As a fan of dystopian novels since the days that I read Fahrenheit 451 and Brave New World as a teen, I’ve been really excited by the trend that has developed related to dystopian novels. In these novels, society (on some level) sees themselves as perfect while we, as the reader, can see all of the flaws in the society. The coolest thing about this type of novel is the fact that dystopia can take on so many different forms
Divergent by Veronica Roth, is the latest dystopian novel that I’ve read and, in my mind, it is the best one that I’ve read since I picked up The Hunger Games a few years back!
The funny thing about this novel is that I almost didn’t read it. My niece had suggested it to me (and even lent me the book!) but I just kept reading other things. It was only when she asked me if I’d gotten around to reading it, and told me how much she had enjoyed it, that I finally picked up it. Am I ever glad that I did!
In Divergent, society is divided into five different factions and each faction has different traits and controls one section of society. While all children are born into one specific faction, when they are 16 they can choose whether they stay with their families and factions, or whether they choose to move to a different faction. From the Dauntless, who take care of society’s securty and are know for being fearless to Abnegation who are known for being selfless and make society’s rules to the Euridite who are the learned of the factions. There are also a group known as the “factionless” who live as homeless members in this world.
The novel centres around Beatrice (or Tris, as she later calls her). Being born and raised Abnegation, Beatrice feels like she doesn’t belong, though she isn’t sure which faction she should choose. During a simulation which will help her choose, Beatrice finds out that she is actually Divergent – she has strengths that cover a number of different factions. She is warned by her examiner never to share she is Divergent and Beatrice ultimately decides to become a member of the Dauntless.
During Dauntless training, Tris quickly finds out that she must succeed or she will be deemed factionless and sent out to live on the streets of society. She also inadvertently discovers both an attraction to a Dauntless trainer named Four and a possible uprising in society.
Full of action, adventure and an underlying romance (which was well-written and didn’t turn into a gushfest – which I appreciated!), Divergent has all the elements of an engaging and entertaining novel!
I’m really excited and can’t read to read the sequel to Divergent. Entitled Insurgent, it will be released on May 1st and I know I’ll be rushing to get myself a copy (and return the favour for my niece!).