Book #27

Divergent by Veronica Roth

In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue. 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 alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are — and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating 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 unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves - or it might destroy her.

This is one of those novels I enjoy at the time, and upon reflection wonder if there was anything of substance there at all.

The prose is engaging, in a similar fashion to other young adult dystopian novels. You launch through the chapters desperate to understand this new world, how it operates, and to see the character behaviours.

I was not Beatrice’s biggest fan. I would not be her friend. Despite growing up in Abnegation, she's the most selfish person in the novel. And I do understand we had to see this to understand her choices, but she just struck me as a wee idiot.

She finds herself in a new landscape, and has to adapt. Everyone around her is markedly different from those she has left behind, and we see her trying to find her place.

The finale felt rushed, despite rubbing my face in a lot of new information, and clearly showed me where the next book is headed. I’m not sure I like the sound of it. I would have preferred more time learning of the factions, seeing inside some of the other compounds, and understanding everyone’s motivations. Maybe I just wanted more Faction High School, I don’t know.

Despite these thoughts, I did inhale this; I sped through the pages like a woman possessed. I plan to read the next instalment as I was enthralled, but on closing the book I wondered what the hell I’d just read.