In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, 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 to determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating 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 a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
I picked this up because I’ve heard a lot about it (particularly in comparison to The Hunger Games) and I like dystopian fiction.
There are definitely similarities between this and HG; dystopian world, female protagonist, personal growth, romance and the scene set for an uprising.
HG Difference: Tris chose to leave for another faction, (arguably selfishness), whilst Katniss chose to save her sister (selflessly). I think that makes Tris a believable character – how many of us have never made a selfish decision?
“We should think of our family…But. But we must also think of ourselves.” Pg 36.
Some readers object to the five factions as arbitrary segregation and unbelievable. However, the logic behind the factions (revealed very briefly later on) is as believable as the HG concept, I think.
Negative reviews also object to the ‘brave’ acts committed by the Dauntless – many are simply stupid. This is one criticism I absolutely agree with, however the story suggests Dauntless has deviated from the ideal: stupid thrill-seeking is not the aim, but is plot-relevant.
I enjoyed Divergent, but I don’t know if it’ll make my Top #10 Reads this year. Probably the Top #20 though.
Buy it? I’d buy it on a deal – 2 for £7, buy 2 get 1 free etc.
In a nutshell: A quick, easy, enjoyable read, worth a look given the hype.