Divergent by Veronica Roth
Being “Divergent” may be a death sentence for 16-year-old Beatrice Prior. In her dystopian Chicago of the future, there are five distinct groups of citizens, all with different characteristics and purposes in her world. She is a member of Abnegation (the selfless), but the other factions she can choose to become an initiate in are Candor (the honest), Amity (the peaceful), Erudite (the intelligent) and Dauntless (the brave). As the novel opens, Beatrice is about to take the national aptitude test, which will tell her which group she “belongs in,” but she still gets to choose for herself. The catch is that if she doesn’t choose her parents’ group Abnegation, she probably won’t ever see them again as the factions don’t mix much. The worst part is that her test results come back inconclusive, upsetting the tester, who tells her she is “divergent,” but won’t give her any more information about what the term means. In fact, the proctor falsifies the results to read that Beatrice would fit best in her family’s faction, Abnegation. Despite this, Beatrice takes the bold step of choosing to become a Dauntless initiate at the Choosing Ceremony the next day, shocking her parents and the rest of the audience. As she begins her Dauntless training, Tris (as she now calls herself) finds out exactly how violent, vengeful and ruthless her new faction really is. Will she be one of the ten out of the twenty trainees invited to stay, or will she be cast out, factionless and basically homeless for the rest of her life?
This book reminded me a lot of the Hunger Games trilogy, which many readers are comparing it to. Since the Dauntless faction members are brave and the defenders of the world, their training is extremely violent, and readers need to be prepared for graphic gore. In spite of the amount of violence and killing, none of it feels gratuitous or unnecessary. This is the first in a trilogy, and I’m sure readers will be waiting breathlessly for the follow-up book. Fans of Science Fiction, and dystopias in general and Hunger Games will especially love this new series.