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Divergent by Veronica Roth: Book Review

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Genre: Dystopia, Young Adult, Science Fiction
Author: Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #1
Date Published: May 3, 2011
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Size: 325
Edition: ebook
ISBN: 0062071015

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In a future Chicago, sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.


Review:

Yes, I made this post in time with the movie (will post my movie review later).

I don't look at this book as a romantic one, rather I see this as a fantasy bent on a complex story about life in general, about love, not about romance, of human interests, with nationalistic aspects. I'm interested in the revolutionary aspect of the story.

When I first began reading the book, I just hoped that the romance won't be pushed, that it will just be on the side, and that the author will focus on whatever nationalism she'd like to impart if she has one. So I will not talk about the characters (sorry for those who are interested with the characters).

This book is a futuristic one, set in a dystopian world where people think they know the roots of evil in the world that at one point in time, they just decided they could root out the worldly problems. People held strongly in their own beliefs, beliefs that will shape them as better individuals in the world that in the end, they had been divided into 5 factions— Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless and Erudite. Well, you know what each word means and that's what each faction is all about.

Nationalistic Aspects

I think that whatever this book is about, it is a representation of philosophical, social, economic and political theories. It shows what could happen if people in our world are going to push whatever they think is right for the system of one's country. For example, for Marxists and Reformists, if they wanted a life where everyone is supposedly "fair", they'd forego human desires to create this supposedly peaceful community. Then they'd be like the members of Abnegation where everyone has the same haircut, the same loose gray clothes and are supposedly selfless. Much like what Mao Tsetung did in China.

If you're a socialist, you could be either in Amity or Erudite. Amity tends agriculture. So they provide food. Erudite tends towards Capitalism in my opinion. I'm not saying that Science—the pursuit of knowledge—is geared towards getting money, rather than in this book, the most intelligent ones are hungry for power (which seems likely in the real world).


When the factions are formed to root out upheaval in this world, eventually the peace will be superseded by chaos because there will always be people who want to take control of the world.

Surprisingly enough, nothing's representing Anarchists. The Abnegation people held government because they're not supposed to be corrupt due to their selflessness. Moreover, the events here aren't patterned after history or what would likely happen in real life given the circumstances. For example, in real life, the ones watching over our security are the military. The military practices strict disciplines, order and pragmatic actions. These disciplines include clean cut hair and formal attire (formal looks in short). In this book, the security of the nation is handled by the Dauntless—all wearing dark clothing, with piercings and tattoos, looking insane and reckless when they'd jump off trains, buildings and such just to showcase their bravery—the very ones the military tends to hate (right next to insurgents).

Meanwhile, the Candors are emissaries of truth. They control the news media.

Think how leftist (in perspective as to how contradictory the events here happen as compared to real history) this book is. Or perhaps, this could be realistic. As how Anthropologists put it, Science tends to be discriminating. Who could question a well-established and credible Scientist when he starts to speak? Who could try to refute a scientific result when science tells the truth? Only that the intelligent ones here uses science as a tool in their greedy aspirations.

But well, there's parallelism to the events here in the real world. There's things like tracking people, similar as to how the NSA would push on tracking everybody in the States via the social media, web companies which host emails, cellphones with fingerprint recognition, GPS, et.al. Lucky for my country, nobody wants a registered cellphone number so privacy isn't compromised for safety (and the politicians push on privacy; they have their own agenda but everyone mutually agrees on saving privacy).

A Musing:

Ever since Harry Potter, a sorting ceremony has become a thing for some series—the Reaping for Hunger Games and the Choosing Day for this book. There's a great ring into getting sorted so people do it nowadays. I'm all for it.

This book would have been perfect if it were not for the author's inconsistencies. You see, I was already enjoying the book but I easily got distracted when I noticed some things are kind of wrong. And it's really bothersome when the going gets good already and I'm just creasing my forehead in something that I don't like.

At one part of the book, this question just jumped straight at my face: how come Tris knows Peter's name already? I hate it that the book is written in the first-person perspective and yet the character already knows other people's name sentiently. There are ways to introduce someone in a book. Say the character heard that the person's name is this and not just write that [this person's name] did this and that.

Also, the protagonist sees things for the first time and she knows that a long cable attached from one point to another is called a zip line? Whoa! The author shouldn't push herself as a narrator here if she's to be consistent with a first-person view.

Moreover, I just both like and dislike the stereotyping in this book. The truth is stereotyped in black and white. So the Candors wear only black and white. Amity people are supposed to be warm and friendly so they wear bright colors like red and yellow. Abnegations are supposed to be communal so they only wear gray. And because the Erudites are like geniuses, they love blue because it's supposed to calm the brain. And hence, the Dauntless wear black for some stereotypical reasons for people who have piercings and tattoos. I generally dislike stereotypes. But I also like the stereotyping because I want to see how a world works in extreme stereotyping. And this book shows that it will eventually fail.
But becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it, that’s the point.

This book demonstrates that the world just won't work with only one belief. Each one is diverse. We aren't just shaped by one thing, there are so many factors in the way we are. We all can't be just put inside one box and be labeled with just one name. Our true nature isn't limited as to where we're brought up or how we're groomed. No matter how one tries to suppress one's identity, the inner nature will eventually prevail because we have what we call willpower. And that's what makes us different with other species in the Animal Kingdom.

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