by Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #1
Published by: HarperCollins
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. During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating 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 unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
In Veronica Roth’s debut novel, Divergent, she offers us a unique dystopia with likeable characters. The world-building for this society was fascinating and the story line kept me turning the pages. This novel offer; good verse evil, political tension, romance and a fractured society. I purchased this novel when it was first released, for my Nook, and for whatever reason it found it’s way into my TBR pile. I am still kicking myself, for that bone-headed move.
In, Roth’s dystopia, Chicago has been divided into five factions, after a series of natural disasters, and wars. Each of these factions is dedicated to a single virtue. At the age of sixteen, each child within the society is able to decide what faction they wish to join. They take an exam which tells them which faction they are best suited for, however they are still free to ultimately choose their place. Once they choose, they are separated from their family and become members of the new faction. Each faction fills a purpose within the society. The idea being that society as a whole will flourish with each faction performing tasks that best suit their virtue.
Protagonist Beatrice Prior, has spent most of her life living in a peaceful society. Recently, there has been tension between some of the factions. She notices a change at school, and overhears conversations between her parents. Beatrice and her brother are turning sixteen and must choose a faction. The exam reveals something that Beatrice must keep secret. Ultimately, she makes a choice that surprises everyone; including herself. The tale that unfolds literally swept me away, as I became caught up in her story, and the world Roth created. There is a dark side to this tale that is reminiscent to the classic, Lord of Flies. This element drives the plot and ultimately captures the reader. While, the protagonist fights to earn her place in her faction; others plot to earn theirs. They are driven by a fear of become factionless. Each faction believes that their virtue is the best, and ultimately this ideal will become their demise.
The characters have depth and I immediately connected with them. I formed a bond with the spunky, insecure, brave and oh so lovable Beatrice. As she fights to create her own identity within her faction, and make friends, we see her grow into herself. Circumstances force her to move outside of her comfort zone in order to be accepted, and earn her place. The characters in her faction are colorful and we see all types of personalities emerge. It is here, that the Lord of the Flies analogy comes into play, as each of the new members’ fights for position within the faction. A relationship develops between Beatrice and Four; one of the trainers. The romance between them evolves slowly and feels genuine. Four ends up helping Beatrice keep her secret and she begins to wonder what his secret is. Events that unfold, cause them to question everything and the dramatic conclusion left me wanting more. This looks to be the start of an exciting new trilogy and I can’t wait to read more.
Divergent is a must read for fans of the dystopia genre, as Roth takes us on a journey filled with twist and turns I didn’t see coming. I cannot wait for the release of book two entitled, Insurgent, which is scheduled to be released on May 1, 2012. This reader has pre-ordered it and it will not make it into my TBR pile.
Four cups of coffee out of five
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