Here we go again, another dystopian young adult adventure novel. I'm pretty selective about which young adult books I pick to read since it's become a genre itself. Divergent has been out for awhile now and I've heard good things from by brother and friends. I decided this was one I would commit to (commit meaning read the entire series). The movie will be coming out soon and the 3rd book is in the works, so I thought this would be the perfect time, giving me just the right amount of time to read both the 1st and 2nd books before the movie and then finishing the 3rd after the movie comes out. From the hype I've heard from my loved ones, most enjoyed it just as much and if not more than The Hunger Games. I will try not to go straight to that comparison though since the books are different enough and it wouldn't be fair to Veronica Roth who has come up with her own very imaginative world and story.
The story follows Beatrice (nicknamed Tris) during her vastly important year of testing and training in a faction that she selects. This dystopian world is divided into factions, each one relying on a certain virtue. Candor is honesty, Abnegation is selfless (this is the faction Tris was brought up under), Dauntless is brave (this is the faction Tris picks to become), Amity is peaceful and Erudite is intelligence. Every sixteen year old goes through a test that determines which faction they would be good in (kind of like the sorting hat in Harry Potter) but this does not determine the faction they'll be in... No, they get to choose whichever one they want! After they choose, they might not even become part of that faction. They have to go through a series of tests and training to determine if they'll be a member, if they don't pass they become factionless (which is not an ideal outcome). What if the test is inconclusive and can't place someone in just ONE faction, they are called divergent (wink, wink... book title!).
My thoughts on all of this? I like the ideas of factions even though I think most people would be considered divergent, but maybe in this dystopia people are more linear? I know for a fact that most people in OUR world wouldn't be placed in just one virtue, but can I see this happening if forced upon us? What if we were brought up in a certain faction and this now brings up the nurture vs nature argument. Are we born with those virtues or is it something we learn through our experiences growing up. I really enjoyed the idea of this world but didn't quite fall in love with the aligning yourself with any one faction, it's too linear and simple for me. Also, looking at the age someone is forced to select a faction, this seems way too young for me. Almost like how we have to choose a major WAY to early to know what we want to do with our entire life! Teens are head-strung and rebellious by nature and I feel more of them would switch factions just to be get away and do something more adventurous. Why wouldn't Dauntless be more compelling than Abnegation?! Maybe that's just me though.
My biggest problem with this book had to do with Tris, the main character. She was infuriating throughout the entire freakin thing! She has all these people who seem to care about her (mother, friend, and potential boyfriend) who keep telling her to be careful and not tell anyone about her test results and how dangerous it could be. Does she listen to them? NOT AT ALL! She goes around like a dummy, extremely careless and you just know she'll be getting herself into deep doo doo at some point. I know this makes for good drama but I absolutely hate it when the Author does it at the main characters expense. We're suppose to like her, not hate every move she makes. Overall the book is exciting, action packed, suspenseful, and really original (even though everyone is comparing it to other dystopian books). I look forward to reading the next one and can only hope Tris has smartened up a bit and won't keep making dumb mistakes.