Published by Harper Collins on May 3rd, 2011
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian
Format: Print, Hardcover
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.
So, it’s been a while since I read this book, but I’m going to try my best to remember my thoughts about this book. The Divergent series is one of my friend’s favourite series, and I always wanted to give it a go but I put off reading it. The more I put off reading it, the more I thought I really wouldn’t enjoy it. I hadn’t read YA in a while when I finally decided to pick this one up, and the ending had already been spoiled for me but I picked it up anyway, and ended up reading it really quickly. I gave this book 3 stars because I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would, but I didn’t absolutely love it. I was actually quite surprised how hooked I was.
We follow the main character, Beatrice Prior, a 16 year old girl who is a member of the Abnegation faction. The members of Abnegation live a very simple life. They wear grey robes, which are plain, like everything else about their lifestyle. Their food, their houses, the rest of their appearance. The members of Abnegation are considered selfless. The lifestyle in Abnegation is very simple, they don’t place emphasis on material possessions We learn all about the other factions and the way that their values are. Each faction has a different sort of culture, and values that they hold based on the five personality traits. Each trait makes up a separate faction, which behave differently based on the trait.
The rules of the factions are very strict, and the individuals in this society don’t have a lot of choice in the way they act, and even how they think. They are supposed to conform to the rules of their society, and as per the typical dystopian plot, the main character feels as if she’s an outsider and that she doesn’t belong in the Abnegation faction. This is definitely an aspect of the novel that has been done before, the main character is always the outsider. They’re different or special, and are tasked with taking down the corrupt government. While the idea of the factions was interesting, I don’t really think the plot was super groundbreaking.
The way the society is set up in this world is very interesting. I enjoyed learning about the different factions and all the characteristics that made up each one. Though, I do think it is a bit ridiculous to classify people based on a few singular aspects of their personality. Because personality varies so much, the children of each family must take part in the Choosing Ceremony when they reach the age of 16. The ceremony includes a series of tasks examines all the aspects of their personality, to see which faction they belong in. This book reminded me a bit of The Hunger Games, but I think it’s because the factions reminded me of the different districts, and the very obviously corrupt government.
There was a lot of world building within this book, which is understandable because it’s the beginning of the series and everything needs to be set up. But I was so intrigued. The society definitely isn’t one that you could see as being plausible in the future. It doesn’t have that creep factor that dystopians can have when you think about how the world could end up this way. In fact, the world is really bizarre, and I think that’s what kept me intrigued. I wanted to know what weird things the factions would do. The Dauntless faction is by far the most bizarre. I didn’t understand how they could just behave like complete idiots and call themselves “fearless.” However, by the end of novel, you begin to understand what’s happening to the government and the factions.
Even though I found myself rolling my eyes a few times at the faction’s views and some of the character’s behaviour, I still found the characters likeable. I sometimes have a hard time relating to the characters when I read YA now. I feel like I can’t really get into their heads and really empathize with them. I was actually invested in the characters while I was reading, and I cared what happened to them and wanted to know more. I was also really rooting for Four and Tris to become a thing, even though I do wish that YA could be devoid of romance just once. The main character doesn’t always need to have a love interest.
Some parts seems slightly slower than some others, but I think that has to do with the world building and information that the author had to give us. Around the end of the book was when things started to get interesting. I really didn’t see the ending coming, the fact that the Dauntless were trying to use the initiates as soldiers. WHAT? So good!
Overall, I would recommend this book. I think if you like dystopian YA, I think you’d enjoy this. I plan on finally continuing the series (almost a year later), and I’ll be posting a review as soon as I do. Let me know if you’ve read it, or if you’re interested in reading it. Also, if you’d like to purchase this book, feel free to do so through my Book Depository affiliate link here.