Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Divergent by Veronica Roth

2011 HarperCollins

In New Chicago, there are five factions of societies:  The Dauntless, who have no fear; the Erudite, who have knowledge; the Amity, who are kind and open; the Abnegation, who possess selflessness; and the Candor, who are honest. Then there are the factionless, who don't belong to any group, but are drifters living on the streets, reliant on handouts.  Then there are the Divergent....

Beatrice has only known Abnegation.  She sees the selfless life she leads, but when she and her brother Caleb go to school, her eyes automatically turn to the Dauntless - they intrigue her.  Now, Beatrice is to go through the ceremony which all sixteen year olds go through and make her ultimate decision, whether to stay in her faction or leave it completely behind and start a new life in a new faction.  She also carries a dark secret with her.  She is Divergent, a special set of people who possess traits of more than one faction.

Her brother chooses the Erudite, a faction known to stir trouble with the Abnegation faction, who are in charge of the government.  Beatrice chooses Dauntless, and a new name - Tris.  Her family is devastated, and Tris knows that she'll never see them again, but what waits her for during her initiation process into Dauntless gives her no chance to mourn.  She'll either be part of the faction or factionless if she fails.

It is during her initiation that Tris understands more about herself, what she is capable of doing, and the secret of her status as Divergent.  Tris also uncovers a plot created by the Erudite, threatening the existence of the factions and causing chaos and death.  But is knowing enough?  Is Tris strong enough to fight against this plot, or become a part of it?  Faction over blood is the Dauntless credo...Tris has to make the ultimate decision.

This is a excellent novel for those who enjoy reading dystopian fiction.  The author takes the reader into New Chicago and her writing creates images for the reader, a trait seen in quality writing.  It is the characters, though, that are the strong part of the novel, from those showing love to those who are reckless, to the evil a human can possess.  Adults also play a strong role in this novel and aren't use simply as backdrops to the situations Roth writes about.  A sequel will follow May 2012.  Recommended for junior high and high school.

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