There’s a reason why dystopian novels have been on the rise lately — they take you out of your head and into a completely different world. There’s nothing quite like being able to lose yourself in a book, and Divergent by Veronica Roth does a wonderful job of taking you away from reality and enveloping you in the story.
Divergent is a wonderful addition to this new genre, it has a fast pace while still managing to hold onto tiny details, such as how Beatrice’s hair falls to the floor as her mother cuts it.
In a post-apocalyptic Chicago, society has been divided into 5 factions, each holding a simple virtue in particular for to them to cultivate.
- Abnegation: believes that selfishness causes the great war that brought down the civilization before them.
- Dauntless: a wild and rambunctious faction that protect the other factions and are taught to be brave, and believe that fear and cowardice caused the great war. They are the protectors, the police and the soldiers.
- Erudite: value knowledge and logic, they are the scientists, doctors, mathematicians, etc. It was formed by those who blame the war that brought down the past civilization on ignorance.
- Candor: the honest, they value the truth above all else, and say that lies and deception causes the great war. They are sometimes inconsiderate, and would rather insult someone than lie to them. They are often leaders in the law, since they are trustworthy and honest.
- Amity: the peaceful. They value kindness and harmony. Their faction is full of music, laughter, hugs and art. They do all the farming for the other factions. They are self-sufficient, forgiving and generally lighthearted people.
At the age of 16, the citizens of each faction takes an aptitude test in order to see which faction they are best fit for (but they don’t have to pick the faction that they get). But there was a problem with Beatrice Prior’s: She was Divergent.
She was was born Abnegation, meaning that she only wears grey clothing, wears her hair back in a bun, and is taught to always put other before herself.
Divergent means that she doesn’t belong in just one faction, she can belong in many. Being Divergent is dangerous, and if it’s revealed she could be killed.
She has never felt right in her faction though, never selfless enough to be a good abnegation women, but leaving would be saying goodbye to her family. She does what no one ever thought the would.
She chooses Dauntless.
The initiation for Dauntless is different than that of the other factions: it is hard, rigorous and dangerous. More often than not, people die. If you don’t make the cut, you become factionless, our equivalent of homeless.
She learns to fight, gets a tattoo and meets new friends along the way with other faction defects like her: Christina, a loudmouth girl from Candor; Al, a kind-hearted boy from Candor who wasn’t keen on hurting people like the others and Will, a former Erudite who once memorized the city map and faction manifestos for fun.
Of course, she meets someone else, too. A leader from the faction named Four, a fascinated and tiring older boy who is hiding many secrets behind his tough exterior. He teaches her how to fight, how to defend, and most importantly, how to hide the fact that she’s Divergent.
But like any good dystopian novel, everything is not what it seems in their society. There’s unrest, a conflict growing deep within the factions that could destroy everything, and Tris is the only person that can change it.
This book is intense, full of action and adventure, with beautifully written fight scenes, and plot-twists that will leave you reeling afterwards, all while still remaining human. Tris is a believable character that anyone can find themselves relating to.
Bottom line: give it a try. It’s an engaged story with characters that feel real and a cute little romance to get you out of your head for a while.