Divergent (Divergent, #1)Divergent by Veronica Roth

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Unusually I broke my general rule of not reading books that I’ve seen the movie of first. I saw Divergent on DVD over the Christmas break, and while I sort of enjoyed it I also picked some holes in it. The person that had brought the DVD told me that the book was better, and when I saw it advertised cheaper in paperback than on kindle I thought I’d give it a try.

I wasn’t disappointed. Almost all of the things that had jarred with the movie were addressed properly in the book. The world built for the story makes more sense in the book than it does in the movie, largely because the movie needs to edit out some of the parts. That said there are still holes, like for example the Dauntless faction only taking ten new members annually, they’d need way more than that for the jobs they cover and the wastage rates they must have given their recklessness.

However, none of this gets in the way of a good story. I could empathise with both Tris and Four, and arithmetic aside I could get a society that worked on these lines. The flaws you can see when it is first described are the very things that the plot hangs on. The people are more than the stereotypes projected by the factions, helped by the primary group being transferees between factions, so they all have aspects of more than one. Also our divergent main character doesn’t fit the pigeonhole.

Even if you hadnt seen the movie before reading it there are clues scattered through the story about what happens next and how it happens. For the most part they aren’t obvious, although where they are it helps to build tension as you can’t be sure exactly how it is going to work. The style is good too, the words are an easy read and they explain background in a way that drives the plot forward without indulging in data dumps.

Well worth reading.

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