Friday, October 7, 2011
Friday Reads: Divergent by Veronica Roth
The book is set in a future Chicago. The city is isolated and has been divided into 5 factions, based on personality traits - Dauntless, Amity, Abnegation, Erudite and Candor. Each faction has it's own roles within this society and the belief is that by living your life in a way that is true to the faction - a peaceful society can be maintained. The year a child turns 16, they are tested to see which faction their personality best fits within and then they choose the faction where they will live for the rest of their life. Faction before blood - once you have chosen your faction, it becomes your family. If you choose a different faction than the one you were born into - then you may cease to have a relationship with your own family.
Beatrice (Tris) Prior was raised in the selfless Abnegation. On the day of her aptitude tests, she is surprised to learn that she doesn't fit neatly into a single faction...she could fit into one of several factions. She is Divergent. The administrator of the test tells her to keep this secret. If word gets out about the result, it could be dangerous for her. Should she choose Abnegation, where her family resides and where the life she has always known exists. Or should she make the leap to the brave Dauntless. At the choosing ceremony, Tris shocks her family by declaring herself Dauntless and leaving her family to become an initiate into this fearless faction whose role in society is to protect.
This choice doesn't come without a cost, though, as she struggles to calm the other tendencies in her personality, realizing that no one trait defines her. The initiation into dauntless is terrifying and dangerous, but she excels because of her ability to think outside of the box. Slowly, she begins to see herself as dauntless and realizes she has a new family around her. She even finds herself drawn to another Divergent.
I don't want to give away too much of the plot, but know that this one is a page turner. I think it took me 3 days to read and I enjoyed every moment of it. I can hardly wait until the next installment in the trilogy comes out next spring. I hate to relate it back to Hunger Games, but if you liked it and you think it is the best - you need to read this one. It is as brutal and cruel, but in a much more compact way. I have read many reviews that are really down on Divergent and call it a copy-cat Hunger Games...I didn't think this was true. Perhaps the inspiration lies there (much like the Shanarra series was spawned in the image of Tolkien), but I find that usually by the second book - a series shines as a standalone. Don't go into this one expecting Hunger Games, because you will only find disappointment. I would say that this one is actually closer, writing-wise, to Uglies...with a little more violence. It is YA, but I would classify it closer to Adult.
Just read it. I think you'll love it.