Author: Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent, #1
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Publisher: Katherine Tegen (Imprint of HarperCollins)
Date Published: May 3rd, 2011
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, 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 to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating 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 a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Divergent takes place in a post-apocalyptic Chicago. Although it is post-apocalyptic, it is more dystopian than anything because at this point, their world (well, their city at least) has been divided into five factions. Each faction focuses (to an extreme) on a character trait that they believe is a reason that the old government (our current government) failed. These factions are: Abnegation (selflessness), Amity (peace), Candor (truth), Dauntless (bravery), and Erudite (knowledge). While each of these character traits are good to have, each faction takes it to an extreme. For example, in Abnegation (selflessness) you are not even allowed to look in the mirror at yourself.
When I first started Divergent, I was hoping it would be a replacement, of sorts, for the Hunger Games trilogy. I know it’s not fair to replace that trilogy or even to compare the books. But, I couldn’t help myself. I miss the Hunger Games a lot, so I was really hoping this would fill that hole for me. While this book is a solid five stars and wildly entertaining and original, at this point it did not live up to that particular expectation. But, in all fairness, I don’t think any book or series really will.
Divergent follows a 16 year old girl named Beatrice (Tris) on her journey through choosing which faction she will be apart of and how her choice affects herself, and those around her. If she chooses a faction other than where she comes from, she may never see her family again and she could even be shunned by her family. It’s a rough world that clearly states that your faction always comes before your blood ties.
I found Tris to be hard to like at times. While I understood her standing most of the time, I found that she took some of her emotions to the extreme and that she had a hard time finding a middle ground in that aspect. But really, isn’t that what the book is about? Sure, it’s great to be truthful, or selfless, but if you take it to such an extreme that you cannot balance all of the character traits of the different factions, then something is wrong as well. Balance is the key and I think that some of the message of this book is that.
As for the side characters, I wasn’t too attached to many of them except for Four and her brother Caleb. Four is just a fantastic character. I loved him from the first time he steps onto the page until the very end of the book. You just can’t help but love this guy, he’s just awesome. Caleb I liked for some reason, but I can’t really put my finger on why he stuck out for me. He just seems to have a good character all around.
Overall, this book is a fantastic read. I literally sat down and didn’t get up until I was forced to get some sleep just 50 pages away from finishing it. It was painful to stop and it’s a very hard book to put down. I would say give yourself a Saturday where you can just dive in and get lost in the world. I also want to mention that I absolutely LOVE that there is not a love triangle in this one. I really hate that “Young Adult novel” equals “love triangle” these days. I’m really hoping that doesn’t change in the books to come and that at least that will stay consistent throughout the trilogy.
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