Divergent takes place in the Chicago area during an untold time in the future. Everyone is divided into one of five factions: Abnegation (the selfless), Erudite (the intelligent), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Candor (the honest). Every year, all the sixteen-year-olds take an aptitude test to determine which faction they belong in, and shortly after taking the test, they pick their faction and undergo initiation. However, for Beatrice “Tris” Prior, her aptitude test results are inconclusive, thus making her “divergent”, an unusual and dangerous thing to be. She chooses the Dauntless faction, and from there, she must survive the risky initiation process while hiding the fact that she is divergent. Meanwhile, tensions between the Erudite and Abnegation factions increase, hinting at a possibility at a faction-wide war.
The recent trend in dystopian teen novels continues, and although I’ve found it to be getting old, I had no qualms against Divergent. It’s been likened to The Hunger Games with its futuristic setting and empowered female protagonist, but it is most definitely not an imitation. Although Veronica Roth is a new author (Divergent being her first novel), she writes with the ease of a seasoned writer.
My favorite aspect of the novel would have to be Tris’s character. She’s not a perfect person and has many flaws, but she knows this and understands this. She can be selfish, unruly, stubborn, and overly talkative, but she is also brave and intelligent and understanding. Her character development over the course of Divergent can be seen clearly with each passing page. She’s a complex protagonist, growing and maturing throughout the story.
There’s a little bit of everything in Divergent, not overly abundant in any one category. It’s part action, mystery, love story, adventure, science fiction; in short, even if dystopian novels aren’t your favorite genre, there’s something for everyone in it. There are different subplots within the plot, which all converge in the end. Despite it being over 500 pages, it’s a thrill ride of a book, with rarely any dull points. You’ll grow attached to the different characters, and sometimes it will feel like the events in the story are actually happening to you.
Divergent is the first book in the Divergent trilogy, followed by Insurgent. The conclusion, Allegiant, will be available . There are also four short stories told from the perspective of Four, another character in the Divergent series. A movie is also in production, starring Shailene Woodley as Tris, Theo James as Four, and Kate Winslet as Jeanine Matthews. The movie will be released in late March of 2014.
Review by Kaitlyn San Miguel on September 6, 2013