Divergent – Book Review

Divergent – Book Review

“I believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.”

The appeal of dystopian novels is the “what if” factor. What if the world ended and there were only a few humans left? What if after a hundred years of living, people began to show signs of supernatural abilities? What if the world started having competitions where children were forced to kill one another in order to have their families have food for the rest of the year? It’s those kinds of questions that people crave to have answered, without actually going through it themselves. It is with the power of books and storytelling that these questions can be explored in their own universe.

So what if the remaining humans in the world decided that the best way to keep control over society was by categorizing them into five specific character traits?

This is where Divergent comes in to play, and the world that author Veronica Roth created. Each person has to choose which group they want to belong to: Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, and Erudite. Each group is known for a specific trait: Abnegation is selfless, Amity is peaceful, Candor is honest, Dauntless is brave, and Erudite is intelligent. These groups are called Factions, and this kind of society has been working for as long as they can remember. “Faction before blood” is their mantra, for even though one can be born to a certain faction, on their sixteenth birthday they can decide whether to stay in their born faction or more on to a different one. But once they choose, they can never change their decision, or they risk being factionless, without a home or family ever again. In a city that used to be Chicago, society is functioning as well as could be expected in the wake of a decaying world.

Beatrice Prior, born into the Abnegation faction, doesn’t feel quite so selfless as the rest of her family. She feels like maybe something is wrong with her for feeling this way. Why should she not be as selfless as her family when they are all Abnegation? She spends her spare moments watching the Dauntless kids, the ones who her father believes are wild animals because they frequently do daring acts that no other faction would do. Like jump on and off moving trains for example. But that’s just who they are, and Dauntless are the brave after all. Beatrice turns 16 and it’s finally time for her to take her aptitude test, the one that will tell her which faction she belongs to. But when the time comes and the test is finally over, she hears that her results were inconclusive, that she has an equal chance of being Abnegation, Dauntless, and Erudite. How can that be? Is she the only one that has been like this before?

And what exactly does being Divergent mean?

After finding out what she did about her, and knowing that she’s not allowed to discuss her results to anyone else, she has to make a choice on where she wants to be for the rest of her life. Will she stay in Abnegation, where she already feels out of place? Or will she take a chance and become a Dauntless, following her dream of getting out there and doing something with her life? Will her family be okay with her decision? Will she be okay with it? Will this decision change her life forever?

By changing the course of her life forever, by choosing to jump on a train and become a Dauntless initiate, Beatrice transforms herself into Tris, and her new life is born. She goes through many trials, both physical and mental, in order to prove herself to be worthy of being in this faction. She goes from being the girl that was born to stay out of people’s way, to being a target to those who see her as a threat. And while part of that reason may be because she’s been labeled as “Divergent”, it’s also because Tris herself is an enigma that the rest of the world doesn’t know how to handle. She is more than just brave, more than just selfless. She is everything that the society has based their world on, not just one or the other; those that want power just don’t know how to keep her in check, and that’s what makes her so dangerous to them.

I really enjoyed this book, and I’m glad I finally got to read it after seeing the movie when it first came out. It gave me a different perspective going into the book, and it actually made me appreciate the movie even more. I feel like Book-Tris and Movie-Tris had their differences, but I won’t discuss that on this post. Look for my Book vs. Movie post for Divergent, hopefully coming out soon.

Rated: 5/5 Stars

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