise characters. Homegirl means business.
All in all, Divergent is one of those can't-put-it-down reads, I won't even lie that I stayed up half the night to finish all 500 pages in a day and a half, (and probably looked the part the next day at work.) I'm SO excited to see what Roth has in store for us and Tris in book two Insurgent, due out May 1st. Do yourself a favor and GO READ THIS BOOK.