So this review marks the last of the books I read during my crazy 2 weeks of reading. Seriously I think I read 6 novels in 2 weeks! A friend of mine recommended Divergent to me, she kept singing its praises but I was most intrigued when she mentioned that she finished the novel in less than 10 hours! First a brief synopsis:
Divergent takes place in a dystopian society where citizens have been divided into 5 different factions depending on their ‘purpose’ to the society. The factions are:
Abnegation: a faction that values selflessness; the people of abnegation hold many government positions because, by nature, they always look at what’s best for society rather than their own personal gain.
Erudite: a faction that values knowledge; this faction is responsible for technology and research. Erudite members are the doctors and researchers of the society, they tend to be a bit arrogant and believe they could do a better job at governing the society over abnegation.
Candor: a faction that values honesty, they say what’s on their mind no matter how hurtful those thoughts might be. They believe there is nothing worse than dishonesty and would rather be offended than be lied to. Candor members are sound leaders of the law because of their black and white view of the world.
Amity: a faction that values kindness. Opposite to Candor, Amity members would rather keep peace (in doing so perhaps acting dishonestly) rather than win an argument. They value happiness and freedom from human conflict. These members grow the crops for the rest of the society and heavily rely on Erudite for the technology to maintain them.
Dauntless: a faction that values bravery. These are the soldiers who protect the society. A dauntless member would rather die than act cowardly and are typically seen as members who make rash decisions.
So you might be wondering, what exactly is divergent? The novel explains divergent as an individual who does not fall into one of the set factions, as such they are often feared and seen as dangerous. Basically if you are one, you keep it on the down low.
So a quick summary: Divergent starts off with Beatrice Prior, a member of Abnegation who has never felt good enough or selfless enough to be a member of her faction. Until the age of 16 all the children of ALL factions go to school together to learn about the history of the factions and how they help society. Once children reach the age of 16, they go through a choosing ceremony where a virtual test tells them which faction they have the highest aptitude for; but in the end it is their decision to enter a new faction. Changing factions is typically frowned upon by your old faction since you will have to leave your parents and your ‘old self’ behind.
If you decide to enter a new faction, there is typically an initiation that you must do before being accepted by the members. This can range from hours of community service (abnegation initiation), jumping on/off of a moving train (dauntless), a rigorous lie detector or honestly test (candor), a large research report (erudite). Divergent is about Beatrice Prior’s decision to either stay with her old faction or change into a new one and the initiation process that follows. Tris begins to doubt the ideals of their society and with a potential war brewing many secrets of the society are revealed.
In case you are wondering, you can fail the initiation. If that happens members becomes fractionless which is seen as the homeless or poor people of society. They live through food donations through abnegation and cannot find jobs. Therefore you need to think long and hard if you decide to leave your birth faction because there really is no turning back.
SPOILER ALERT!!! If you are planning on reading the series, do not read any further as there will be spoilers (from divergent) mentioned.
Insurgent: So we now know that Tris is in Dauntless and her relationship with Four grows stronger by the day. Insurgent focuses on the war between Erudite and the Dauntless traitors vs. the other Dauntless members. The other factions (amity, candor) don’t want to get involved for the safety of their own members so the group has difficulty finding sanctuary. In this novel sides of the battle must be chosen, secrets are revealed and Tris must fully come to terms and accept her divergence to save the broken society.
Hopefully I didn’t give too much away in either description? I enjoyed both these books, I love the whole science fiction/dystopian society theme so I thought this was a really creative idea. I will say that I’m probably a bit older than the target audience for these books. As I was reading them just through the diction and structure I could tell it was meant for a younger audience which was a bit of a negative, but I still enjoyed them nonetheless. I wouldn’t say this was a series that I ‘couldn’t put down,’ I definitely didn’t read them in one sitting but they weren’t torturous to read by any means. I will admit I put off writing this review for quite a few days and I’m not really sure why considering I enjoyed both books in the series so far. I believe the 3rd installment in the series is due to come out in 2013, and I’m excited the see how the trilogy will play out.