Genre: Dystopian Fiction
Reading Format: Audio Book Read by Emma Galvin
It seems unfair to me to judge a book in comparison with another, but in this case I just can't help myself. It would have been impossible for me to read this novel without comparing it with each turn of the page to the fabulous Hunger Games series written by Susan Collins. Certainly, the Hunger Games sets a high standard indeed, and Divergent didn't quite measure up to it in my opinion.
Divergent is the story of Beatrice Prior, a sixteen year old teenage girl living in a futuristic Chicago. Roth's dystopian vision features an even more polarized society than we are living in now (hard to imagine, I know), which has resulted in the creation of five factions, each centered around one particular virtue: Candor which focuses on strict honesty, Abnegation which is selfless at all costs, Dauntless the always brave, Amity the peaceful, and the Erudite who value education and intelligence above all else.
Annually, a ceremony is held in which all sixteen year olds must choose the faction to which they will dedicate their lives. After their choice, they are forced to undergo an initiation, which if they fail leaves them as cast offs of society. Beatrice, our plucky yet conflicted heroin, has been raised with the teachings of her abnegation family, but feels herself not truly selfless enough to remain in the faction of her birth for the rest of her life. I won't tell you what choice she makes, but honestly, I think you'll be able to guess within the first few pages. The remainder of the novel follows Beatrice, now known as Tris, as she struggles to survive initiation and become a member of her chosen faction.
Divergent is a fun and fast read. I did find the concept of the five factions a bit hard to swallow, which I think made it hard for me to get really invested in this read. However, if I am honest the most challenging aspect of this book for me was that it wasn't the Hunger Games, which is what I was really yearning for. Still, I am excited that Divergent is only the first on a planned trilogy, and I am planning on continuing on with Tris in the next installment. Is it wrong for me to hope that Veronica Roth spends some serious time with Susan Collins while writing the sequels?