Hunger Games fever was in the air a couple of months ago. Although I had read the trilogy months ago, another young adult dystopian novel caught my eye: Divergent by Veronica Roth.
Divergent is set in a dystopian Chicago that is set up into five groups or “factions.” Each faction represents the opposite of the trait that you believe was society’s downfall. The five factions are: Amity (Peace), Erudite (Knowledge), Abdication (Selfless), Dauntless (Courage), and Candor (Honesty). So if you believe that society’s downfall was that man is too selfish, you would be in Abdication.
16-year-old Beatrice (later known as Tris) was born and raised in Abdication, but never felt like she belonged. In fact, one faction in particular was constantly calling out her name.
When the 16-year-olds are tested to see which faction they belong to, Beatrice gets a dangerous result. She’s divergent. That means that there are several factions that Beatrice fits in, in her case, Dauntless, Abdication, and Erudite. On the choosing day, she picks Dauntless, a betrayal in the minds of her original faction.
The story isn’t over there. Dauntless candidates are put through a rigorous initation process because only ten initiates can become members. The rest will die or live on the streets as “Factionless.”
Here are my thoughts on Divergent:
- I thought the writing was decent for a young adult novel. That is, it wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great either. That’s typical of many of the books in this genre. In a way, that’s okay because when I read a book like Divergent, I’m looking for entertainment, not great literature.
- The plotline was gripping enough where I was able to finish the novel in a couple of days, but it also didn’t compel me to stay up all night reading, like many books do. That said, the point of book one in a series is not only to draw the reader in, but also to set up the rest of the series. I’m mildly curious to the extent that I’ll probably read Insurgent at some point, but I don’t feel like I need to read it right away.
- Where this story falls short, in my opinion, is character building. When something happened to the major characters, I didn’t particularly care. This is not the case in most novels I read. In fact, I’ll be upset if a minor character I like dies (Cinna anyone? Or Finnick? Or Cedric Diggory?). Tris is an okay character. I like that she’s a strong female character, but I can’t relate to her desire to be Dauntless. Probably because I’m more of an Erudite.
I’d give this book a B- overall.
Have you read Divergent? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below!