Thursday, December 13, 2012

Divergent

 
This book came highly recommended from one of my book-loving friends. I finally bought it for my last birthday, and after reading Pure, I started in on this one. How did I like it? Here's a clue: Pure took me several weeks to get through {it's longer, and it wasn't a complete page-turner for me}. In contrast, I read Divergent in about one week. It's not as long as Pure, but it was definitely a page-turner! I do recommend it, but with a couple of reservations that I'll explain later.

Divergent is Veronica Roth's first in a three-part series. Just out last May was the second, named Insurgent, and next year will be the conclusion, which is still unnamed as far as I know. {I could suggest Convergent....Resurgent...???} Insert smiley face here.

The heroine of Divergent is Beatrice Prior, who evolves into "Tris" as the book's events unfold. The hero, Tris's instructor and love interest is Tobias, who is known only as "Four" as the book begins. They are ages 16 and 18, respectively, which means that like the Hunger Games, the series is aimed at young adults.

Tris lives in a dystopian version of Chicago, where society is divided up into factions. The factions are determined by character traits. There are the Abnegation (selfless), Erudite (intelligent),  Amity (peaceful), Dauntless (brave) and Candor (honest). At first, the idea of living by one's noblest character traits was successful, but it is proving to have its downside as pride and power enter in, particularly among the Erudite and the Dauntless.

When a child reaches the age of 16, they will choose the faction they will live among for the rest of their lives. They must choose carefully, as that is also the character trait that they will emulate and live by. Before they choose, they undergo an aptitude test that tells them which faction they will best align with. Tris learns during her test that she is something called "Divergent," which is so dangerous that the person administering the test won't tell Tris what it means, beyond informing her that she has equal aptitude for all factions. The administrator then fakes Tris's result as Abnegation to hide her Divergent result. Tris was raised Abnegation, but isn't certain she is selfless enough to live that way for the rest of her life. In the beginning of the novel, Tris makes her choice to live Dauntless, but the initiation process proves to be dangerous, and she isn't sure she will even make it. And she must keep the fact of her Divergent status a secret from everyone. Four is her instructor, and he has a secret of his own.

I really like the premise of this series, and I plan to read the next two also. From a family values standpoint, though it is aimed at teens and young adults, I won't let my 13 and 15 year olds read it yet. The reason is that although there is no sex in the book, there are just a couple of scenes that are on the risque side in the description of the kissing that takes place between Tris and Four. There is also a slight amount of language in the book, but not much. Violence is a part of the story also, but certainly not to the extent that it is in the Hunger Games. The risque bits are really what is going to keep my young teens from reading this series. If you're an adult who enjoyed the Hunger Games, you will enjoy Divergent too.

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