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All things Divergent: Book and Movie Review

Veronica Roth’s debut novel Divergent (2011) pulls readers into an intriguing Utopian world (as seen in photo 1). When children become of age, they must define themselves by choosing the faction that represents their best character traits: Abnegation. Amity. Candor. Dauntless. Erudite. But what happens if you don’t fit neatly into one category? You are Divergent—something so dangerous faction leaders will do anything to find you. And have you eradicated.

Readers will fall in love with Tris, a strong-willed girl from Abnegation who chooses to leave her peaceful faction for the dangerous, thrill-seeking Dauntless. She experiences an initiation so brutal, even the strongest, Dauntless-born initiates have a hard time surviving. All the while, Tris falls for Four, the hot-but-off-limits Dauntless initiate instructor. But passing initiation trials and her growing attraction to Four are the least of her problems.

“Faction before blood.” That’s the mantra of this Utopian society. But what if your chosen faction isn’t what you expected?

Roth’s world building delves deep into the inevitable flaws of a Utopian society. The first of a trilogy, Divergent is fun, fast-paced and fierce. It will leave readers rushing to get their hands on Insurgent (2012) and Allegiant (2013) to find out what happens next.

On March 21, 2014, the movie adaptation (as seen in photo 2), directed by Neil Burger, hit theaters everywhere. Starring Shailene Woodley as Tris and Theo James as Four, Divergent hits the main plot points of the novel as swiftly as one of the Dauntless jumping from a moving train. It is a raw, simpler version of the book, stripping away subplots and minor characters to focus on Tris’ initiation trials and her love interest with Four. Tris is nothing to be reckoned with. She is just as brave and tough on screen as she is on the page.

While the novel focuses on the fierce competition between initiates, the movie uses them as props to fuel the bigger plot of the novel. This was a risky decision. Unless moviegoers have read the book, they won’t understand the dynamics between Tris and the other initiates. This makes it difficult to care about the fates of the other characters. The ending of the movie is also different. It will be interesting to see how this new course of action plays out in the subsequent films.

For people who haven’t yet read the books, see the movie first. Then read the novel for a more in-depth view into Roth’s world. The film is an action-packed ride through a beautiful landscape. The cinematography of the factions is breathtaking, the costumes are beautiful and the acting holds true to Roth’s characters.

For more about the movie, including show times and tickets, visit the official site at Divergent the Movie.

About the Author: Veronica Roth is a graduate of Northwestern University's creative writing program. She is now a full-time writer. For more information, check out her website:

Photo Credits

Photo 1: Divergent by Veronica Roth book cover © Harper Collins

Photo 2: Divergent movie poster