This is the long and short of Divergent. If you have read the Hunger Games Trilogy in any capacity you will find parallel themes and ideas, and because of that you might not like the series. However there are a few distinct reasons to read Divergent, and then maybe give the rest of the series a try if you feel up to it.
The main character Beatrice is the classic girl under the thumb of her society. In her case unlike Katniss, the society isn’t an evil main government, but a Puritanical faction called the Abnegation who are billed as The Selfless. Now if you think that is a made up word, it’s not. the definition of Abnegation is the act of renouncing or rejecting something, or self denial. She, like any proper teenaged girl feels as if she is being repressed by her society, and envies, despite her teachings, the freedom of other factions, particularly that of the Dauntless. Of course as there is in most dystopian novels, the government gives their young a chance to choose their future, and in Divergent there is an aptitude test that places the young in a neat set of boxes, and gives them the chance to choose one of two factions. Beatrice has her mind made up early in the novel. She cannot stand the life of self-deprecation she is forced to live as a part of the Abnegation, all of which is proven early on in the way she studies herself in the only mirror in her house while her mother trims her hair, or the easy way she lies to others. In a true puritanical style those things are both frowned upon in her faction. So when the aptitude test every student must take allows her choose another faction she takes it.
This is also where the title come into effect. Divergent is the title she’s given. It means that though the majority of the population can only choose between two factions, she can choose between three. For a reason not explained till the end of the novel Divergence is a dangerous thing. That is all that is explained to Beatrice, and to the reader, and it ends up becoming a background feature of the book’s plot-line until nearly the end of the novel. What I found more interesting, and what is essentially made to keep the readers atten
tion, is the character development in Beatrice, her instructor Four, and the Dauntless as a whole.
Beatrice chooses to become Dauntless in the faction ceremony, and it allows the reader an in depth look into the differences between them, her original faction, and the other factions. While the Dauntless are billed as more or less the “Cool Kids” they’re the faction who call themselves brave. Don’t get me wrong on the surface they are. They’re brave for facing their fears, for doing the things that most other people woul
d refuse to do, and most of all they’re brave for defending the colony. However the novel reveals some breaks in the Dauntless ranks that show the cracks in the fundamentals of not just their faction, but the whole society that Beatrice lives in.
I won’t go on, lest I get into the meat of the novel, but that is essentially why Divergent is a
book that should be read. It allows the reader the chance to really get to know the society, and its functions before showing the breakdown. The characters are multidimensional and quite interesting to get to know, and though I didn’t love every little thing about the story; as an overall piece, it’s worth reading. It’s definitely one of those “I read this whole novel in one sitting” books, and the action scenes are also impeccably written
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