Faction before blood.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve heard of Divergent. The book turned film series is everywhere and I finally caved to the pressure and read it. Many people seem to compare the series to the Hunger Games—which I’ve never read/seen so I can’t really provide an opinion on that. Nonetheless I thought it was pretty good.
Divergent takes place in a dystopian Chicago, where the citizens are divided into factions. There’s Abnegation (selfless) , Candor (value honesty, sees the truth as black and white), Dauntless (they jump off trains and do stupid shit! Also brave/fighters), Erudite (constant pursuit of knowledge/power) and Amity (peaceful). Basically everyone plays a role in society and its frowned upon to step outside of your set box. Those who can’t cut it in one of those groups are factionless. The factionless are given the “worst jobs,” which IMO aren’t exactly “bad.” They’re garbage men, janitors, bus/train drivers and get paid in food and clothing. I honestly don’t see why the factionless don’t just band together and create their own faction.
The only thing worse than being factionless is being Divergent, because that means the government can’t fit you into any of their categories which makes you unpredictable and in result a threat to whatever goals they have in mind. Beatrice Prior aka Tris, the lead character is born into the Abnegation faction but when she goes through her aptitude test (all teenagers take one to determine what faction they will belong to ) she discovers she tests well enough to fit into more then one faction and is in fact Divergent. She thinks differently—too differently. She ends up joining the Dauntless faction and fears being found out, although she isn’t entirely sure what the label even means.
Divergent is a fast paced, easy-to-read YA. The characters were likeable enough, the budding relationship between Tris and Four was cute and the plot moved along nicely. In terms of world building I still have a lot of questions, that I’m hoping will be answered later in the series. I’d love to learn more about what exactly they’re being guarded from, whats beyond the city?
The entire system is also difficult to grasp. I guess you look it at two ways. One, everyone is born into these factions and genuinely believe this is their path in life. Two, there are a lot of fakers. They don’t want to stand out or draw attention to themselves so they pretend to be happy about their regimented lives. Tris mom and Four seem to be proof of that. What Tris “can do” doesn’t really seem that extraordinary either. She isn’t smarter or stronger then anyone, she just seems to think things through and solve problems like anyone with common sense would. Or maybe I have to look at it from the point that these people have lived a certain way for so long and they just can’t change the way they think. Or maybe it’s a little of both. I’m obviously over-thinking this but I guess I thought Divergent would mean something more. Something that was truly unique.
There’s loss, humour, danger and adventure all wrapped up into the first book of the series. Though I have my issues, it’s definitely worth a read.