Pages: 495 (hardcover)
Published: May 2011 by Katherine Tegen Books
Recommended for: Hunger Games people. Definitely.
Wow, just wow. I was blown away by how intense and absolutely enthralling this much-buzzed-about new dystopia is. Divergent is a quick read despite being nearly 500 pages-- because, believe me, before long you'll most likely find yourself physically incapable of putting it down for even a second.
Tris has always lived in Abnegation-- the faction where her father is an important politician, and where charitable goals of selflessness and good will towards others rule every action taken by its initiates. In Tris's city, every individual must choose to belong to one of five factions depending on what they believe is the most important virtue: the Candor believe that honesty is the only thing which can keep humanity from descending again into the apocalyptic chaos of the past, the Amity are dedicated to peace, the Erudite to the gaining of knowledge to prevent ignorance.
Although Tris was raised in Abnegation, the faction who strive to live their lives for others, and knows that leaving would break her family's hearts, she cannot help but feel drawn to the raw excitement and reckless freedom of Dauntless-- the warrior faction who value bravery over all else. Tris is told that she is a Divergent-- someone who does not fall neatly into any of the factions-- but what exactly that means, she doesn't yet know. Only that to be Divergent is to be considered extremely dangerous by those who run the city behind the smoking curtains... the very people whom are doing their best to make sure that the morals of every faction grow more and more corrupt each day. Tris and her fellow initiates must face physically and emotionally grueling trials in order to be initiated into their new faction-- but the biggest test of all, for Tris, might well be if she can know her own heart well enough to make terrible choices in the face of death and city-wide corruption.
Divergent raises a ton of questions which will likely have you pondering your own psyche. The clever and unique structure of the five factions was really fascinating to me-- I'm OCD, so I have an unhealthy adoration for categories of any kind. The factions reminded me of the four Houses in Harry Potter; the initiation process of the grim training and arena battles of The Hunger Games. There's plenty for Hunger Games fans here, I think: constant action and suspense, treachery among fellow teens trying to win the top training spots which was reminiscent of HG Arena baddies like Cato and Clove. Tris is a lot like Katniss, too. They're both underdogs, but also both very strong gals-- Tris doesn't take any crap, and she's quick to see where both Abnegation and Dauntless fall short of their supposed faction manifestos.
I didn't mention romance in my little synopsis, but there's a great one here. Four is the enigmatic and athletic young mentor assigned to train Tris and the other initiates of her new faction for their initiation. His and Tris's falling in love isn't unexpected by any means, but wow, are the moments they spend alone together amazing. Four is going to be featured in a heck of a lot of My Book Boyfriend posts-- I can see it coming already! The last 75 pages or so of this book were mind-blowing and, if possible, twice as intense as the rest of the story. Another painfully abrupt cliffhanger promises a new dystopian trilogy on the way...but Divergent is definitely a stand-out. Veronica Roth is a superbly gifted new author. As for which of the five factions I would pick at the age of sixteen... Dauntless sounds like a constant thrill ride and is definitely out of my comfort zone. But in the end, I think I'd end up choosing Erudite, home of those who constantly seek knowledge. All the best parties are in the library, after all. ;)
Plot: 5/5Overall Rating: 5/5