Ever since the success of The Hunger Games, dystopian-themed young adult novels have been on the rise. I now see so many of them bookshelves that at times I feel completely turned off by them. As we all know, I love The Hunger Games dearly and just felt that any of these new dystopian stories wouldn’t be any good. Well, one day while I was perusing through books while at a book signing, I saw Divergent. Once I laid eyes on it, one of the bookstore employees came up to me and gave me a five minute lecture on how great Divergent is. I told her I would consider it, seeing as I didn’t have enough money to buy it. (Hardcovers are so expensive by the way. I get the whole eBook thing now, but this is another issue.) A couple weeks later, a friend texted saying “Divergent is really good so far.” I was looking for something to read and decided to take the advice of a random bookstore employee and my friend and finally read Divergent.
So yeah… they were pretty much right; I loved it! The story takes place in a futuristic Chicago. Where Lake Michigan used to be is now a marsh, and everything north of the Chicago River is abandoned. The center of the city is the Hub, but to us we know the Hub as the Sears Tower. The people of the city are divided into 5 factions: Amity, Dauntless, Abnegation, Erudite, and Candor. Those factions are separated by personality traits: the kind belong in Amity, the brave in Dauntless, the selfless in Abnegation, the knowledgeable in Erudite, and the outspoken in Candor.
Beatrice was born in Abnegation, but always felt that she didn’t belong. At times, she felt selfish and didn’t understand the customs of Abnegation. At the age of 16, each person must take an aptitude test which determines what faction fits your personality perfectly. Afterward, a choosing ceremony takes place, where each 16-year-old must decide which faction they want to live the rest of their life in. If they choose a faction different from the one they were born in, they cannot see their family anymore.
When Beatrice takes her aptitude test, her results are inconclusive; something that rarely happens and is very dangerous. If the leaders ever found out about her results, they would execute her. As Beatrice makes her decisions and tries to survive the next few weeks, she discovers more about herself and the terrible secrets of her society.
Throughout the book, the intensity hardly wavers. It has been a while since I felt the need to run back to a book so I can finish reading it. Intensity-wise, I would say it’s like The Hunger Games. In fact, it has several little things in common with Hunger Games, but nothing big enough to be considered bad or annoying though. There’s a lot of action and violence, and of course a little romance threaded throughout it.
The characters are pretty good. Beatrice (or Tris) is very likeable. She may not be as bad-ass as some heroines, but she’s not soft either. She’s a strong character and a great lead for this kind of story. It’s also hard not to love Four, one of the initiation trainers. He’s a mystery but not one those mysterious bad boys that we get all the time in other YA books. Four has a reason for everything he does, and reading how Tris figures him all out is fascinating.
What makes the book so intense is the plot. There’s a lot that we don’t know about Tris’ society. All these peculiar details spring up all over the book. It keeps you reading, and once you finish, it will keep you thinking. My friend and I still hatch out theories on what could happen next. Divergent is the first of a trilogy. The second book is supposed to be released in Spring/Summer 2012.
I won’t say that Divergent is just as good as or better than The Hunger Games, because it isn’t. In a way, it’s unfair to compare the two. Divergent is a great book, and I recommend it to everyone looking for something intense and exciting to read.
Divergent is available in bookstores. Click here to purchase the book from our TYF Store!