Written by: Veronica Roth
Paperback: 487 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
February 2012, $8.99
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Young Adult
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, 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 alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating 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 unrest and growing conflict that threaten 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 love dystopia. I know I have said it before, but the sub genre makes me all warm and fuzzy which is odd since usually it means something went terribly wrong. Society, the universe, our world...well things are not as we know it. Of course the best young adult dystopia in the past few years was the Hunger Games and it was also a trilogy. So everyone is trying to duplicate that success. Can you blame them? And why not? People are in love with dystopian fiction and we also dig the trilogy (love the beginning, middle and end without 12 books in a series).
Things I loved: This was a great book for book club because it brought up some really nice discussions. In the end if you had to choose one faction which would you choose? Erudite seems nice, the intellectuals and the teachers, the librarians and scientists. They value knowledge above all else, but arent always careful about how they get that knowledge. Amity faction are the happy little peacemakers, the Switzerland of Tris’s society. They are funny, full of mirth, but they are also judge and jury so be careful. being painfully fair and neutral may not be the best thing ever. So then we have Abnegation, selfless to a fault, always putting the needs and welfare of others before your own. Nice girl and kind, yes I am both of those things, but also admittedly a bit selfish. The fourth faction is Candor, the truth speakers. They value honesty, a nice value, but would you be able to pass a lie detector test and reveal every skeleton in the closet and darkest fears? Finally, you have the Dauntless, the fearless. Would you join them? Would you be brave enough?
But choosing a faction isn't that easy. Its kind of like star signs, horoscopes and those personality tests you are always taking. Sure some times you fit in categories and other times you realize you don’t fit in just one because lets face it we are all a bit more rounded, a bit more balanced and diverse in our own personalities. In the end we are all a bit Divergent.
At first I didn’t embrace Tris. She wasn’t as strong as I wanted her to be or as questioning. But I grew to like her. One minute she was brave, the next she doubted herself. She could be reckless and childish, curious and honest. She was truly Divergent and I dug that. Props to Veronica Roth who wrote this when she was twenty-one. I am not that cool. Crafty and creative in other parts of my life, but not as a writer. I also liked Four. He’s a good guy. In fact I liked him more than most most of the characters sometimes. But most of all I liked how many questions I had, how it kept me hooked and lately that is kind of hard to do.
Things I didn’t love so much: There are almost too many unanswered questions. I am hoping that those answers will be explored and answered though in the remaining two books. Questions such as what is beyond the walls? How has the rest of society as we know it fared? When and how did the factions come into being? Why are there factionless and what is their purpose? Who runs the train? Why does no one question anything? I have to ask these questions, I cannot just blindly accept the world like everyone else does.
The odd thing about this book is that a society built on segregation (the factions) and all that comes with it (discrimination, inequality, etc) only promotes chaos and discord. It just doesn’t work. In fact I don’t know how their society really functions at all. But despite this I let it go because the story was still fun. The trails, the action scenes, the simulations and the tests were all very engaging.
However, despite everything I loved about this book, there was something missing to make this a truly awesome book. It was a good, quick read. I liked the characters, but I wasn’t completely invested in them. I liked the action and the overall plot, but it wasn’t all that I wanted it to be. In a way it is a little predictable and follows the pre-requisite steps of most dystopian fiction with a little bit of flair. But as I said there was something missing for me to put it up there with that other trilogy. And yet I am already 6 chapters into Insurgent and I plan to finish the trilogy and keep it on my hallowed bookshelves.
Buy or Borrow: Buy
Part of: A Series
Also Recommended: Matched, Delirium and Wither. Of course the Hunger Games. But I would also recommend classics like Brave New World and 1984.
3.5 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks
The Soundtrack for this Post: Glitch Piano Album by Torley Wong