In Veronica Roth’s Divergent, the reader is taken to dystopian Chicago where the city has been broken into five factions: Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Erudite (the intelligent) and Dauntless (the brave). At the age of sixteen, each teenager is given a test at which point they are told which faction best suits them. They are then able to choose to stay with their families or choose another faction. Once their faction is chosen, that is the faction where they will live and work if they pass their initiation. If they don’t, they are considered “factionless”, or homeless. Once you leave your faction, you can’t go back.
Growing up in Abnegation, Beatrice is taught to never want more than she has, to not spend a lot of time looking at herself in mirrors and to always put others before herself. This comes easy for everyone in her family, but her. She wants something more, and when it comes time for her test, she learns that she could feasibly belong to more than one faction which makes her Divergent. What this means exactly she doesn’t know, and she is advised to never speak of it.
Her choice of which faction to live in surprises everyone, including herself. As she trains to be formally initiated into her faction, she discovers that life outside Abnegation is less than easy, and when rumors of an uprising between factions to overthrow the ruling body emerge, she finds herself right in the middle of it all.
I had been waiting for this book for months, so when Tuesday came along and I was finally able to download it, I jumped into dystopian Chicago and didn’t climb back out until I turned the last page. This is a stunning debut novel with a strong lead character. It is full of action, mystery and well-drawn characters. I was completely immersed in this story and I hated to see it end. Thankfully this was the first in a trilogy, so I have two more books on the way. I never felt like the writing was lacking in any way. It flowed well, and every character was well-rounded. I couldn’t help but notice some similarities between one of the questionable “leaders” and a current “refudiating” female politician of current times. This was a dystopian novel that was not hard to believe. I could see all of this happening, which made it all the more engaging.