Divergent is a dystopian novel set in a world where humans have divided into five factions that co-exist peacefully, each faction taking charge of one function of government or society. At the age of 16, each person makes the most important choice of their life: which faction to join. Factions are based on which trait one most values: bravery, selflessness, intelligence, honesty, or kindness. Once a person has chosen a faction, the faction is expected to hold the foremost place in their loyalties, even before their family.I wrote that review to avoid even the minor spoiler of which faction Tris chose, so if you haven't read the book and would like to remain unspoiled, you may want to skip the rest of this post.
Beatrice Prior has grown up in Abnegation, the selfless faction which controls the government (because of their selflessness, they are seen as uncorruptible), but Tris doesn't feel like she is selfless enough to spend her life in Abnegation. She struggles with the thought of leaving everything and everyone she has ever known, but choosing her faction is only the first challenge that awaits her. After choosing a faction, teens must pass Initiation -- different for each faction, but challenging and sometimes dangerous. To top it off, Tris may be even more different than she originally suspected . . . and she lives in a world where such differences can get her killed.
This tightly-plotted story will grab readers' attention, pull them in, rush them through heart-pounding action, and leave them breathlessly wanting more. The author doesn't pull any punches, either: Tris's danger feels raw and realistic. The characters are strong and complex, and there's just enough romance to add interest to the story without taking over the central plot. Fans of The Hunger Games will love this book.
I was struck once again, as I had been when I first read the book, about how unsuited I would be for Dauntless, Tris's chosen faction! The description of Dauntless initiation sounds absolutely miserable to me. I'd probably end up in Amity or Abnegation, myself -- though an online quiz I took a while back placed me in Erudite. (Side note: the fact that the faction names don't agree in case bothers me. I mean, shouldn't it be Erudition, to match Amity, Abnegation, Candor -- but then Dauntlessness just sounds dumb. Maybe it should be Dauntless, Erudite, Candid, Amicable, Abnegating? The fact that I am grammar-picking probably indicates that Erudite would, in fact, be the proper faction for me.)
(Reviewed from an advance copy, courtesy of the publisher.)