I sat down lately to re-read Divergent. Dystopian stories are some of my favorites, and of late, there have been a lot of options. Divergent is the story of Beatrice Potter, a young Abnegation girl who questions where she belongs. The story is set in post-apocalyptic Chicago, all of the survivors are separated into 5 factions; Abnegation, Dauntless, Candor, Amity, and Erudite. Each group is focused around the meaning of their name, and once you choose a faction upon turning 16, that is your faction for life. A popular motto is faction before blood, meaning that the faction you choose is more important than your family. In order to assist individuals in selecting their faction, each year there is a test given that helps measure aptitude. Everyone that goes through the aptitude is told the faction that would most suit them, except those that are divergent… During the choosing ceremony, prospective members choose that faction and begin initiation into it.
There are a lot of parallels between Divergent and our society today. We have stereotypes that each individual fits in to, in fact, if they step outside those stereotypes, we’re often surprised. In Divergent, Veronica Roth explores the same issue. Once you’re part of a faction, you forget your old faction and move forward adopting the practices and customs of that faction. The factions also cannot seem to comprehend anyone that strives for balance, as that could be construed as a form of disloyalty. Divergent wrestles with that most basic of questions we all ask, “Where Do I Belong?” Throughout the novel, we see Beatrice (Tris) wrestling with the same thing. Never feeling as if she’s a part of abnegation she joins what could almost be called its complete opposite, but even there she doesn’t seem to fit in at first. Will she always be a ‘stiff?’ Will she ever find a place where she belongs? Can she only belong in one place? Along the way as Tris seeks to answer these questions, we meet Christina, Will, and Al. Each of these characters, though secondary for most of the novel, have their own struggles to face, as they work to become part of Dauntless. Another interesting character that we meet is Four, the trainer for the Dauntless recruits. It’s his job to prepare them for initiation, but he wrestles with feelings of his own.
While at times, Divergent brings a bit too much emotion to the table, all in all, Roth has constructed an excellent book. I am looking forward to seeing this on the screen next year. Until then, I will re-read Insurgent, the second book in this series in preparation for the release of Allegiant on October 22nd. I am happy to give Divergent 5 factions out of 5 for a great reading experience. If you like Hunger Games and the Partials series, you will enjoy Divergent.
Thanks for reading!