Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Series: Divergent #1
Hardcover, 487 pages
Publication: April 25, 2011 by Katherine Tegen Books
Source: From personal library, for my own reading.
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.
I really love Roth’s futuristic Chicago and the idea of having the society split up into five different factions (depending on which quality/trait you posse more of). Once a person turns sixteen they are required to take an aptitude test to determine which faction they will permanently be part of. Beatrice/Tris (later on) our main heroine is from the Abnegation (selfless) Faction but after an inconclusive testing showing she’s divergent (meaning she posses a trait from more than one faction) she joins Dauntless (brave). Things get interesting once Tris starts her initiation, where she and the others initiates are tested physically, emotionally and mentally. The stakes are extremely high because Tris not only has to hide the fact that she’s divergent but she has to successfully pass the test to secure a permanent spot as a Dauntless since there are only 10 available spots. If a person fails their trials they become faction-less; which is like being homeless with jobs such as a truck driver or janitor. For the majority of the book, readers are alongside Tris learning the ins and outs of Dauntless; which I didn’t mind because I got the impression that Dauntless is the most exciting faction of the five.
Tris takes on a major transformation over the course of the book. I love seeing her character grow albeit a bit quick given the book spans, what a couple of weeks? But it still felt realistic given she already carried some of the traits while in Abnegation unconsciously, instead we see her break out of her shy shell. Tris being divergent carried both Abnegation and Dauntless traits and it is these traits that pushed her to be brave and strong. I like Tris, she isn’t like other usual dystopian female leads I’ve read; she wasn’t already strong or skilled from the start instead she learned to develop her strength and skill after practicing and observing others. Tris was beaten up and made fun of constantly and yet she never once backed down or cowered. She took all that anger and put it into beating the other initiates when it came to the trials. I also enjoyed seeing Tris and Four’s relationship development. It was sweet and realistic as it gradually grew. It wasn’t till the end of the book that they were official a couple.
Amazing world building, great characters, and unique plot; what’s not to love about Divergent? I now understand why so many people love this book/series and why this series out sold The Hunger Games. Roth’s did an amazing job in creating such a rich and multifaceted world and I can’t wait to dive into book 2 and 3! The writing and pacing was perfect. I finished this book in less than 2 days which hasn’t happened in a verrrryy long time for any books! I highly recommend this series to everyone. If you haven’t already read it (but again, who am I kidding everyone read it) you definitely won’t regret it.