If you like: dystopian futures * fearless heroines * panic attacks
Divergent is set in future Chicago, where the city is divided into factions based on five different personality characteristics. At sixteen, each individual must choose his or her faction based on instinct and the results of a hallucinogenic personality test. Transferring factions means leaving your family forever, but staying with in the wrong one can lead to failure and becoming factionless. We follow the choices of Tris, who leaves the selfless Abnegation for the bravery of the Dauntless. Things are not as simple as they seem, and quickly the well-defined societal roles begin to unravel.
The realism of Divergent entirely engrossing. Being Dauntless means jumping off seven-story buildings, not flinching when your teacher throws a knife at you, and treating brutality from your peers as though it were support. Though many of the life and death situations Tris experiences, I found my own heart pounding out of my chest with fear and adrenaline. The dystopian future doesn’t seem too far-fetched; it is easy to imagine a world that is divided by personality. No matter how purely intentioned, it seems that greed and power always bleed through and corrupt any system of power. None of the characters seemed inhuman. Though Tris experiences significant violence, it never seems inconceivable.
Divergent is one of the rare books in which I would not change a thing. The story is powerful and believable. There is plenty of mystery and intrigue, without having so much that the people would need to be completely vacuous not to be aware of it. The relationships between the characters are built in an organic way, and do not feel forced or contrived. The plot moves in an interesting direction, and doesn’t telegraph the ending in advance. Tris experiences growth throughout the story, but is very true to herself and her origin. I cannot wait to read the sequel, Insurgent, when it comes out in May.
If jumping out of a moving train sounds like the perfect way to travel, read Divergent.
Roth, Veronica. “Divergent” (Veronica Roth). New York: HarperCollins, 2011. Epub Edition.