Earlier this year I watched Divergent (2014) and Insurgent (2015) based on Veronica Roth’s dystopian, young adult novels. I watched these films in a row and enjoyed them even more than I thought. I now have a wait for Allegiant part 1 and 2. With that in mind my friend lent me the 3 books to read; first up Divergent.
Divergent takes us into the future, to a post-apocalyptic Chicago, USA. The limited population of the city are now divided into factions based on traits. Abnegation for selflessness, Amity for peace, Candor for honesty, Dauntless for bravery, and Erudite for intelligence. When a person reaches 16 years old they are given an aptitude test to help them decide which faction to choose. Once you have chosen there is no going back and individuals may even have to turn their backs on family; faction before blood. Some people though don’t fit into just one faction. They are known as divergents and are seen as dangerous.
Our protagonist is Beatrice (Tris) Prior who at the beginning of the novel lives in Abnegation with her family. Tris lives a comfortable and happy life, and while she is a kind and likeable person she does find it hard to be effortlessly selfless. Instead Tris finds herself eyeing the fearless and fun life of the Dauntless. Her aptitude test is only to confuse rather than help her choose though. Her results are inconclusive, meaning she is divergent and her life is in danger. Now Tris must balance her love for her family, her wishes for her own life, and hiding what she is from those in power who mean her harm.
Divergent is the debut novel of Veronica Roth which I think is really impressive. I think Divergent is well written and visualised dystopian world, with a really good pace. The tension was kept high as Tris and her fellow initiates go through a gruelling initiation with the ever present fear of failure. Failing will mean living in poverty without protection as a factionless. To lighten the darkness of the story though Roth has used humour and a cool, snarky edge. A lot of which comes from our protagonist Tris. I liked and respected Tris. She is young, small and physically not the strongest but she is mentally strong and doesn’t allow others to change her own moral code. I haven’t read a young adult novel in a while. There is of course the required love interest but thankfully there isn’t a love triangle in sight!
Divergent is a well written, immersive, and taut dystopian adventure. I highly recommend to those who enjoy dystopian, young adult novels. I look forward to reading Insurgent next. Good read.
Have you read and/or watched this? What other dystopian novels or films do you recommend?