|Divergent by Veronica Roth|
For any parent who’s read along with their child from babyhood, perhaps helping them to build a book library or sort through the bookshelves in the library, there comes a time when you wonder if you’re guiding their reading choices too much. We’re getting to that stage.
When Little M mentioned that she thought she’d like to read Twilight, I probably took a deep breath and said, “Aah”. I didn’t know much about Twilight but I realised Little M was ready to move on in her reading. She’d even shown serious interest in Jane Roger’s The Testament of Jessie Lamb. For that, I hope she’ll wait a few years so that she can appreciate its delights. By then she’ll be ready for Margaret Atwood too.
So I looked into Twilight - and recommended Divergent. The feminist controversies surrounding the characterisation of Twilight’s Bella could be argued relatively well by either camp. It was definitely the writing that clinched it for me. Casting my eye over a few pages of Twilight made me cringe whereas Divergent had me hooked from the very first page. I wanted to know more about the choices Beatrice and her peers had to make.
I enjoyed reading Divergent. For the size of it, it was a surprisingly quick read and so I can only describe it as compelling. I particularly enjoyed a central thread that explored how individuals developed personal understandings and ways to live out and conform to the values of their factions – or not.
Characterwise, I liked Tris but my favourite character was definitely Four. I think he was pivotal to Divergent. And Tris’ mum! I want to know more about her. Does she have a name? Did I miss it? There’s certainly scope for a prequel.
A few quibbles. Too much unnecessary violent detail for my liking. And I’d have left much of the romance for the sequel.
Overall, a big thumbs up to Veronica Roth. She’s provided a reading bridge that is welcomed by me and an introduction to a different reading world for Little M. I’ll definitely read the sequel when she gets her hands on it. See here for Little M's review.