Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release: April 25, 2011
Others in the Series: Insurgent and Allegiant
Why did it take me so long to read this book?In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, 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 to determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating 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 a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves... or it might destroy her.
Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series--dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.
That thought ran through my head on repeat while I read Divergent, quieting when the plot forced it out of the way, but still echoing faintly in the back of my mind. When I first heard about Roth's debut, I had minimal interest and did not plan to read it, but its popularity eventually convinced me. And now, after experiencing this book's creative dystopian world and heart-pounding action, I am so glad I finally it a chance.
One of the most important aspects of dystopia is the author's ability to show readers why his or her futuristic society is different from those that came before it. In a trilogy, book one should establish the foundation of this world, explaining its intricacies and showing why the characters need to overthrow it. Divergent does a fantastic job of building a unique system of factions, creating a setting that rings with real-life references and rots with enough corruption that readers will cheer for reform.
At first, the world Roth creates is relatable. Children are born into their parents' factions and must stay there, living a lifestyle their parents chose, whether they like it or not. If they decide to switch to another faction when they turn 16, they have to adapt to new people, new customs, new responsibilities, and a new way of life. This setup closely mirrors real teenagers' realities: living based on adults' choices until they move out and experience the shock that comes with being on their own. Readers will connect with the protagonist's internal struggles as she comes to terms with the fact that she will never be selfless enough to belong in her parents' faction.
Even better, however, is the not-so-realistic aspect of Divergent's faction system. Many characters are slightly over-characterized, but intentionally so. Citizens of this book's society can display one defining character trait—honesty, selflessness, bravery, peacefulness, or intelligence—and the leaders of a faction do not approve of those who dare to demonstrate more than one. The government's oppressive attempt to compartmentalize its people provides the perfect motivation for a rebellion, and I cannot wait to watch the characters fight against it in the upcoming books.
After reading such a solid series setup complete with action and romance on the side, I am beyond ready to launch into Insurgent and Allegiant and presumably watch Roth deconstruct the society she builds so impeccably in Divergent. This trilogy begs for a binge-read, and I plan to pick up book two as soon as possible.