Genre: Young Adult
Divergent by Veronica Roth is dystopian young adult fiction. In this degraded Chicago world, there are five factions that make up society; they include Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. Each one dedicates the culture to a certain virtue: honesty, selflessness, bravery, kindness, and knowledge respectively.
Beatrice Prior, the protagonist, is a sixteen year old girl that has grown up in the Abnegation faction. Since she is sixteen, she must choose a faction that she’ll remain in the rest of her life. This is decided through a test all students must take in order to properly choose. After taking the test, she finds that she is different from the other students and must keep it a secret if she wants to live. Beatrice is given a difficult choice between her family and a new life in a different faction. She makes her decision and goes on to train to fit in with society. Beatrice discovers that her world is being threatened, and she must try to save the ones she loves and cares about.
While reading, it’s fairly obvious that this book is intended to be a trilogy because some information is left out, such as learning more about each faction instead of only the overall idea of the different factions. It would have been nice to learn more about the history of how the factions were created and what caused the factions to be formed. A little more world development would have added even more to the novel and would have helped the reader create the world in his or her head.
Besides world development, character development is lacking in the two main characters, Beatrice and Four. I felt that Beatrice or Tris, as she later refers to herself, didn’t develop within this novel. She didn’t seem to grow as a character, and sometimes, her choices didn’t make a lot of sense (e.g. her shooting a particular person when she could have wounded him/her). I know there was a certain reason why she had to, but it should have been explained sooner. As for Four, he was a bit of a cliché that occurs in young adult books. He’s a handsome, older guy that has a dark past that haunts him, and he instantly fell for the protagonist.
After watching a few interviews with the author, there was one piece of information that I found to be quite interesting in one of her interviews. She was asked, “What do you enjoy about writing for teen readers?” Her response was that teenagers tend to look at the story as a story and do not interpret everything as adults do. While I agree with this in some aspects, I also disagree with it. I find that the best young adult books are the ones that can be enjoyed by teenagers and adults. Interpretation gives the story a different perspective.
I will say that I did enjoy reading Divergent for its entertainment value, but it wasn’t one of my favorite books. I’ve read that the second book Insurgent starts off right where the first one stopped and that it explains more about the factions. I’ll most likely continue to read the trilogy to see how the story progresses and to see if the following books can fill in the holes that the first book left.
My Rating: ★★★