I loved this story. Can I stop there? I don't want to ruin anything. Okay. Thanks. Done.
No, really, I did really love this story. The bleak world Veronica Roth created and how she made me feel I was there, part of the Abnegation as Beatrice/Tris tries to decide what is best for her, and if that's the decision she should make. Does she do what she wants to do or does she do what she's expected to do? The factions, how it's broken up by "good" qualities and as if no one has any bad qualities or possesses the qualities of all factions. They are not mutually exclusive, these traits, and it shows in the characters.
The characters. I loved (I really need to find another word... sheesh) and hated characters Veronica created. Their strength, vulnerability, and flaws all felt real, not contrived. I wasn't just being told about Tris' confusion, I felt it. I understood why it was hard for her to let go of some things, to embrace a new part of her life. The way Veronica portrayed some characters (I don't want to give anything away, so I'm being vague on purpose) made me hate them. And not like "S/He's an ass, she should stay away from him," but more in the way of, "I &%#$ing hate them and I hope they die," sort of way. It's a good thing these are characters in a book because I would question my sanity after that thought. :)
Other characters surprised me in their loyalty and their place in the story. Ms. Roth holds nothing back and has no qualms about where the story takes her. I cried, I laughed, and I loved. Speaking of love, I enjoyed the romantic relationship building as it did. It wasn't insta-love to me, and it was confusing and intense, tentative and tender. It had the real characteristics of a new love brewing, not an obsession. That was nice.
Given the type of book, you obviously know where things are headed as far as a bigger picture goes. But I like the way it progressed, the unexpected twists and turns she took me down. I am anxious to read on.