Divergent by Veronica Roth
In a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.
Divergent is my absolute favorite from the new class of dystopians. It has serious charisma and style, and I’m certain that this series is the beginning of a long and prolific career for debut novelist Veronica Roth. I had serious “holy shizz did I just THINK that???” moments where I wondered whether this book is better than the Hunger Games. I think I still like Hunger Games better (maybe…..still waffling), but the fact that I even wondered this speaks to Divergent’s charms.
Why is this book such a dystopian knock-out?
A badass heroine
You guys know I’m a sucker for well-written heroines that you sympathize with, admire, and even secretly want to BE a little (except for the teensy downside that they always seem to be thrown into horrific circumstances).
Tris is an unconventional gal and doesn’t take well to the Hogwarts House style sorting ceremony. During her virtual test, she has abnormal results indicating that she may belong to two factions, Dauntless, a kickass, thrill-seeking warrior style tribe, and the faction she grew up in, Abnegation, where she will spend her life helping other and keeping selfless ways. She makes her decision and without spoiling the book, let’s just say everything she does from that moment on takes steely determination and wits. Because the factions are not all at peace, and it may take a Divergent way of thinking to see the truth.
Four is Tris’s instructor in her faction, and during her initiation she undergoes vigorous training and tests that put her into constant contact with him. They are so evenly matched and similar in their sheer will to be better versions of themselves, and ultimately, they have more in common than they know….
Also the kissing is smokin’ hot!
Matrix style virtual reality
The faction initiation training sessions provide an assortment of nightmare-inducing scenarios, and the absolute take-over-your-reality presence is even more frightening as the story progresses, because it doesn’t seem to end with training.
The arena style thrill of competition
The stakes for Tris and her fellow trainees are high. If they are in the top rated portion of their group, they belong to the faction as full members. If not, they are outcasts, factionless. There’s no do-overs, no going back. So they have every incentive to intimidate each other, and try to take each other out. It’s not as openly barbaric as The Hunger Games, but every bit as stimulating when it comes to strategy.
Most dystopians rely on one or more individuals questioning their society’s controlling ways. In this case, only the most free-thinking individuals, the Divergents, actually have any hope of overcoming the well-plotted out domination scheme. And Tris might be the most individual character in the book, so a lot of power and responsibility is on her shoulders, and it is so thrilling to see what she does with it.
Check out this trailer for Divergent:
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