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.
What a whirlwind! I haven’t been that tossed about since Hunger Games!
This young adult, dystopian novel depicts a war-destroyed city attempting to live in peace and harmony through various factions. However, it’s violent, it got my blood pumping, and there are tender moments that are excellently, strategically placed. Everything comes together so well, like pieces of a puzzle. Some moments in the novel are pretty stereotypical of a young adult novel: the teenagers within factions have stereotypes. The Amity, for example, are warm and friendly and wear colors of summer, while the Dauntless have more of a “goth” or “bad kid” look with black, tattoos, and piercings. The reasoning behind these factions, their purposes, and their colors are very well thought-out and each faction has strengths and weaknesses. It’s a matter of working in harmony that comes into play with this novel.
However, one of the best things about this young adult novel is that Tris is not spending her time trying to understand her feelings about boys. She focuses on herself and her loved ones. There is a love story in the midst of the violence and war, but it is not a love triangle – a fault that I personally find frustrating in young adult fiction. Roth has a purpose for each character, and through advanced technology (which, hauntingly, is highly plausible to occur anytime within the next few years) the reader can discover all sorts of dark things about each person: fears, weaknesses, the depth of intelligence. I would not call this novel “sci-fi” – it is dystopian and apocalyptic, much like Hunger Games.
This is the first book of the Divergent Trilogy. I was left with several questions that I can only assume will be answered in books 2 and 3. What is beyond the fence Dauntless guards? How many Divergents are there? Part of this next question was answered, but: why is everyone against a Divergent?
I’m thrilled for book 2, Insurgent, out in May!
Rating: ★★★★★ of 5
GoodReads: 4.4 of 5