In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Beatrice Prior lives in a post-apocalyptic society where people are divided into five factions: Dauntless, Erudite, Candor, Amity, and Abnegation. Each faction is dedicated to the cultivation of one of five virtues: courage (Dauntless), intelligence (Erudite), honesty (Candor), peace (Amity), and selflessness (Abnegation). At the age of 16, children of all five factions have the option to choose to remain in their faction or to choose another. The world built by Roth was incredibly fascinating to me. The concept of splitting the population into factions based on values is something that I’ve found to be unique to Divergent. And although the factions are meant to keep the peace in the book, it is obvious from the first few pages that people are filled with bitterness and resentment at having to cultivate only one virtue, keeping them from being themselves.
Beatrice—or Tris as she later nicknames herself—was a wonderful female MC. Her identity struggles throughout the book were very real; her challenge is to determine where she fits in and who she really is in a world where she’s only allowed to be one thing. If anyone discovers that she might be able to relate to more than one value, she may be in harm’s way. Tris has easily become one of my favorite heroines in YA dystopian fiction so far.
Divergent combined all my favorite aspects of dystopian novels. It’s a brilliant combination of action, romance, and just a touch of humor. I literally have no complaints about Divergent—it’s one of my favorites. I give this book five out of five stars, and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves dystopian fiction.