Divergent is the first in a series by Veronica Roth.
This is not a new novel… in fact, the first of the movie series came out in 2014, I believe… so the books were out well before that. It’s a Young Adult series that’s full of action. Similar in style to the Hunger Games.
I happened to watch the movies for the first time, and enjoyed them so much, I needed to read the books, and devoured the first book, Divergent, in 3 days.
Not gonna lie, it’s pretty easy to read a book after you’ve watched the movie. Even with the differences, and there are many, it’s easier to follow along with a story when you know what’s about to happen.
For those who haven’t read the books or seen the movies, I’ll explain briefly.
The World of Divergent
After some apocalypse that takes out the majority of the world (we think), a wall is built around Chicago and the survivors are divided into 5 factions: Abnegation (selfless), Amity (peaceful), Candor (honest), Dauntless (brave), and Erudite (intelligent). No one has been outside the wall in hundreds of years.
The novel follows Beatrice Prior, a 16-year-old girl who raised in Abnegation but now has to choose her faction. Before the Choosing Ceremony, each 16-year-old is tested with a simulation to provide guidance on which faction to choose, however Beatrice’s results are inconclusive.
Inconclusive test results are labelled “Divergent”, a rare occurrence that is hugely frowned upon and will no doubt lead to death (as in murder). Beatrice is told to keep this a secret, stay under the radar, and her results would be fudged to look like Abnegation, so she can stay with her family.
Beatrice is conflicted, and ultimately decides Dauntless, putting herself at immediate risk – one of being discovered as Divergent, or two, not making it through the Dauntless initiation period and ending up factionless.
Should You Read or Watch Divergent?
Alright, up to this point the movie and the book run in parallel with little to no differences. What I liked more about the book is that you see Beatrice’s thought process. She’s conflicted about her brother, who so far appears a lot nicer in the book than the movie.
The initiation process is a little different from book to movie, and the character “Four” has a secret that comes out later in the series, but is spelled out pretty clearly halfway through the book.
Other than that, I’d say it doesn’t matter which order you choose to read/watch first. Book or movie, both are good, and similar enough that I’d recommend either.
I feel very differently about the second book in the series, Insurgent – but that will come in a future review!
If you’ve read Divergent, or any other novel by Veronica Roth, I’d love to hear your opinion in the Facebook group!