Dystopia is one of my favourite genres, and Divergent does not disappoint. It totally knocked my socks off, and I am kicking myself for waiting so long to read it!
This dystopian society contains five factions, which developed as a result of people’s blame of different personality flaws for the world’s downfall: Amity (who are kind and loving towards others and blame aggression), Erudite (who seek to educate themselves because they blame ignorance), Candor (who are brutally honest because they blame schemers), Abnegation (who are completely selfless because they blame selfishness), and Dauntless (who are fearless because they blame cowards). The factions all have their own rules of dress, behaviour, food, and shelter.
When a person reaches 16 years of age, she will undergo an aptitude test which involves a simulation to determine which faction she will belong to. The subject is presented with different scenarios and options. How the subject chooses to respond to each scenario will eventually eliminate a faction. The test continues until just one is left. The person then needs to make a choice to either remain in the faction that she was raised in or transfer into another faction. The person does not necessarily have to choose the faction that was the outcome of the aptitude test. Rather, it reveals to the subject their propensity towards one faction over another. Faction transfers are often frowned upon by both the faction they have deserted and the one that they have joined. They often have to prove themselves that they are worthy of the new faction, since they have been raised in a completely different manner with different ideals. Each faction transfer must endure an initiation.
The protagonist of the story is Beatrice “Tris” Pryor, who is a 16 year-old teenager. She was raised in the Abnegation faction and is facing her upcoming aptitude test. Putting all others before herself has never come easily to her. Her older brother, Caleb, makes it seem so easy. Tris struggles with it, and she has always felt like she never really fit in. Her natural instinct is her curious nature, which has been stifled by Abnegation’s rules.
The results of Tris’ aptitude test are inconclusive. The tester reveals to her that she has equal aptitude for Abnegation, Erudite, and Dauntless. These results are rare, and she is warned not to discuss the results with anyone because it would be dangerous for her. Tris is faced with a monumental decision to either stay with her family in Abnegation or join another faction.
Roth’s world-building had me utterly engrossed. I loved the segregation of the society into different factions and how different each one was from the others. I loved Tris, and I could relate to her. Her strength and courage makes her such a great role model. I loved how she evolved and came into her own. I also really enjoyed the budding romance with her love interest, Four!
This is a fantastic YA dystopian with non-stop action, and it was difficult to put it down! I cannot wait to read the next book in the series, Insurgent, which was released last year.
I have really enjoyed the last few books narrated by Emma Galvin (including Kresley Cole's Poison Princess and Jamie McGuire's Beautiful Disaster), and this one is no exception. She was believable as teenage Tris, and she didn’t overdo the characterizations. She has a clear voice, which is easy to listen to, and her pace is bang-on. A great narrator draws you into the story and makes it even more intense, and Galvin certainly achieved this!