★★★★★/★★★★★ Divergent by Veronica Roth.
“A brave man acknowledges the strength of others.”
A dystopian Chicago were people are divided into factions based off of virtues. Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). When the age to sixteen is reached, one must pick which of the factions is a better fit, so the choice is left to Beatrice Prior, stay with her family or go to the “happier far.”
I read this book the same reason why I read “The Hunger Games,” because my friend Maggie recommended it, and since all she has recommended is awesome I could not just ignore her, so I bought it, read it, and loved it.
This does seem more like science fiction than dystopia.
Anyways, on with the actual review:
The factions seems like a good system once it is broken down. But to be fair, as a whole, it does not flow so easily at all.
- Abnegation: those that saw malice and selfishness as why the world failed, and saw selflessness as a way to help rebuild. “ I choose to turn away from my reflection, to rely not on myself but on my brothers and sisters, to project always outward until I disappear.” Yet they have become so selfless that have very little characteristics, and although deemed as good people by some, another group is bashing them and turning all against them, and they do not defend themselves, which leads to what happens at the end of the book, which does not end well for this faction.
- Erudite: those that saw ignorance as the downfall of humanity, and swore to always seek knowledge.” Ignorance is defined not as stupidity but as lack of knowledge. Lack of knowledge inevitably leads to lack of understanding. Lack of understanding leads to a disconnect among people with differences. Disconnection among people with differences leads to conflict. Knowledge is the only logical solution to the problem of conflict.” Yet they have forgotten that knowledge is not wisdom, and have become a bit of hypocrites and self-important, thinking that they are better suited for government than Abnegation.
- Dauntless: who saw cowardice as the root of problems, and sought to help those that could not protect themselves. “ We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another… We believe in shouting for those who can only whisper, in defending those who cannot defend themselves.” This faction has forgotten all about helping those that cannot do so, and have become more like competitors. Per Example: the initiates must jump off of a moving train and hope they don’t fall to their deaths.
- Candor: dishonesty is seen as the cause of all evil, so they have pledged to always speak the truth and their minds. To them thinks seem to be in black and white, truth or lie. “Dishonesty is rampant, Dishonesty is temporary, Dishonesty makes evil possible. Dishonesty leads to suspicion. Suspicion leads to conflict. Honesty leads to peace.” These people have no filter, and it might seem like a good idea, but they don’t actually posses much facts to back up their honesty, it seems more like an opinion, and that causes trouble with the other factions.
- Amity: saw aggression and a thirst for power as the great doom, so they value peace and harmony. “ Give freely, trusting that you will be given what you need… Do not be angry. The opinions of others cannot damage you… The wrong is past. You must let it rest where it lies… You must no longer think cruel thoughts. Cruel thoughts lead to cruel words, and hurt you as much as they hurt their target.” These people are just as peaceful as Abnegation, too innocent and unwilling to risk their “peace-stance” to help those that will need it.
- Fanctionless: Those that failed initiation or left the factions. Well you will just have to see, they are important later on.
There are some religious beliefs in this book, some Abnegation members add at the end of their manifesto: “And Only God Remains.” Tris’ father also thanks God before dinner, but says to not speak of it since it might cause division. Four/Tobias has the words “Fear God Alone” in his bedroom. The Dauntless also speak of an afterlife.
Violence is a best friend of this book it seems, jumping off of moving trains, knives are thrown at their heads, guns pointed at them, an almost rape scene, stabbing, shots fired. So, a whole lot of fun.
Sex/Relationship/Emotions/Sexuality I also present, and I was quite happy about it. Abnegation is not okay with PDA, while Dauntless has no issue with it, this makes Tris feel shy. It is also shown Tris has a fear of intimacy, which is not rare considering her age, and the way it was handled (all about consent) was perhaps one of the best things ever. () The romance was not love at first sight, and it was not rushed, in fact I think it is one of the best romances done in YA literature so far.The sexuality is dealt later on in the books, however I will tell you that there are homosexual relationships and the way society seems them is pretty interesting. (procreation will play an important part later on in the series)
Abnegation members tend to be bullied for their beliefs, often called stiff, and physically thrown around. And I just wished it was discussed a little bit more, but it was still dealt very well.
Spoiler after this:
Suicide: Al commits suicide, not only is he depressed for not being good enough for Dauntless, but he feels guilty over what he attempted to do to Tris, and after she says she will never forgive him, he kills himself, and it was interesting seeing Tris trying to deal with feeling guilty over it.
I highly recommend this one, I am not a fan of the sequels but the first book is definitely worth a read, mostly for the analyzing that can be done about the factions, and all other things that I mentioned. I want to write an essay about it now.