Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Book #27 - Divergent
Book #27: Divergent by Veronica Roth
I seem to be on a Young Adult novel kick lately, so if you're not interested in them I apologize! The next book I'm going to read is an adult non-fiction book so it will be a change of pace. =)
I read this book for a book club at my town library that will be meeting next week. If you do happen to get your hands on the book and read it by the 14th, message me for details about the club, and come talk about it with me and the other members! It is a book club where adults read YA books, seeing as popularity for doing such has grown since the Hunger Games trilogy. This will be my first meeting with the club and I'm excited to discuss such an amazing book!
Divergent actually reminded me of the Hunger Games a bit. It takes place presumably in the future, and the country is divided into groups, as in HG, though the groups are called "factions" instead of "districts", and there are five instead of twelve. The factions all have names and specific kinds of people who live there. Dauntless is for the brave. Abnegation is for the selfless. The peaceful live in Amity. The intelligent live in Erudite. And in Candor are the honest. A person is born into whatever faction his or his parents live in, and will live there and learn the faction's ways until he or she is 16. One day a year (which reminds me of the Reaping Day in HG), all of the 16-year olds of every faction must attend a Choosing Ceremony, attended by practically everyone. A few days prior to this, they must all undergo a simulated test that indicates to which faction they truly belong. How the teens react to the simulated situations shows what they value, and therefore, which faction they would do best in. The test results are not binding; if someone doesn't like the results they get, they may choose a different faction. However, the test is the most truthful representation of the person's real self. The decision to remain in the faction into which you have been born and raised, or to switch to another, is not to be taken lightly. Your faction becomes your family. In fact, the saying "faction before blood" crops up several times throughout the novel. If someone chooses to leave their original faction for another, they are shunned and viewed as a traitor by their hometown and family.
So, the novel opens a few days before the Choosing Ceremony, and Beatrice Prior is freaking out. She has grown up in Abnegation for 16 years, along with her brother of the same age. Abnegation values selflessness above all else. It's taken very seriously; they may only wear grey, and no adornments of any kind, such as jewelry, because it draws attention to one's self. They can rarely look in mirrors, and spend their lives helping others, and never putting themselves first. Children who have not yet gone through the Choosing Ceremony cannot even ask questions at the dinner table. Beatrice has tried for 16 years to fit in and be selfless, but she doesn't feel that it's who she truly is. Her simulated test results show that she is not cut out to only be Abnegation, or any other faction. She is Divergent, meaning she is equal parts of more than one faction. Apparently, she is told, this is very dangerous, and she should not share this information with anyone, though why, she knows not. When it comes to the Choosing Ceremony, Beatrice is unsure whether she should stay in Abnegation with her family, or become a "traitor" for choosing her own path. After her choice, comes a brutally challenging initiation into the faction, that not every "initiate" will be able to make it through. Throughout these challenges, Beatrice must keep her true Divergent identity a secret, for reasons she doesn't understand, as she tries to find out which of her fellow initiates she can trust.
This book was absolutely incredible. I devoured the almost 500 pages in 2 days. This book reminds me a lot of the Hunger Games, but it also stands on its own as an amazing new novel. The second book in the trilogy, Insurgent just came out last month, and there's one more coming presumably sometime next year, so here's another series to get hooked on if you've finished HG and are waiting impatiently for Catching Fire to come out in film version.
The world of this novel was so interesting to me. I found myself wondering which faction I identified with the most, and the least, and what my worst fears are. I wondered how the world could get to this point, where it would be divided into these five groups that each value only one honorable trait, rather than trying to combine all of them - honesty, bravery, peacefulness, selflessness and intelligence. What would be the benefit of dividing all of these? Why would being Divergent (having strong traces of two or more of these traits) be so dangerous? Divergent answered as many questions as it left me with, and I can't wait to read Insurgent, book two in the trilogy. I have become quite attached to Beatrice, or Tris as she renames herself, and I am interested in following her throughout the next two books. This series will probably appeal obviously to any Hunger Games lover, but also to those interested in politics, psychology, and even romance. Yes there are hints of romance in this story, but I won't say any more than that. I guess you'll just have to read the book and find out for yourself what happens. =)