I love dystopian novels. I admit it.
Hunger Games trapped me, and within 3 weeks I had read all three books. Then I gave them to Zach (a doubter), and he finished them just as quickly.
I hope it isn’t a reflection on me as a person. . . it must mean that I am a deep and compassionate person who wants to make sure I continue to appreciate the world we live in, yes? 😉 Moving on…
When I heard about Divergent, I JUMPED on Amazon and ordered the book before I had even finished my current book The Art of Racing In The Rain. I could hardly wait to crack it open, and let me tell you, it did NOT disappoint.
Divergent, written by Veronica Roth, is the first novel in a set of three (I love trilogies!). The novel is set in dystopian Chicago, with society now separated into 5 factions based upon their natural human virtues. The five factions are Abignation (selflessness), Dauntless (bravery), Amity (peaceful), Candor(honest) and Erudite (intelligence). People are put into factions on their 16th birthday, based upon their aptitude test scores as well as their natural instincts and desires in a ceremony known as “choosing day.”
The novel follows Beatrice, a natural born Abignation. During the aptitude test and before choosing day, it is revealed to Beatrice that she is what is known as Divergent, a term she has never heard of. This leaves her confused but emboldened, and we follow Beatrice as she makes the decision to leave her natural born faction and join the Dauntless.
In order to become a faction member, the youth must go through initiation, which for Dauntless is broken into three stages. The first stage involves tactile learning of equipment and building strength. This includes weaponry training as well as fighting of fellow initiates to gain rank in the standings. The second stage is based around simulations. Each initiate is put into a “simulation” that forces them to face their own individual fears. The third and final stage requires that the initiates face their “fear landscapes” in front of the Dauntless leaders. Those who conquer their fear landscape the quickest receive the highest points. While 20 or more people go into Dauntless training (including transfers AND natural born Dauntless), only 10 will make it to be a Dauntless member, the rest are left factionless.
We follow Beatrice through each of the stages of initiation. Through her ups and downs in building mental and physical strength, through her development as an individual, and through her relationship with her fellow Dauntless and initiates. This includes a very complicated relationship with Four, a Dauntless initiate trainer and transfer himself (of course, no tale can be without the love story component!).
Right as things are looking good for Beatrice, her curiosity begins to grow and elements about the different factions and leaders are revealed, which lead into an AMAZING culmination of events for story number one.
I did NOT want to put this book down, and was VERY dissapointed when it finished (I literally threw a hissy fit because the book finished but LOOKED like it could have at least a COUPLE more chapters left…).
I LOVE that the novel is set in Dystopian Chicago, but I could be biased with this one. They reference many of the landmarks and some of my favorite Chicago locations, so I had fun reading their interpretation of Chicago in their world.
Just like with Hunger Games, it took me a few chapters to really get into this book. There is important back story that is addressed in the beginning, and, for me personally, those sections always seem to drag a little more than the guts of a good book. With that said, I was still captivated and knew that I was going to get sucked in shortly…
I absolutely adored Beatrice as a main character and adored how they developed her through out the novel. Veronica Roth did a great job depicting a girl at this very emotional and challenging state of life and I found myself rooting for her the entire time. I found myself wondering where I would fall in the factions, and how I would go about handling this dystopian reality if it were me. This resulted in a lot of serious conversations with myself, and some odd dreams, but totally worth the fun thoughts and processes :).
If you like dystopian novels, you will LOVE Divergent, I promise. It is a quick and easy read that does get you to think a little bit. It should also be noted that it is being made into a movie in 2014, so go get the book quick and get some popcorn prepared for the big screen in 2014!