My Rating: 4.5/5
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Young Adult/Dystopian
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.
My Short Summary: Divergent follows the story of Beatrice (“Tris”) who just turns sixteen and must choose a faction. In this dystopian society, there are five factions that make up the city – each with their own virtue. Beatrice grew up in Abnegation which follows selflessness. They wear grey clothes and always put other people’s needs before their own. Once she turns sixteen she takes an aptitude test to help her determine which faction she should devote herself to. With a bizarre result, Beatrice must decide if staying with her family is something she can do or should she choose a different faction. Once she picks her faction she discovers that the initiation is even harder than the choice she made. During the few weeks of initiation, Beatrice discovers things about herself and the other initiates, but she also finds out something is going on in the city. Something big that will change everyone’s lives.
Narration: The story is written in first person following Beatrice (“Tris”)
Character Development: Beatrice is an interesting character. For one, she’s a complex character. She is not the pure good heroine that most novels are geared towards. She has a rebel side, a compassionate side, a fearful side, etc. This is shown early through the aptitude test and continues throughout the novel. She is just like any other teenager who is trying to find herself while trying to fit in. Her characteristics balance out well, and the reader can slowly see the change in her attitudes and beliefs as the novel progresses.
Four is also very similar to Beatrice in his character. Yes, his name is Four – like the number. For me, this makes it difficult to read some of the sentences because my mind is trying to use the concepts of numbers/counting rather than a name. This is the only downside I had for this main character. Two things that I would have liked to have seen with the character are: More information on Beatrice’s family (mother, father, brother) than what is supplied in this book. Another, I would have liked to seen Jeannine a little more dimensional than what she is portrayed as.
Plot Development/Flow: The story moves along well and is interesting. I read through the book fairly fast. If you are looking for a lot of descriptions and details of the surroundings/people, you might be a little disappointed. I’m not saying there weren’t any, but there is not a lot provided. The book contains more action/plot instead. The story provides some surprises and plot twists that should keep the reader engaged. While ending well, the novel obviously leaves a few things unresolved for the following two books in the trilogy. I’m not usually one for dystopian genres, but my one friend had recommended this book to me a year or two ago, so I decided to give it a shot. (Finally!) I have to say that I’m glad that I read it and will be reading the next two books in the near future.
Standalone or Part of a Series: First book of a trilogy.