I don't think I can describe my emotions right now. There's too much that I'm feeling, too much that I'm still reeling from--too much that happened, and too much I'm looking forward to, wondering about now. About the things that have to come, about the things that are coming out in just one day now. (May 1st, 2012 is Insurgent's release date--the sequel to this book.)
I want to say just one thing right now for anyone who wants to know if this book was any good at all, before I say anything else.
Because this book. This book... is worth it.
I'm buying it, and along with it, all the books that follow it. I will see this series through to the end, because it's that delicious! It's well-written, gripping, thrilling, and delightfully involving! I... can't find the words right now, so I'll just go into the regular evaluation.
Writing - 5 out of 5
It absolutely is flawless. Both fluid and poignant, Veronica Roth knows how to write a book that will grip you from the get-go and then send you out whirling forward at breakneck speeds. All her environments unfold naturally, giving the imagination free reign once the basics are fleshed out; the action sequences are easy to follow; the feelings and motivations of the characters have their own dynamics--you never quite know what's underneath the surface of anything going on, or what someone does. That makes them real. It's a fantastic way to write, and it makes for an absolutely breathless ride as you read. I finished most of the book within a day it was that good, but also that well written. Biiiiig thumbs up there!
Setting/World - 4 out of 5
There's a lot you don't know about this world, and that's the sole reason that this category gets a four out of five for me. However, it's not a bad thing that we don't know a lot about it. For this dystopian world, where five factions coexist to create harmony and peace, we live on a very strictly "need-to-know" basis, and half the time, you know a lot less than what you assume they'd tell you. But~ That's half the thrill of it! You're being catapulted--almost literally--into a world where after the initial couple of chapters, everything shoots forward like a rocket, and things fall off the side as you pummel forward, but you can't stop--otherwise: You're dead. Because that fall to earth is a lot faster than you think it is. There are many ways to die in this world. But there are also many ways to live. And if there's one thing Veronica Roth gives you, it's a way to live. She really gives you something worth fighting for--something worth doing. She makes this world real, from the nitty-gritty to the epic and profound. It's reality, baby. And it's got an invitation written out straight for you there--it's called the book, Divergent, and if I were you, I'd pick it up right now and start reading it right away. Because you're not gonna regret it. Not... one... bit.
Story - 5 out of 5
Can I just say, "I love you, Veronica Roth!"? Let me go back to the beginning, before I read this book. I knew nothing about it. I had no expectations, and no idea what I was getting myself into. My best friend, Rain Misoa, gave me a Microsoft Word document to read over that she had customized for herself which basically explained the Five Factions in the world of the book. At the top it read:
Make Your Choice
"More than family, our factions are where we belong. In our factions, we find meaning, we find purpose, we find life." — DIVERGENT
Below it had the symbols of each faction listed.
Abnegation: The Selfless
Dauntless: The Brave
Erudite: The Intelligent
Amity: The Peaceful
Candor: The Honest
Beneath it gave out each faction's manifesto, what they believed in, how they lived, what they strove for above all else. Reading those manifestos through for the first time, I turned to my friend and my first comment was: "...this sounds like she put a lot of thought into it."
...when you read this, you know that she has. Everything is solid, filled with magnificence and believability. I can't begin to express the emotions that this story took me through. It started off with interest and caution, then it rose into anticipation, and then--it shocked you, thrilled you, my God you were flying!!! You were rushing, chasing, running at the utmost! Whirling into danger and threat and wonder and beauty! It was freedom! It...! Was...! Freeeeeedoooooom! You wanted to scream and sing and jump and whirl and dance it was so incredible! You were FREE! You were FREE!
And then things got rough, and you realized that there was so much you had just gotten yourself into. At every new turn there was another fight, and another battle. A new challenge was in everything and in everyone around you. Friends? Rivals? Who was who? You had to live for yourself. You had to survive. You wanted to survive. Could you? And then things built up, and you... you had no idea what you were getting yourself into when you chose this. Now, you're in it. Live. You've gotta fight to live.
And the world falls into darkness. All that glory rolls back and you see how serious things are. You see how much danger not just you are, but how much danger there is everywhere.
If it sounds like you're typical dystopian, trust me, it's just the genre specifics. But in the end, it's a good dystopian. You want to read something that's the epitome of dystopian books at their best, you read Divergent.
Main Character - 5 out of 5
How long has it been since I've seen a truly STRONG female lead?! I feel like they grow rarer and rarer. Finding one that's legitimately strong, and doesn't bullshit it and spend every waking moment throwing herself a pity-party or slobbering over some guy like he's the last bone she can bang is ridiculously impossible today.
That's not the case with Beatrice. I know, Beatrice, right? Who the heck would have thought of that name for a kickass female lead? And oh trust me, she is kickass. She not only proves the title, she earns it in this book. And there's no one else I would trust more in this bookworld than this girl. She's tough! She's incredibly tough! She can be hurt, and she can fail--and she does so, fairly often. Because that's the nature of this world and the choice that she made. But maaaan, with the way she stands back up, spits back every comment in others' faces, doesn't back down, and throws herself into things--challenging herself and her fears, overcoming them to become strong; physically, emotionally, and mentally strong!--she's... absolutely breathtaking. And I can boldly, proudly proclaim that I love her. I love her so much! As a female character, she's brilliant! She is epic. I cannot get enough of her.
Beatrice is one of the most believable characters in a dystopian. Because she doesn't get blasted away in whatever direction the wind blows whenever something goes down. She has her own beliefs and her own prejudices. She has a personality that doesn't falter, and she even surprises me with the choices she makes a lot of the time. This is a girl that has her own mind. You can't always figure her out. That means she's a character all her own.
Veronica Roth is an amazing writer to have raised this character into a woman so fine and capable. You should be very proud of your creation, Veronica. Because she's an inspiration, and she makes a girl feel like she really can do anything. Like she can be anybody. Like nothing's impossible. I love that about Beatrice. In a way, reading her story, made me feel free inside myself. Like I've been holding back who I really am for so long, and after getting to read Beatrice's story, I was finally able to face the fact that I was holding that true self back. So... thank you, Veronica Roth. For making a character that I could relate to, but who I could also aspire to.
Side Characters - 5 out of 5
What a diverse batch! Some of them you love~ Some of them are pricks that can be cruel as hell and need to DIE. Like, POSTHASTE. Others are weird and intimidating. Then there are some that you just like even though they're only in there every so often. But the one thing that shines about all the side characters, is that they're real. From their origins to their motivations, you have only so much knowledge about what each of them is after, how they want to live their lives, and what makes them tick. They're not open books. You can't read them or figure out what role they're going to play just from the first meeting. None of them fit cleanly into any mold. And that's a rare trait to find in any character. But it's especially unusual in side characters.
I won't go into details about each character. Suffice it to say that I enjoy them all so much for their authenticity that even the "bad" guys are characters I look forward to seeing. They're all so legitimately human and unpredictable--always taking steps far further than what you would have expected--that you've got to at least give them credit for being original. Even the characters that I loathe are well written. That is worth the praising.
My Final Rating for this book is an almost perfect 5 out of 5, with a 4.8 average rating.
A Word to the Author
Veronica Roth, I've been praising you from beginning to end, and I'm going to do it again. You did, a fantastic job. I absolutely am enamored with you for it. Thank you, for giving me respect for writers again. Especially today's writers, in these popular genres. Your attention to detail, making each character important and unique, has made this world all the more engaging and fantastic. I cannot wait to read your next book, and I wish you the very best with this series, and all that you write in the future.
And the fact that this is your first book! ...that's quite the foot to start off on, my dear. In your work, I can see the same thought and adamant fire, the drive and passion for a great story that many of the greatest writers have. You are stepping into the world of literature amongst the highest. Because your work, and your talent, has given you a chance to be noble in this world, worth the respect you're given. I hope it secures you, deep down inside, and makes you realize how much we love your work. You far surpass the majority of the writers of today. And I hope you continue only to get better and better.
I'm trusting you in this. I'm trusting you with this world you introduced us to, and these characters that you've given to us to share in, and to love. I believe in you. So...
Knock their socks off. (But I don't need to tell you that, do I? Because you already made me lose mine. )
Advice on Reading: Whether you're more comfortable in taking a book out of the library first or not, my advice is this, and it is rare for me to give it: Buy this book. I can almost guarantee you will love it. It's got a bit of everything in it for everyone. But the best part is that it's good writing, good story, good setting, FANTASTIC characters--and that's the formula for a good book. You must try this book out. Absolutely must. I don't care how you get your hands on it, but get it. Because this one? Is one you're not gonna wanna miss.
I guarantee it.