Book Bash #2: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Julia Rusinski and Maggie McNeil

Hello and welcome to the second installment of Book Bash! 

This is a spoiler review of the book Divergent – read at your own discretion, as major plot spoilers for the book and movie are given.


  1. PLOT


Divergent didn’t stink. Would I say that it’s my most favorite book ever? Definitely not. However, it’s quite a far stretch to say it is the worst.

Now, I know by now everyone and their grandma has read this book, but for the sake of the few of you who haven’t read it yet, I’ll give a little plot summary. So, there’s this girl named Tris who lives in a future where you live in “factions” based upon your values. She was born into Abnegation, who value selflessness, but when she takes a test to see which faction she should be in, she ends up being classified as “Divergent.” Divergents are people that fit into more than one category. On top of that, she is told that being Divergent is very dangerous, and she can’t tell anyone about it, though it’s not explicitly stated why (understandably, to add a bit of that mystery element that makes a book actually readable in the first place). So, obviously, Tris is pretty shook, and, to fit with her super rebellious result, she chooses the most rebellious faction – the Dauntless, who value courage.

This is as good a setup as any for a novel, with the reader undoubtedly having questions such as, “Why are there factions?” and, “Why is being Divergent such a bad thing in this society?” just to name a few. But sticking specifically to Tris’s story, the plot does not fail to impress. There’s never a dull moment, between Tris struggling to keep her dangerous identity a secret and dealing with the prejudice other Dauntless members had against her because she was a former member of Abnegation. The part of the book that takes the cake, however, is the end of the book, where all of the Dauntless are put under mind control and are forced to kill every last member of Abnegation, and it’s up to Tris, who isn’t affected because of her Divergence, to save her old faction. During that entire chunk of the book, I sat on the edge of my seat, wondering if Tris would be able to stop the mind control over the Dauntless and save everyone from getting hurt. Overall, the plot is more than sufficient to keep you hooked, from beginning all the way to the final page. Now, let’s hear the *incorrect* opinion.



Um, my opinion is never incorrect and it especially isn’t today because I generally agree with Julia. The plot to Divergent wasn’t terrible; it was fairly entertaining.

In the book’s dystopian world, people are organized into factions depending on their personality type. When you turn 16, you go through an aptitude test set up as a simulation to see which faction you rightfully belong to. After this you can choose your new faction at the choosing ceremony and forever leave your old faction, or stay if you decide to do so. Tris, the special snowflake that she is, tests for Divergence and chooses to leave Abnegation for Dauntless. To become a super cool brave Dauntless recruit, Tris has to go through various tests and obstacles. After being the first one to jump off the roof (the recruits’ first challenge), Tris thinks she’s the best of the best. When she gets helped off the net that broke her fall, she sees a glorious piece of man meat and we all know it’s meant to be. Then the rest of the book is about our super-special snowflake Tris trying to become a Dauntless and then later ending up thwarting an giant evil plot to wipe out Abnegation and do a lot of other bad stuff that I won’t get into now because, you know, spoilers.




The thing I’ll applaud this book the most for is this: there’s no unnecessary love triangle. That’s right, folks, the first immensely popular YA book where the female main character isn’t interested in two equally bland male characters in a horribly forced romance subplot. Instead, Tris has got the hots for one mysterious Dauntless dude who calls himself Four. Four and Tris pretty much hit it off from the moment he catches her after she jumped off the building into the Dauntless compound for initiation, and it seems like it’s all uphill from there…until Four is put under  mind control along with all of the other Dauntless and Tris is faced with the mind-boggling idea that she may have to kill her “One True Love” in order to save her birth faction.

That’s another thing I like about this particular romantic subplot: it’s not all “oh, he’s my battle partner and we smash in baddie’s heads as we tell each other we love each other.” It’s “oh dear, you’re the baddie and I may need to smash your head in.” It’s a sort of moral dilemma that I don’t see too commonly in books, one that makes you think like the character facing the decision. Of course, our dear divergent Tris weasels her way out of this one through the power of LOVE, snaps Four out of the trance, and manages to stop the mind control. I mean, she’d already watched both of her parents die in front of her and had to kill one of her friends before he mindlessly killed her, so I guess the author wanted to cut poor Tris a break by making her boyfriend a weak-minded fool. How nice of her.



The love story in this book was stupid, weird, and slightly creepy.

Four (who is quite touchy with sharing his real name, by the way) is an emotionless robot, who, for some strange reason, falls in love with one of the initiates he trains (that’s our little special snowflake for the win). Four is 18, two years older than 16-year-old Tris, and, surprisingly, comes from the same faction as Tris (again, he’s touchy, but it’s okay because he has some pretty severe daddy issues). Anyway, out of the fifty, forty, whatever amount of trainees he has, he somehow takes a special interest in Tris and tries to help her whenever he can. So after Four beats the crap of a few guys who try to kill her in the dead of night (it was a pretty intense competition, man), sparks fly between the two and BOOM- instant love, despite the lack of signs of actual emotion for each other. 




On the rating scale of main characters and how much I enjoyed reading about them, I’d say Tris fell on a solid 7/10, though that rapidly declined throughout the following books, Insurgent and Allegiant. But that’s a rant for another time.

In Divergent, Tris is pretty good. She’s got a few layers that you can try and pull back and analyze if you so wish it (and I’m the type of person who usually looks out for that type of English class analysis), which makes her a fun character to read about and see develop. She’s got all the makings of that perfect YA main character: she’s brave and a good shot, with a few enemies who are bent on seeing her fall. Between all of that, her struggle to fit in with any faction she tries to be a part of, and her realistic sense of grief over the people she was forced to kill during the Dauntless invasion on Abnegation, Tris makes for an interesting read.

My one complaint would be her under-reaction when her parents died, but I understand it– she had other people to save, so she couldn’t be moping about her parents while the rest of Abnegation was being shot in the street for no good reason. Sometimes you just have to bandage a wound up before you let all of the blood flow, because if you don’t, you’ll have no blood and you’ll be dead.



Tris….what can I say about that snowflake. Overall, I think our dear friend was kind of disappointing in the kick-butt heroine aspect. Although she leads the charge to save the day at the end, she is constantly in need of saving throughout the book (by her boy toy Four). In addition, our dear Beatrice (Tris is just a nickname) has a little problem with self-image due to the whole “not looking in mirrors” rule from her former faction. She’s always commenting on how someone’s prettier than her or the current pathetic state of her body compared to others’, not to mention her habit for self-sacrifice at every chance she gets (it’s like she WANTS to die, honestly).

In the end, Tris wasn’t a bad character, she was just a semi-annoying, boring one.



Julia: I’d give this book a solid 4/5 stars. I’d recommend it to someone if, by some wild twist, they’d never read it before.

Maggie: I would give this book a similar rating of 3/5 stars. It was decent at best.