Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Young Adult – Dystopian
Release Date: 2011
Three flying birds…one for each of the family I left behind.
Sixteen-year-old Tris is forced to make a terrible choice. In a divided society where everyone must conform, Tris does not fit in.
So she ventures out alone, determined to discover where she truly belongs. Shocked by her brutal new life, Tris can trust no one. And yet she is drawn to a boy who seems to both threaten and protect her.
The hardest choice lies ahead.
Divergent is the first book in the Divergent Series by Veronica Roth. It is set in a futuristic, dystopian city where people are divided into five factions. The five factions are the areas and groups of people that the city is divided into based on their ideals and beliefs. The five factions consist of the Abnegation who believe in selflessness, the Candor who believe in truthfulness, the Erudite who believe in knowledge, the Dauntless who believe in bravery and the Amity who believe in peace. Each faction rules a different part of the city and has different responsibilities so they all work together for the greater good.
The book begins on the eve of the ‘Choosing Ceremony’, where every 16 year old from each faction must take a test to determine of which faction they will be apart. The test tells them if they are destined to remain in the faction they were born into or if they are better suited elsewhere. Ultimately, regardless of the results, it is the individual’s choice. People who choose incorrectly or cannot handle the initiation processes end up ‘factionless’, the worst possible outcome to be without purpose or a community.
The story is told through the eyes of Beatrice ‘Tris’ an Abnegation born 16 year old, who is the protagonist of the book. Tris learns that her test results prove inconclusive making her ‘Divergent’. ‘Divergent’ meaning that she is suitable for more than one faction. It also means that Tris is in grave danger, as she is not able to be easily manipulated into one set of ideals and beliefs. Tris has to keep her ‘Divergence’ a secret, while making the decision to stay with Abnegation and her family, or move to another faction.
Divergent was very unexpected. I had been recommended to read this book as I was told it was very much like the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I loved Hunger Games so I was a bit reluctant to read this once I heard that, as I hate ‘knock-off’ books where authors write the same story only changing the setting and the name of the characters. I was pleasantly surprised! The only similarities between Divergent and the Hunger Games are that they are both based in a dystopian and futuristic world. The rest of the story is Roth’s own original and fantastic work!
The book was so interesting, with hidden plots twists and surprising character connections. Roth introduced new characters quite rapidly in the opening chapters, but did so in such a way that the reader was not over-whelmed. As the story continued the characters were explained and explored in greater depth, revealing associations between characters and other factions and expanding on the plot.
Exploring the story through Tris’ point of view helps to explain to the reader this strange and unfamiliar world as she explores it. Roth makes it engaging with its explanation of this dystopian world and the factions. Tris is learning just as much as the reader as she develops relationships and greater understandings with other factions and people she meets. Tris transforms throughout the story from the silent and dutiful Abnegation, to the strong and independent person she was destined to be.
The book had many ‘nail-biting’ moments. It was exhilarating with the suspense and action scenes. It was poignant with the mental strain placed on the characters and the gruelling and necessary decisions they had to make. It was also passionate, both with familial love and romantic love. It has so many unknown outcomes and possibilities that it keeps the reader engaged all the way to the end. The ending itself leaves things so incomplete that you are clawing for the next book!
Veronica Roth creates such a new, original and refreshing story. It is so stimulating to read something that is not paranormal and doesn’t involve supernatural. Her dystopian world is something to which readers can relate. It encompasses five main character traits in the five factions that could be perceived as either good or evil. Relatable and invigorating all at the same time!
A fantastic read! I have already started to read Insurgent- Book 2 in the series! The Divergent movie is out in March 2014, cannot wait!!