Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Dystopian, Fantasy, Science Fiction
Divergent is about a world that has long since had its World War III and is trying to piece itself back together. A group of people living within walls of a broken down Chicago, where Lake Michigan is all but gone. Five factions - a way of dividing society so it prospers - manage day to day lives. Abnegation is the government. They are selfless and are trusted to make and uphold laws because of their natural ability to deny themselves what they want most. Candor manages law. The Candors are honest to a fault - annoyingly so. So it stands to reason that they handle the law the same way. Amity are the food producers. They are kind and value peace above all things. They are silly and loving and will do whatever they need to in order to avoid conflict. Erudite are smart. They handle technology and science. This faction is where the doctors and the computer techs reside. And then there is Dauntless. They are the ones who guard the city and its people. They are the ones who keep the town safe and look to help those who cannot help themselves when it comes to violence. They are reckless and brave.
When the children of the city turn 16. They are tested for their traits and have to decide which faction suits them. They then go to live in that faction. They can choose to stay in their own, even if they test differently. But if they choose to go to a different faction, they are asked to cleave to their faction. They believe strongly in "faction before family".
Beatrice Prior is a small, colorless girl. She is seemingly timid. She tries to adhere to her Abnegation teachings, but feels she is not worthy of the selfless behavior her faction exhibits. The books are about about her choice and how she deals with it.
There are so many wonderful aspects to this story. Tris Prior is a small heroine that becomes larger than life as her story unfolds. Her small, paleness is outweighed by her ability to take several of her traits and use them. She becomes striking and brave and is strong beyond some of her larger more beautiful cohorts. She is not afraid to be who she is. She grows throughout the books. She is not perfect; She is flawed. Her journey is not easy. She fights her own frailties and flounders a bit. I love this about her.
Four is her trainer and her strong support. He is an amazing character in that he has very few fears. He guards those fears but allows himself to be vulnerable with Tris. His own story unfolds and makes someone seemingly invincible become wonderfully human.
Each faction has merit, but it also has its equal failings. Veronica Roth builds an amazing story around human traits that allows us to see that each person has potential to be their very best or very worst self. Our choices are what propel us to be more than we ever thought: Or end us.
I loved these books. Hated the movies. What's new?
The stories have language and premarital sex. It is not rampant. The kids are little adults. Seem to be much older than they actually are. Tris and Four's relationship is fairly balanced. It is very mature. Parents are present - but are background characters. They are also a mixed bag of good and bad. Some better than others.