I’m not sure who recommended I read Divergent by Veronica Roth, and I don’t care. Well, maybe I should so I could send them a thank you note. Divergent is the first book in a young adult series by author Veronica Roth. The story is set in a dystopian society divided into five factions – Erudite, Amity, Candor, Abnegation, and Dauntless. The official synopsis according to Barnes & Noble states:
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, 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 alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating 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 unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
What I enjoyed about Divergent is that the main character Tris, isn’t a Mary Sue (clean slate) character. Though I often found myself trying to see life through her eyes, the choices she sometimes makes made it hard for me to do that. I like that. I like not being able to guess her reactions all the time. I won’t lie and say there weren’t some things that I foresaw early on. I did. But this didn’t take away from my enjoyment. Just when I thought the story would go in one direction, it would go in another.
One thing that I think people may find fault with is the logic of the various villains in the book. Roth never really gives a satisfying answer for their behavior. This may be problematic for some, but I actually found it refreshing. Sometimes it’s better not to have everyone’s motives laid out. I think this makes the villains more dangerous. Like in life, we don’t always understand why people do the things they do.
Another aspect of the book that I liked was the romance. It wasn’t the typical, sappy, “I can’t live without him” love that is prevalent in YA novels today. Instead, you had two young people unsure how they can fit love into their complicated lives. In fact, Tris and Four are so mature, I tended to forget they were supposed to be 16 and 18 years old. I liked the fact that two people could fall in love, but not let it be their reason for living. That they were well-rounded people who also had friends, families, and other responsibilities. After all the Twilight and The Vampire Diaries stories filling young girls with the idea that love should be all-consuming, Tris and Four’s romance is refreshing indeed.
Because I’m so captivated with the world Roth has created, I’ve gone ahead and downloaded the second book in the trilogy, Insurgent. I hope it’s a good as the first! The downside is it was just published, which means I’ll have to wait for her to write the third book. Boo!