Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent by Veronica Roth
Janine has been constantly telling me that I have to read this book, and I wasn't exactly on the dystopian band-wagon, so I was a little hesitant.  Thank God I relented, because this is one of the best, most exciting novels I have read in a while!

Beatrice Prior lives in (future?) Chicago, where society has been separated into five factions.  Candor values honesty. Abnegation values selflessness.  Dauntless values bravery.  Amity values peacefulness.  Erudite values intelligence.  In their 16th year, young citizens go through a test that will tell them which faction best suits them, but ultimately, they choose their faction.  Most young people elect to stay with their factions: their family, their friends, and all that is familiar.  A few decide to venture into the unknown and switch factions.  All "initiates," whether they are from a new faction or not, must go through a training period and a test in order to be finally accepted into the faction of their choosing.  Beatrice Prior's decision is a bit more complicated.  Her original test scores were inconclusive, and though she is able to hide it, she is labeled "divergent."  She leaves her quiet and simple life, and her Abnegation family, and she chooses the Dauntless faction.  Her training for her new faction is brutal, sometime life-threatening, but even more dangerous is her Divergent label.  With the help of some new friends, and a love-interest/instructor named Four, Beatrice (now called Tris) is determined to survive.  However, if she can survive the initiation, will she be able to survive the unrest between factions?

I may get plenty of hate-mail for writing this, but I liked Divergent  a great deal better than the Hunger Games.  I liked the idea of the factions (I constantly thought about which one I would have chosen, and it changed several times as I read the book).  Also, in Divergent, there was no love triangle (of which I have grown quite weary).  I also liked, and related to, the characters much better in this novel.  I found Tris to be much stronger (and less whiny) than Katniss.  Okay, I'll quit comparing... but in my defense, it's hard not to compare dystopian novels.  I found this book very political, but nothing too over-the-top as to discourage or overwhelm young adult readers.  During an action-packed climax scene in which an army of faction members have been brain-washed to kill, I recall images and footage of the Nazi army.  This book was exciting from the first chapter.  It was extremely hard to put down, and I have recommended this already to a ton of people!  When Divergent's sequel, Insurgent, is released on May 1st, I will be the bookstore waiting!!

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