Series: Divergent, #1
Author: Veronica Roth
Pages: 487 (Hardcover)
Release Date: May 3, 2011
In a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.
I absolutely loved the idea of factions! It seems like something likely to happen after a major event to put everyone in nice little boxes, and keep order. However, I felt like the factions were just over-exaggerated stereotypes. I had a hard time believing that people would behave that way without brainwashing. For example what does having 37 piercings and jumping out of a speeding train have to do with bravery? Nothing, it's just reckless. If they're the ones who are suppose to protect the people, why are they behaving in a way that's likely to get them maimed and killed? Also, how is self defensive and eating hamburgers self indulgent or selfish? It just doesn't make any sense to me. And I'm pretty sure you don't need hipster glasses to pursue knowledge, especially if you have perfect vision.
Sure bravery and selflessness are great qualities to value, but the level of exaggeration of their actions (or inaction) bothered me. This one-mindedness was briefly acknowledged towards the end, but the explanation just wasn't good enough. I never was able to accept this world and it hindered my enjoyment of the novel.
I did like Tris though. She had her own thoughts and opinions, and didn't follow the one-track mindedness of the factions. But I suppose there wouldn't be a story if she was just another faction member. She was something known as "divergent" but what that means, no one knows, but it might get her killed if anyone finds out. It's a super interesting concept, but we don't get many answers about what exactly divergence is or why it happens. Perhaps in future books?
Divergent does end on a cliffhanger, which is the only reason why I'll probably read the second book. Maybe there will be some more world building that can explain more of why things are the way they are. Plus I'd like to see more of the Amity faction, which seems like it will be a bigger part of the next book.