There is one mirror in my house. Our faction allows me to stand in front of it on the second day of every third month, the day my mother cuts my hair. It is behind a sliding panel in the hallway upstairs.
Beatrice Prior, our sixteen-year-old narrator, is about to make the most important decision of her life. For two big days are coming: the day of the aptitude test and the Choosing Ceremony. Soon Beatrice will have to decide which faction she'll belong to for the rest of her life. If she chooses outside her parents' faction, she may never see them again. For ties to one's faction must come first. The five factions are as follows: Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), and Erudite (the intelligent). Beatrice has been raised Abnegation, but it's always felt like a wrong fit. Selflessness does not come easy for her. She has spent the first sixteen years of her life practically invisible--blending into the background. But Beatrice has secretly been watching her Dauntless classmates. Dare she admit it aloud? She's thinking of choosing the most rebel faction of all!
But not all initiates make it into the Dauntless faction. Only the bravest. Only the strongest. Only the best. Readers follow Tris (Beatrice) on her new journey. We meet fellow initiates--those born Dauntless, and those transferring from other factions. We follow their training through three stages. They will be challenged physically, mentally, and emotionally. We become familiar with their two trainers--Eric and Four. We see the faction's strengths and weaknesses. As does Tris. On the one hand, Tris realizes she is fierce. She can be strong, determined, brave. She is learning to face her fears, learning to face life. But she's also realizing that compassion and love are part of courage. That selflessness has prepared her for her new life. On the other hand, she sees how heartless, how cruel some are. Yes, the Dauntless have their flaws.
Divergent is an action-packed dystopia. It's exciting. It's compelling. It's impossible to put down. The futuristic Chicago setting has been well-crafted. While only two factions are explored in this first novel in the trilogy, the glimpses we get of this world are fascinating. I loved the setting, the world-building. I loved the characters. Tris is such a great heroine. And Four. Well, I don't want to spoil it. But he's definitely a large part of why I loved this one! I would definitely recommend this one. I think I loved it even more than The Hunger Games trilogy.
© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews