In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, 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.
I began reading this book expecting it to simply be ‘the new Hunger Games’. In a way, this proved to be true. However, this book also had me stand next to one of the shelves at Waterstones, reading three chapters before realizing I had to meet a friend ten minutes ago. When I told said friend why I was late she scolded me for not buying the book if I was immediately hooked on it. She had a fair point.
We believe in bravery. We believe in taking action. We believe in freedom from fear and in acquiring the skills to force the bad out of our world so that the good can prosper and thrive. If you also believe in those things, we welcome you.
Like the Hunger Games series, this book provides a dystopian critique on contemporary society, but unlike the former it does so in a slighty more subtle way. The readers are not immediately confronted with a world of poverty and a system that has 24 teenagers kill each other every year, but with a society that initially seems to work. The book initially focuses on Beatrice’s (Or Tris’, as she later calls herself) personal choices and the hard regime of the Dauntless initiation. Slowly the flaws of the system begin to show.
An unoriginal, but rather enjoyable plot of boy-meets-girl is intertwined with the story of the five factions. Tris’ love interest, Four, is mysterious, handsome and dangerous, but a good guy at heart. Fortunately he slowly becomes a more rounded character throughout the book and towards the end I did catch myself rooting for them to be together.
“Who cares about pretty? I’m going for noticeable.”
What can I say? It is not a literary masterpiece, nor does it claim to be. Divergent makes for an entertaining read, is well written and does pose some interesting ideas about a futuristic society along the way. So far I have also read the sequel, Insurgent, which holds up surprisingly well for an infamous middle child of a series, and I’m exited to read the final part, Allegiant.