Thursday, April 21, 2011


Veronica Roth

The amazing post-apocalyptic novel Divergent sees a world broken into five factions that balance each other out in a society that finds peace in this system.  They each highlight admirable qualities and each have their own beliefs and innate prejudices associated with them.  Beatrice was born into the Abnegation faction, which is comparable to an Amish way of life.  They live simply, without much comfort, doing a lot of charity and always thinking of others before themselves.  Even looking in a mirror is an indulgence frowned upon in this faction, and inquisitive, impulsive Beatrice doesn't feel like she really belongs, even though she loves her family dearly.  When the choosing ceremony draws near, where she will choose which of the five factions she will live with, she switches to the Dauntless faction, which seems to consist of reckless, daring individuals with piercings and tattoos, something very foreign to Beatrice's world.  And in order to become a fully-fledged member of this faction, she must undergo trials of strength to prove her worth, or become one of the pitiable factionless.  But Beatrice also has a secret she must hide from her new faction: that her tests are "inconclusive."  She doesn't really fit neatly into any one faction, but is a divergent.  The government fears such people, because they are difficult to control.  But Beatrice holds this truth close to herself as she befriends people around her, and love ignites in her life.  She discovers things about herself that she didn't recognize previously, and changes over her time in the trials.  But even if she gets through her trials in one piece, it seems that she's not the only one with secrets, and the whole world is closer to danger than they realize.

Divergent is a satisfying fantasy in the vein of Ally Condie's Matched and Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games.  Throughout the book, Beatrice sees things more clearly than those around her, and has to be careful around the government, like in the aforementioned books, and ultimately confront it in a pulse-pounding climax.  The world that Beatrice lives in is very fully-realized, as are many of the characters.  People react dramatically sometimes to very extreme situations, but it all seems to fit for the individuals here, the personalities of which are varied.  Beatrice is a complex protagonist, since, as a divergent, she has several qualities that others don't share.  And it's neat to see her come from such humble beginnings to rise into a force to be reckoned with, a courageous girl who finds a voice.  Veronica Roth really pieced together an exciting story here that's full of action, romance and mystery, and is riveting throughout.  This really is the most exciting debut of the year so far, by a longshot.

Divergent will be available in bookstores on May 3rd.

No comments:

Post a Comment