Monday, July 15, 2013

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Everyone belongs to a faction - Abnegation (selflessness), Candor (honesty), Erudite (knowledge), Amity (peace), or Dauntless (courage).  Tris has grown up in Abnegation, the faction dedicated to selfless actions, and the faction that is in charge of the government.  But the Choosing Ceremony is approaching, and Tris has a chance to leave her faction, and family, for another.  Tris knows that if she chooses Dauntless, her life will be forever changed.  Not only will she never really be a part of her family again, but she will have to learn all the skills needed to make it through the physically and mentally challenging Dauntless initiation process.

Summaries of all YA dystopian books will from henceforth begin with "It was the future, and everything sucked."  I finally got around to reading Divergent.  It's been on my list forever, and the movie is coming out, and even though it's not like it's one I need to read in order to sell it to the children (it doesn't need my selling it) I wanted to read one of them.  It was enjoyable.  Nothing especially new under the sun, but enjoyable.

I was reading this on my way to Chicago, and since Divergent takes place in a future Chicago, that was kind of fun.  I would read something and go, "I just went there!"  And it was exciting.  Also, I went to the dystopia panel where Veronica Roth spoke, and hearing her talk about what she was thinking when she wrote the book made reading it all the more interesting.

The book was engaging.  Especially after hearing Veronica Roth speak, I really liked the idea of this community of people deciding to focus on the attributes that they felt were causing suffering in the world.  Some people thought it was ignorance so they dedicated themselves to study.  Some people thought it was violence, so they dedicated themselves to peace.  It's all suppose to work together seamlessly, with each faction contributing what they excel in.  But like so many good ideas, after a while things started to not quite work the way they were suppose to.  And each faction essentially became what they had hated most.  Those dedicated to selflessness become so focused on the needs of others they ignore the needs of their loved ones.  Those dedicated to courage become so focused on showing others how brave they are they turn into bullies, which is form of cowardice.

Spoilers coming up if you haven't read it.  You have, of course.

I liked the story.  Tris was interesting, as was Four, the stoic love interest, and things were swinging all just great until we got to the great mind take over section.  That was a little...weak.  I don't know.  There was a lot of build up.  Why did they want to kill the people that were Divergent?  What where the Erudites planning?  How would they ever get all the Dauntless to fight for them?  Oh.  Mind control.  Well, OK.  I don't know.  I was disappointed.   I was expecting a big reveal and felt a little let down.

Also, kind of disappointed the main point of evil is coming from Erudite, the faction I totally would have chosen.  Much like in Harry Potter, when most people wanted to be in Gryffindor and I wanted to be in Ravenclaw.  I just want to go where the books are!


  1. This is a good dystopian novel. I like how you say everyone is evil in Erudite.. I felt the same about Slytherin. Someone in Slytherin must've been an OK person right?


    1. I thought about that too while reading Harry Potter! They can't all have been evil!


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