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.
Original Language: English
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication Date: May 3, 2011
Page Count: 496
Veronica Roth's debut is a fantastic and thrilling new addition to the genre of YA dystopian novels. Divergent could rival The Hunger Games for my new favourite in the genre. I'll wait for the series to end before I make the decision though.
Roth has created a charming and unique heroine in Beatrice 'Tris' Prior. She is honest, courageous, intrepid and curious. Her insecurities make her real, and easy to relate to while her determination to be strong and overcome her previous identity as an Abnegation, or a 'Stiff' as her new Dauntless faction family call her.
Tris is different from most new sixteen year old initiates - when she undergoes her test to find out which faction is most suited to her, she finds out she is Divergent. Candor (the honest), Erudite (the knowledgeable) and Amity (the kind) are immediately ruled out, but Tris could belong equally to her family faction Abnegation (the selfless) and Dauntless (the fearless). Her decision to leave Abnegation for Dauntless is enough to keep all eyes on her, but her Divergent identity will make her life very dangerous.
The romantic interest isn't forced, but develops slowly though the book. Four is daring, and almost emotionless at times. His dedication to the Dauntless initiates, and disgust with the current Dauntless leadership (and their aggressive tactics) make him super attractive. The way he tries to protect Tris and shows such an obvious weakness for her makes him twice as sexy.
The setting of a dystopian Chicago is a perfect background to Tris' adventure, while the growing dissension between the five factions makes for a fascinating plot. While Divergent acts mostly as a whole lot of background information for the next books, it manages to stand up on its own as a fantastic debut novel.
Divergent will stand out in my mind as one of 2011's best YA reads. The sequel Insurgent is due out in May 2012.
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