Divergent, Book 1
Synopsis : Beatrice « Tris » Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth’s dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place in mortal danger. Veronica Roth’s young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances.
Review : I couldn’t wait to read this book but at the same time, I was apprehensive. I’m a dystopian novels addict and after reading almost all the books of this kind published in France, I was afraid to read an other one and so dislike it ! Fortunately, it wasn’t the case. With novels such as Divergent I think dystopia still has a bright future! Because and it must be said, this novel is amazing!
The action takes place in the post-apocalyptic city of Chicago, where the society is divided into five factions: Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, Candor and Erudite. Every year, teenagers who have reached the age of 16 must, after the results of an aptitude test, choose the faction they will remain faithful until death. Beatrice (or Tris) is one of those teenagers. She belongs to an Abnegation family, so logic would dictate that she would choose this one to stay with her parents. However, it wasn’t the case, she chooses Dauntless.
The factions were introduced with the aim of creating a « perfect civilization », to avoid making the same mistakes again. But gradually we realize that this system is far from being so perfect. Indeed, the thirst for power has gained some factions, especially Erudites, which had the effect of creating tensions not only between the factions but also between them. So, Peace with the factions is threatened.
Abnegation touched me the most. I found the people of this faction incredible. They always have to put the needs of others before their own. For example, they can’t look in a mirror or carry objects or clothing that make them different from others, they can’t even celebrate their birthday, and so on… Everything is done to help them to forget themselves. They constantly make sacrifices, they don’t take advantage of life, which is such a pity. So I think they have a very sad life, but it’s their choice and that’s why I admire them so much. This way of life and thought is also what makes this faction incorruptible. That’s why they govern and make decisions for the five factions (But this situation doesn’t please at all the Erudites). Most of them (except one) are nice, totally devoted to others and they will do anything to help their friends regardless any circumstances. They are very touching, especially Beatrice’s Parents. I wanted to know at once how it goes in Amity, but unfortunately, this faction is practically absent. I hope to know more in the next book.
The main characters are very interesting too! I liked the heroine Beatrice, who has appeared fragile and strong at the same time. Beatrice never felt out of place among Abnegation. She describes herself as a courageous, proud and sometimes selfish person, which is in total contradiction to her first faction. That’s why she decided to become a Dauntless. This doesn’t make her an insensitive person on the contrary her altruistic side is still quite present. Her initiation in Dauntless is a real assault course. This faction also affected me a lot. Dauntless represents strength, courage, fearlessness and self-transcendence. They like to fight, have the spirit of competition, are keen on extreme sports, and have piercings and tattoos. Life in this faction is hard, especially for novices like her, because places are limited, only the best are taken after the « initiation phase » and the competition is tough. The tests are difficult, both physical and mental. Sometimes it’s violent. Beatrice has to deal with the jealousy and cruelty of other competitors. Rivalries are numerous. Sometimes Tris doubts of herself, but almost immediately she gets over it to prove she has her place here.
I liked also the relationship between Tris and Four which is a beautiful romance even if it doesn’t occupy a central place in the story.
To conclude, I loved Divergent from beginning to end. To my mind, it’s the best dystopia since The Hunger Games. I was completely fascinated by this world to the point that I’m thinking about it again! Insurgent, the next book will be available in the summer of 2012 in France. The wait will be long!