Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (May 3, 2011)
Beatrice Prior lives in a dystopian Chicago where all sixteen-year-olds must choose where they belong in a society broken up by factions:
“Decades ago our ancestors realized that it is not political ideology, religious belief, race or nationalism that is to blame for a warring world. Rather they determined that it was the fault of human personality–of humankind’s inclination toward evil, in whatever form that is. They divided into factions that sought to eradicate those qualities they believed responsible for the word’s disarray.” My eyes shift to the bowls in the center of the room. What do I believe? I do not know; I do not know; I do not know. Those who blamed aggression formed Amity.” The Amity exchanged smiles. They are dressed comfortably, in red or yellow. Every time I see them, they seem kind, loving, free. But joining them has never been an option for me. “Those who blamed ignorance became the Erudite.” Ruling out Erudite was the only part of my choice that was easy. “Those who blamed duplicity created Candor.” I have never liked Candor. Those who blamed selfishness made Abnegation.” I blame selfishness; I do. And those who blamed cowardice were the Dauntless.”
I thought that passage really explained a lot about the factions that Beatrice must choose from. Does she choose to be loyal to her family and faction or live on the streets with the factionless? What follows is an extremely difficult decision… to be selfless or brave enough to follow her own path. There is also an initiation process that of course is not easy at all. I felt like I was reading about an episode of American Gladiators…but not even broken up by gender. You know, the whole taking on contenders by a test of stamina, strength and heart thing. It’s like that, but extreme. Not only is she trying to get through all the tests, she’s trying to stay under the radar because of a secret that could be the death of her and others.
Beatrice doesn’t really know where she belongs and I feel anyone would feel that way. We as the reader can relate to her. I mean how do you honor only one virtue or trait above others? And what I love is that she isn’t bitchy…but definitely bitchin’. I mean she has to put up with a lot, but she’s not mean about it. And she comes from the faction the least liked: Abnegation, but even she struggles with selflessness. It’s something awesome.
There are a lot of Hunger Game comparisons going on, and I can see why, dystopia, wicked awesome protagonist who has to make tons of hard decisions, hot helpful boys. Really though, Divergent is a book all its own. But besides being a really good book, and well paced; it really makes you think. Plus, I really love the idea of the different factions. Candor (honest), Abnegation (selfless), Dauntless (brave), Amity (peaceful/kind) and the Erudite (smart.)
A great dystopian read. What house do you think you’d be in?