Book Review: Divergent (Veronica Roth)

Divergent

Plot: In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Rating: 8/10

The Divergent series has been giving me the eye for a while now. You know, that WHY AREN’T YOU RE-READING ME look. Zoë got me the entire set for Christmas (was it last year or the year before, bestie? #oldage #quarterchickens) and I’ve been itching for a while now.

I really like this book. I have some issues with the second and third books, but it is a good concept, great layout and well written especially if you take into account that this is Roth’s first major book series. I like Tris Prior a lot more than Katniss Everdeen (book version), I won’t even lie. She is much less selfish and brattish. I also really like that this isn’t your average love triangle dilemma. It is Four for Tris from the start and she’s not even looking at someone else. I liked both male and female characters and thought Tris developed quite well from the shy Abnegation girl to the girl who came first in Dauntless initiation. I enjoyed the Faction idea wand how everyone had to choose what quality they wanted to develop in themselves. I really like the buildup of the romance of Tris and Four. It is barely noticeable at first but progresses well and eventually you just want them to kiss and be done with all this sexual tension. Really now! The antagonists were despicable – Eric with his meticulous cruelty, Peter being such an atrocious arse, Al with his weak character, spineless personality. I wish they had spent more time on Will and Christina and developed their characters – they were interesting and could have been integral to the story.

If you haven’t read these yet, and enjoy Dystopian novels, you should definitely give it a try! 🙂

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Movie Review: Divergent (2014)

Divergent

Plot

After years of war and discord, Chicago closed itself off from the outside dangers and divided its society into five factions – each faction representing and developing characteristics needed to make society successful. Abnegation lead the government because they were selfless and that is an important part in leadership, Amity farmed and they were the lovers of peace, Candor told the truth, Erudite were the intelligent part and found resources to keep people safe and healthy and the Dauntless were the brave upholding the law and protecting the citizens.

Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley) lives with her parents Andrew (Tony Goldwyn) and Natalie (Ashley Judd) and her brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort) in Abnegation. The year a teenager turns sixteen they have to undertake a test to establish which faction they are most likely to succeed in but it is made clear that the choice remains with them and that they can choose.

Beatrice tests with a Dauntless woman named Tori (Maggie Q). Her results are inconclusive, and Tori tells Beatrice that it means she is Divergent – something that makes her not easy to control and will cause her death. She tells Beatrice to pretend she was sick and not tell anyone her results.

That night at dinner their parents tell them that the Erudite, led by Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet) is spreading lies about the Abnegation because she wants to control Chicago. One of the stories she is spreading is that one of the Abnegation leaders, Marcus Eaton (Ray Stevenson) abused his son Tobias and that is the reason Tobias defected from his faction when he had the option.

The next day is the choosing ceremony and Caleb defects towards Erudite and although Beatrice intends to choose Abnegation she chooses the Dauntless faction she’s always admired from afar. Beatrice meets her fellow initiates, Christina (Zoe Kravitz) and Al (Christian Madsenn) who defected from Candor and Will (Ben Loyd-Hughes), an Erudite transfer. The new initiates are immediately put to the test when they have to board a train running at full speed. When they arrive at the Dauntless compound they are introduced to Eric (Jai Courtney), a young and brutal Dauntless leader. He tells them they need to jump into a dark pit to get to the compound and if they don’t they have failed their first test and will become Factionless, homeless beggars who belong to no faction and is the outcasts of their society. Tris volunteers to jump first and is helped from the net she lands in by Four (Theo James), the initiates instructor. Beatrice introduces herself as Tris when Four asks her name.

Eric tells the Dauntless initiates that there are only space for a certain number and that the weakest will become Factionless. As training starts, Tris knows that she will be thrown out if she doesn’t improve. She gets her ass kicked by Molly, a girl nearly twice her size. She slowly improves until a fight with Peter (Miles Tanner) an Erudite transfer who mocked her from day one. She is beaten unconscious and is hospitalized. Christina and Will visit her in hospital and tell her that Eric wants her thrown out. Determined, she chases after the train leaving with the initiates and helps win a capture-the-flag game. Her standing increases but she is still below the line but it is undeniable that she is getting better. Four also gives her a few tips and becomes kinder than what he initially seemed.

Tris makes the bar and is allowed to progress into the second stage of training but she and Al, her friend, are in the bottom spots so they are obviously competing against each other. The next phase of training is simulations where initiates experience their worst fears. Tris’ divergence makes her realise simulations aren’t real and she is able to exit her dreams in record time. Four is testing Tris and notices her secret. He warns her to conceal her secret and to exit her fear landscape the way Dauntless would – by finding a way to protect themselves and thus waking up.

Tris is terrified that she will die because of her divergence and goes to see her brother at the Erudite compound. He tells her that Erudite is planning to overthrow the Abnegation for leadership of their society. She is angry with him because she sees it as betrayal against their parents. On her way out she meets Jeanine Matthews again and Jeanine wants reassurance that Tris is truly Dauntless and that Tris will follow orders like a Dauntless soldier, even if it means hurting someone you love. Tris manages to lie herself out of it and can leave the Erudite compound safely.

Back at the Dauntless compound Tris is attacked and taken to the chasm where her assailants want to throw her off. Due to her training she puts up a massive fight but is still overpowered. She pulls a mask off one of the people and it is her alleged friend Al. Four arrives and saves Tris from death. She spends the night in Four’s room where he sleeps on the floor.

The next day Al begs Tris for forgiveness but she refuses and orders him to stay away from her. Later that day they pull Al’s body from the chasm where he committed suicide. Tris is devastated but Four tells her that fear makes people like Al weak and do crazy things and that his death wasn’t her fault. He tells her that he will help her survive her final test by taking her into his fear landscape and teaching her how to act Dauntless instead of Divergent.

In Four’s fear landscape she realises crucial points to Four’s characters. He is named Four because he has only ever had four fears: the fear of heights, confinement, his father and killing innocents. Four is revealed to be Marcus Eaton’s son, Tobias, the son that allegedly (and truthfully) left Abnegation to flee his abusive father. After they wake up they admit their feelings and kiss and Tris tells Four that she wants to take it slow. Four shows her the Erudite at their compound busy with some secret meetings with the Dauntless leaders.

The day of her final test Tris passes with flying colours and she is initiated without anyone suspecting her secret. Eric injects her with a tracking serum and she is uncomfortable with it. The serum turns out to be mind control serum, manipulating the Dauntless to attack the Abnegation. Divergent people are unaffected and Tris blends in because not doing so means certain death. On the way to Abnegation, Tris finds Four and when he touches her hand she realises that he too is Divergent.

At Abnegation, Tris and Four is walking with the controlled Dauntless when Eric spots them. A twitch in Four’s eye is all it takes to reveal their secret and they are taken captive. Jeanine orders Four to come with her but Tris to be executed. Tris’s mother shows up and takes her to safety but is killed along the way.

What happened to Four? Will Tris ever see him again? Will the Dauntless wipe out Abnegation? Can Jeanine Matthews be stopped? What does open war mean to their fragile society?

Rating: 6.5/10

Divergent could have been way more than what they came up with. It wasn’t that bad, but I think you would be very confused if you didn’t read the book. I loved the casting on the film and the special effects and the chemistry between Tris and Four and how dangerous Eric looked, and compared to the other book to movie adaption I’ve seen this year, Vampire Academy, it is a raging success. If you forgot what I thought about that, go read it here.

The movie didn’t feel rushed at all, and I’m sure they were dedicated to producing a loyal adaption. It followed script well and didn’t go overboard. I didn’t wish for it to end quickly or wondered why the fighting scenes were taking so long.

Why didn’t I grade it higher then, you ask? I felt it lacked emotion. I didn’t feel drawn to the characters as much I did in the books and there were critically few times that I was attached. The scene where Tris holds her dead mother was brilliantly done. I think there Shailene Woodley showed her star power and it gives a glimmer of hope that the sequels can be much better.

I really liked the Ferris Wheel scene and how fearless Tris came through. I loved Four’s bafflement with her terrifying lack of fear. The knife throwing scene? It was okay. Not so much came through the way I wanted it to but it didn’t deviate from the book.

Al’s weakness and Peter’s reproachable personality should have been given more screen time. Do the readers of Divergent remember Al crying him to sleep at night? I do, and I think it shows exactly how he didn’t fit into the Dauntless crowd.

I am not getting into the big Is Hunger Games better or is Divergent better debate because for me they are both exceptional ideas. The storylines are only similar in the fact that it is in the same genre. Veronica Roth is my hero for not taking some of Suzanne Collins’s ideas and tweaking it just enough to not become a law suit. I will make my point that I like the Divergent series, as books, more, but that the Hunger Games movies far outstrip the Divergent adaption.

What I liked

The casting of Tris, Four and Eric. They were AMAZING

Tris Prior/Shailene Woodley

I think this will be the year of Shailene Woodley. She is an amazing actress. She was so good as Tris. I think she was perfectly cast and deserves praise.

Eric/Jay Courtenay.

How absolutely cool was he? I admit that he was a bit under pierced and under tattooed but he came across as slightly flamboyant but still such a douche bag. He did a good job in keeping it secret if he is evil or just a plain assface. Also, I found him ridiculously sexy for some demented reason. Who else thinks he looks a bit like Macklemore?

Four/Theo James.

I have some issues how they didn’t fully developed the character. Four is a messed up guy who was beaten by his extremist father, escaped to the most notorious faction and gained respect there, and they just didn’t show that as well as they should have. Theo James was rocking it. He is ridiculously sexy but not a pretty boy and I found his attitude spot on. I loved the bluntness between him and Tris and how she didn’t mind putting him in his place when he deserved it.

The choosing ceremony I really liked. I liked the imagery of how perfectly divided the factions sit and how they are separated but functioning in society.

Kate Winslet as Jeanine Mathews. Well cast but I disagree with the amount of show time she got because she isn’t so present in the first book.

How the Dauntless were portrayed. They looked so fun loving and fearless and free.

The movie didn’t feel stretched (major points) no plots were changed and the fight scenes didn’t drag on until eternity.

Four’s tattoos looked amazing.

Ashley Judd as Tris’ mom worked well. She fitted into the plain beauty of the Abnegation.

The chemistry between Tris and Four is off the charts. Something that puts Divergent just a bit ahead of Hunger Games that Tris and Four is the only two people in the relationship and that there is never any triangle of any sort.

What I didn’t like

The plenty of screen time Jeanine Matthews got but there was no time to include crucial plot lines like how bad Peter really was, Al’s cowardness and all Four’s little tantrums and everything. I get that they wanted to include the star power Kate Winslet has but I think it is more important that viewers know what is going to happen later on in the sequels.

Molly (Amy Newbold) is always an enemy, not a respected rival.

Peter never got his ass handed back to him.

Soundtrack didn’t work with the movie material.

I felt a lack of emotion coming through. I expected to be enthralled by the movie but sometimes thought about other stuff in between. It wasn’t that gripping and I thought.

Compared to Captain America: Winter Soldier (Yes I know the vast difference between the two stories) if I had to choose I would go watch CA again. That movie really made me feel something and apart from Tris and Four kissing (hot stuff) and Tris sobbing against her mother’s dead body I didn’t really connect with the characters.

Have you seen Divergent? What did you think?

5 Things Friday: Five things that makes me happy right now

BonesSumWhole

I’ve had an awful week at work, and I had a number of ideas for this post today: things that makes South-Africa awesome (I will only post that though once I am not so angry anymore that they stole a work colleague’s car from a secured parking lot and I am walking outside every two hours to check on my car… I guess that means good exercise at least), I had some fitness and weight loss ideas running around in my head but I didn’t even have the urge to share my limited knowledge on that subject. So I’ve decided to share with you the things that make me happy right now.

Bones season 1

It is so much fun watching a glamorised version of what I do every day. I love the characters and although the story is weak in the beginning it is definitely becoming more solid and the acting is getting better and better. And the lab is AWESOME. I want it I want it now.

The Fact that I am watching Captain America: Winter Soldier tonight

Captain America
Finally!! Of all the Marvel movies, Captain America has the best story. I really can’t wait! Watch out for the review next week!

The fact that I am watching Divergent next weekend

Divergent
This is obviously movie month here, but I can’t wait to see Tris, Four and the Dauntless. WHOOP

I am seeing my best friend at the end of April!
ZOE!!!!!

I got 100% for my Microbiology assignment at Unisa.
#HappyLabRat

Enjoy your weekend!

Book Review: Allegiant (Veronica Roth)

Allegiant

Book: 66/100

Tris Prior and her boyfriend Four is at the Erudite headquarters. They, and most of remainder of Chicago, just learned why Jeanine Matthews was prepared to go to the extreme measures she did for the truth to remain secret. Edith Prior, the woman in the video they watch, tells them that their faction-based society was implemented to try and restore humanity, each faction focusing on a character trait that is needed for society’s survival: Fearlessness (Dauntless), Selflessness (Abnegation), Truth (Candor), Peace (Amity) and Erudite (Knowledge). Now, after Jeanine’s death and the coup of the government by the factionless, led by Four’s mother Evelyn Eaton, Tris, Four and some of their friends need to decide what to do – venture outside the fences and see what is happening out in the world, or try and fight the regime that is threatening the lives they were used to and want back.

Tris is kidnapped by the Allegiant – a rebel group determined to see what lies outside the walls. She and Four sign up to dare the escape. When she hears that her brother Caleb is sentenced to death for conspiring with Jeanine Matthews, she insists he joins them, and Four and Zeke (one of the Allegiant and a friend) break him out. The three of them are joined by Christina, Cara, Uriah, Tori and Peter, the spineless bully who’s live had been saved by Tris on a few occasions.  During their escape Tori is killed. After driving for a while outside the boundaries, they are met by a woman named Zoë, and Amar, Four’s Dauntless trainer who was assumed dead. The group learn more about how their society had developed – that the government had tried to restore the genetic faults in humanity by implementing the faction system in some cities, sealing them off. The Divergent that developed had become “genetically pure” and was supposed to mean that society was being restored.

When Four and Tris realize that the Genetics Bureau plan to wipe everyone’s memories in Chicago to re-implement the faction based society, they are panicked – all their friends will lose their memories. They concoct an elaborate plan to save everyone, carrying a huge risk for Caleb – who volunteers to risk his life to steal the Memory serum from the leaders of the Bureau.

Will their plan work and will their society be peaceful once and for all? Will Caleb come out alive?

Rating: 8/10

Allegiant is by far the most impressive book in the series. Everything becomes clear, and Tris and Four finally reaches a place where they can fully trust each other. I found the fact that their society was a huge clinical trial highly amusing because of the environment I work in.

The end was devastating. Without giving away the largest plot twist of the century – I WON’T DO THAT ON THIS BLOG – it was heart-breaking and unbelievable that the author had enough balls to do that. She outstripped JK Rowling and Suzanne Collins in the I’m-a-nutty-author department by a long shot, I will tell you that.

So, go read the books. You will most likely love them, and weep at end.

Book Review: Insurgent (Veronica Roth)

Insurgent

Book: 65/100

After the Erudite faction used simulation serums on the Dauntless faction to have them attack the Abnegation faction in dystopian Chicago, the trilogy’s main protagonist goes to Amity, the group in the city that honours peace above everything. She, her boyfriend Four, her brother Caleb, her enemy Peter and Four’s abusive Father Marcus goes to Amity, and they are granted refugee as long as they reside in peace there. One day Tris follows Marcus and overhears him speaking to Johanna, the leader of the Amity, and he tells her that the Erudite attacked Abnegation because they were planning to reveal a secret to the city that the Erudite didn’t want to get out. Tris confronts Marcus but he refuses to tell her anything, and she is agitated that he obviously doesn’t find her worthy to bear the secret.

What remains of the pure Dauntless faction and the Abnegation needs to flee again when the Erudite and Dauntless traitors arrive at Amity and discovers the group when they see Four’s trademark tattoos. They manage to jump on a train and find themselves among the factionless – people who aren’t in a specific group for a number of reasons. On the train they meet Edward again – the Dauntless initiate who got stabbed in the eye by Peter in his sleep in jealousy. They learn that the leader of the factionless is Four’s mother, who is supposed to be dead. Four tells Tris that he discovered that his mother never died, but faked her death to escape his abusive father, leaving him behind. They have one of their many disagreements about full disclosure there. Tris and Evelyn hit it off on the wrong foot, and Tris openly distrusts her. Caleb tells Tris that he is taking their friend Susan to safety where most of the Abnegation are hiding now.

Tris and Four leave the factionless to go to the Candor headquarters. There, they are subjected to a truth serum to ensure they aren’t telling any lies. Jack Kang, the leader of Candor, questions them and Four confesses he left Abnegation to be free of his abusive father. Tris confesses to killing Will, causing a rift between her and her friend Christina, who was in love with Will. Four is also angry with her because she didn’t confide in him and he asked her plenty times what was wrong. The Dauntless traitors once again cause distress when they attack the Candor headquarters with Eric leading them. Tris and Uriah (who is also Divergent) realise that Eric is trying to catch and kill all the Divergents. The Dauntless arrive after Tris injures Eric, and he is taken into confinement for questioning.

Jack Kang arranges a meeting with the Erudite, and Tris, Four and some of their friends secretly goes to listen what is happening. The Erudite demands that the Eric is set free, the Divergent are handed over, and that those who didn’t receive the latest serum, which gives the Erudite control over people from long distances, receive the injection.

Four has a fight with Tris because she is always endangering herself. He tells her that he will end things between them if she doesn’t stop her reckless behavior.

Four, Tori and Harrison are elected new leaders of the Dauntless, and Four kills Eric afterwards. Tris and Four meet with the Evelyn and Edward. Tris still dislikes Evelyn, feeling that she abandoned Four as a child to his merciless father.

Tris offers up her life once again to save the Dauntless. She and Christina discover that the simulation serum the Erudite used to control the Dauntless in their attack on the Abnegation causes a faction member to commit suicide every two days if a Divergent person isn’t handed over to the Erudite. Tris goes to the Erudite and is taken captive by Jeanine Matthews. There she undergoes tests to develop a Divergent-proof simulation serum. She discovers that her brother Caleb is a traitor and has been working with Jeanine the entire time.

Four rushes to the Erudite headquarters to save her. Peter helps them escape, telling Tris that he owes her for saving his life. The three of them travels to the Abnegation part of the city, and Tris and Four confess their love to each other.

Marcus convinces Tris that her parents died to save information that Jeanine Matthews wanted destroyed. He wants the information displayed before the attack on the Erudite that can permanently destroy the information. Tris, Christina and Marcus infiltrate the Amity headquarters to tell their leader Johanna what is going on. She and a few other Amity members choose to leave their faction after most of the Amity chooses to remain impartial.

The group infiltrates the Erudite, and they realize that the sensitive information won’t be on the computers everyone can access. Tris heads to Jeanine Matthews’ private lab. There she finds Tori and Jeanine, and tries to prevent Tori from killing Jeanine. She fails after a struggle and Tori stabs Jeanine.

Tris now looks like a traitor, and Four is angry with her for siding with his horrible father. Evelyn announces a new factionless government and society. This causes uproar, but they are unable to do anything because there are so many factionless. Tris and Four reconcile. The secret information is revealed, and they learn that Chicago’s faction system was implemented by an organization fighting for justice and peace. Amanda Ritter, the person relaying the information, tells them that Chicago was sealed off from the rest of the world so that they could regain the moral sense the entire world had lost. When the Divergent population had started to become greater than the other factions, the Amity was supposed to open the gates of the city and let everyone out. They realize that that is why Jeanine Matthews were so intent on killing the divergent – she knew that if they were part of the world again, she would become powerless. Amanda Ritter lastly discloses that she would enter Chicago and become part of its society under the name of Edith Prior, making Tris a certain descendant of Edith.

Who is Edith Prior and what lies behind the gates of Chicago?

Rating: 6.5/10

Insurgent certainly wasn’t my favorite book in the Divergent trilogy. It seems that Tris and Four is constantly fighting about nonsense, and the book was full of useless events that weren’t needed for the storyline.

However, the book was still readable and good in its way. Jeanine Matthews is still an impressive psychotic maniac, determined to remain in control of their world. Caleb’s betrayal was brilliantly done, displaying how flawed their system was becoming.

The end finally told the readers where the rest of the world was – I had wondered how they would implement the entire globe’s existence eventually.

The series is really good, and although not my favorite book, Insurgent is essential to understand the last book.

Book Review: Divergent (Veronica Roth)

Author: Veronica Roth

Book: 64/100

In the future, Chicago is divided into factions. Each faction is filled with people who show a trait of what their government thinks is needed to be a perfect society. Abnegation is the faction where selfless people live. They lead the government as officials should be completely selfless in their governing. Erudite is the faction where highly intelligent people live. They develop medicine and technology. Candor is the faction where people live who is brutally honest. Amity is for the people who seek peace above all. Dauntless is the fearless faction, where people who are brave above all go. They serve as the police force as well, and protect the citizens from what is outside the barrier of their city, although no one knows exactly what lies there.

The year a citizen turns sixteen they undergo aptitude tests to determine what faction they are most suited for. These tests only show you where you would fit in the best, but you are still able to choose your own faction or move to another one.

Beatrice Prior, the story’s main protagonist, grew up in an Abnegation home. She has struggled with selflessness her entire life, and knows that her aptitude tests will probably show she belongs to another faction. She and her older brother Caleb both go for their tests in the same year. Beatrice is certain that his will reflect his Abnegation qualities.

Beatrice’s test goes nothing like planned. She is injected with a simulation serum, and in her “dream”, she is attacked by a dog. Her reaction is to face the dog and then calm it down, and her simulation takes a completely different route as any other person’s would. Her instructor tells that she is Divergent, and she should never tell that to anybody, as she would be in grave danger when she does.

Confused, she heads home and tries to make a decision. She knows she isn’t completely Abnegation, but she knows how much she would miss her parents should she leave. Her brother Caleb surprises her when he, who is always selfless, tells her that she should make the best decision for herself.

The next day Beatrice chooses Dauntless, shocking her parents senseless. Even more shocking is her brother’s choice to join the Erudite. Beatrice always thought her brother belonged perfectly in their original faction, and it also comes as a shock because the Erudite has been publicly shaming the Abnegation for a while, accusing them of hiding supplies from the rest of the factions.

Beatrice is immediately taken to her new faction. She is now in her Initiation phase – if she doesn’t pass, she won’t be taken in and will become part of the factionless – people who have no community, jobs or support. Their first step of Initiation is to jump on a train, and then into the pit where the Dauntless live. Beatrice meets what will become one of her enemies, Peter, originally from the Erudite. He openly taunts her being the only Abnegation transfer among the new recruits, and coins the nickname “Stiff” for her. To annoy him she jumps first into the dark hole. It is her first sign of courage, not knowing what lies beneath. She safely lands at the bottom and is helped up by someone. She introduces herself as “Tris”, casting off her former prim name.

Tris makes friends with a few initiates. She meets Will, Al and Christina. They are all very nice to her, perceiving her as somewhat fragile. Al has a crush on her, and she tries to hide how revolted she is by his weakness and fear to spare his feelings.

The first step of Initiation is to learn defensive skills. They learn to fight, shoot and throw knives. Tris is the smallest of the Initiates and gets beaten up a few times before she learns that her speed and agility is her best weapon in a fight. She meets Eric, a Dauntless leader there. He is cruel and seems to take great delight in the violence he witnesses. She also learns that the man that helped her the day she jumped first is named Four. He also supervises their training, and although he is fearless he isn’t a leader for some unknown reason. The initiates are informed that only ten of them will become faction members, the rest will be cast out with the factionless.

It becomes obvious that Al isn’t meant to be Dauntless. He isn’t fearless at all, and suffers through training. It becomes particularly bad when it comes to knife throwing, and Eric orders him to go fetch his knife as he fails – while the rest of the initiates are still throwing. He recoils, and Tris offers to take his place. Four shows up and starts throwing the knives and she is fine, although nicked at the ear. She is furious with him, but he explains that he had his reasons and that she was safer while he was throwing the knives.

Tris finally becomes better in training, and when she kicks Molly’s ass, she needs to be restrained because she is mad at the other girl for the torment she was put through. She places sixth, and this makes her hopeful that she may have a chance. Peter is jealous that he didn’t place first, and stabs the guy who did, Edward, in the eye. Edward is taken away and becomes factionless.

The Erudite is still dividing the factions by spreading rumors about the Abnegation leaders. They release reports claiming that Tris’ parents obviously did something wrong as both their children switched factions. They also claim that Marcus Eaton, another Abnegation leader, abused his son Tobias and that is the reason Tobias left his faction. Peter and Molly tell fake stories that Tris murmurs in her sleep for her father to stop, and she is furious at them. Tris becomes friends with the Dauntless born initiates Uriah, Lynn and Marlene,

Tris begins to befriend the Dauntless-born initiates, including Uriah, Lynn, and Marlene, but she also continuos to irritate Peter and his friends. When stage two of the initiation starts, the initates undergo aptitude tests in the form of another simulation serum. They are learning to control their fears, and although Tris is terrified, she realises that she is within a simulation and breaks herself out. Tobias, who is testing her, tells her it is because she is Divergent, and warns her not to make it obvious. At the end of the second phase, Tris is first among her group, and Peter is furious. Peter, Drew and Al attacks Tris one night, and she escapes death when Tobias saves her. Tris spends the night in Four’s room to recover, and their relationship continues to grow. Al begs for forgiveness the next day, and after she rebuffs him he commits suicide.

The last phase of initiation is the fear landscape. The initiates will face their own fears and are allowed to fight them as they can. Four takes Tris into his to tell her why he has his name – in his entire time with the Dauntless, he has only had the same four fears – unheard of amongst their faction members. When he faces his last fear, Marcus Eaton, Tris realises that Four is Tobias Eaton, and he is the only other Abnegation member that ever transferred to Dauntless. After his revelation, they kiss, and she is stunned when he ignores her the next day. After her angry outburst, he tells her that they at least have to pretend that they are only instructor and pupil because she is still an initiate. Four tells Tris that he has discovered that the Erudite are planning to attack the Abnegation by using the Dauntless. She is horrified to learn this, as her innocent parents are still in there.

Tris successfully gets through her fear landscape and places first in her class. She kisses Tobias in front of anyone, not caring because it is okay now. The new initiates are injected with a “tracking serum” in case they ever go missing, but Tris realises it is an Erudite way to control them and stage the attack. She wakes up one night to experience her friends in zombie mode, on their way to attack the Abnegation. She goes with them, knowing that staying behind will reveal her secret, and realises Tobias is also not under the control of the serum, meaning he is Divergent as well. They try to escape but are taken to Jeanine Matthews, the Erudite leader behind the attacks. She injects Four with a serum that can control the Divergent as well, and sentences Tris to death. Tris is miraculously saved by her mother, also Divergent. Her mom explains that she was initially in Dauntless, which explains her defensive skills. Her mother is killed soon after, and Tris is forced to kill her friend Will who is also under the serum’s influence. Tobias is sent to guard the computers running the serum, and Tris has to stop him. He is physically superior to her, and she can’t find it in her to kill him. Her surrender and refusal to kill him wakes him up and they shut down the computers. They Dauntless are freed from the mind control. They find Marcus, Caleb and Peter, and head to the Amity, sure that they will find a temporary refuge at their peaceful counterpart’s quarters.

Rating: 7/10

Before Divergent, I’ve only read the Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) in Dystopian Fiction. It is a shame since it is a good reading avenue to explore. I’ve heard good things about Divergent and its other two books, and was keen to try it out. I am so glad I did. The plotline is original. I can actually see the sense of their factions and why it should work. Especially in this book you notice that it could work if everyone remained in their place and didn’t get greedy (ahem, Jeanine Matthews).

This is not a Hunger Games vs. Divergent competition, but I have to mention that as far as female leads, Tris Prior is far superior to Katniss Everdeen. She is already selfless in the first book, and she only continues to develop the strongest characteristic from her former faction. She is only ever interested in Four, and I LOVED that there wasn’t some stupid love triangle. I am utterly sick of the “I don’t know who to choose” route.

Four became such a deep character later on, and I really liked him. I felt so sad when it became clear that he is Marcus’ son (a good twist) and that the rumors were true. To imagine the fearless Dauntless instructor as a cowering boy was heart-breaking. I didn’t mind his mood swings. It makes him much more interesting. He didn’t have that annoying phase where he decided it was best for them if they weren’t together – another famous tool for books.

I wish the books gave more info earlier on about being Divergent. It is such an important concept, and you wait ages to find out why Tris is so special and dangerous to the leaders in her world. I did think that Jeanine Matthews made an excellent antagonist. She uses her intelligence as an excuse to be cruel; it is so much more exciting than the usually basic cruel enemies.

The only point stealers came from the page fillers. It isn’t as bad in the first book, but I wish people could stop writing stuff just to make a book a certain amount of pages. As a first time author, Veronica Roth did an exceptional job. I think she can truly become exceptional with more experiences.