Author: Veronica Roth
Pages: 496 (Paperback)
Genre: Young Adult / Science Fiction / Dystopian
Age Recommendation: 13+
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
“We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another.”
Set in a dystopian world, Divergent tells the story of 16 year old Tris who lives in a city divided by factions. In this city, it is vital that you fit in. At age 16 all citizens must take an aptitude test to decide which faction they belong in: Erudite (Intelligence), Amity (Peaceful), Abnegation (Selflessness), Candor (Honesty) or Dauntless (Bravery). After taking the test you are placed into that faction and you cannot leave to go back to your family and you cannot fail initiation or you will become ‘Factionless’. However not everybody who takes the test can be placed into a single faction; they might fit into 2 or 3. These people are known as Divergent and are a threat to the system.
Being born and raised in Abnegation, Tris has never really felt like she fitted into society. She wants to express herself, she wants to make friends and she wants adventure. Divergent is a trilogy following the life of Tris as she discovers who she is and learns about the history of the only city she has ever known.
Divergent is one of my favourite trilogies. Because of the dystopian, divided world it is set in – many people instantly compare it to The Hunger Games. I understand that. First of all it’s targeted at the same audience. It’s a dystopian universe with one faction more powerful than the others. The 16 year olds are forced to go through twisted initiation processes and anyone who poses a threat on the system is going to suffer. Both trilogies have a dark side. However, whereas in The Hunger Games, people suffer through the fact that children are having to fight to the death in an arena – in Divergent, there are strict factions that they can never leave and their leaders use serums that can be injected into a person to achieve a desired effect. Citizens can be forced to tell the truth, they can be forced to be peaceful and happy with a situation and in the case of Dauntless, they can be forced to face their worst nightmares over and over again until they are no longer scared. You can’t deny – that is pretty nasty! Not to forget the fact that any Divergents are hunted down by the government. Aside from its similarities to other YA Novels, for me, Divergent was unique enough to keep me entertained. When I read The Hunger Games I didn’t find Katniss very likable – probably because the games get in the way of you really getting to know her. The main characters in Divergent are extremely lovable, friendly and admirably brave so you really do care about them and their futures. This was really important to me and was the reason I could read these books so quickly and easily. I was desperate to know if they were okay. The idea of the factions is also a really interesting concept. They’ve been divided by personality traits to prevent a war and it’s a really fascinating way of picturing society. This makes the series a really interesting read as you start to learn about how the factions came to be and why it is so important to fit in. The romance subplot is great too. Tris falls for her trainer during initiation (I make it sound like he’s much older than her but he’s not) but the author has managed to keep a perfect balance between romance and the actual plot so you don’t get bored of either which is always great!!! If you’re interested in YA novels with a bit of a sci-fi twist, this is definitely worth a read.
Film Adaption: The first installment came out 2014. I personally really enjoyed it and believe the casting is perfect. However it’s important to note that the movie has been simplified for the big screen. The idea of the factions and serums is dumbed down a bit, probably for younger audiences, so the complexity of their dystopian world is not nearly as fascinating as it is in the books.