Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place in mortal danger. Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances.
A new favorite series of mine, for sure. When I started this book I was a little hesitant and afraid that it wouldn't live up to the dystopian standards that I still have after reading The Hunger Games (comparing books of the same genre is a fault that I'm trying to eliminate!) However, I was ecstatic to find that Divergent not only met those standards, but surpassed my expectations in every form- plot, characters, action, romance, setting, and writing style.
Veronica Roth has mastered the dystopian feel for this book without constructing a desolate setting or post-apocalyptic world. Although set in the future, the story feels very real to me, in the sense that its the subtleties of the new Chicago that make this story a realistic fiction. Its the crater-like potholes and fear simulations that the main character Tris encounters that add to the dystopic feel of the book and not over-emphasized end-of-the-world descriptions. Although some settings throughout the story do encompass a more abstracted and imaginary feel, such as the Duantless headquarters, it doesn't take away from the realness of the book.
During the story, the main character Tris (formerly Beatrice) has reached the age when she must choose the faction she will live the rest of her life out as. For her, the choice is difficult and the inner struggle between staying with her family and choosing for herself is a relatable battle for any reader. Ultimately, Tris makes the tough decision to change factions and begin a new life as a Dauntless. Leaving behind her family, including her father who disagrees with her choice, Tris faces the dangerous and impossible task of remaining in Dauntless. Formerly part of Abnegation, Tris must forget her selfless ways and envelop herself in the fearless and risk loving ways of the Dauntless, all the while hiding a very dangerous secret.
There are so many aspects of this story that I completely fell in love with. The originality of this book was amazing, especially in a newly popular genre. The plot is fresh and new and I regret trying to compare it to other stories. The character development of Tris was beautifully written and progresses throughout the entire story. Tris is no whiny or helpless heroine which is something I loved about her. She's real and complex and you can't help but root for her. I also can't help falling for the love interest in this story as well. Four is captivating and so swoon-worthy! Its not love at first site between Tris and Four, which was great because we can actually see the relationship between the two characters develop instead of just BAM we're in love and meant to be together forever. (GAG) The plot was also so intense and addicting that with each page you find yourself deeper and deeper in the thick of it all. There were no dull moments and each sequence of events had a purpose.
Overall, Divergent is sitting pretty on my favorites shelf right now and I'm doing my best to wait patiently for the sequel, Insurgent, due April 2012.