Divergent by Veronica Roth
Beatrice and Caleb are both turning sixteen, which is the year they must choose among the factions: Abnegation (living for others,denying yourself); Candor (always telling the truth); Erudite (learning and research); Amity (understanding for others and yourself); and Dauntless (fearless action and fighting).
Now they are living in Abnegation, but the test they take will tell them what qualities they have that will induce them into the faction path. In this dystopian society in torn apart and deserted Chicago, you don’t have to choose the faction where the test points, but Beatrice is shocked to learn that she is a Divergent: she has qualities of several of the factions instead of a single one. To be known as Divergent is dangerous; the condition must be kept hidden.
Beatrice ultimately chooses Dauntless; Caleb chooses Erudite. This is Beatrice’s story. She learns to jump off moving trains, fall into a net six stories down; fight in many combat situations; and overcome both prejudice and years of training in Abnegation. Only ten initiates will survive; the others will be left Factionless and homeless...or dead. Tris meets Four, who is two years older and is alternately enticing and irritating. There is also something sinister edging its way into the novel: the Dauntless faction is becoming more focused on anger and cruelty, and someone is trying destroy all Divergents.
The characters of Beatrice and Four are central to the novel; all others are pretty one-dimensional. This is a trilogy, so perhaps more attention will be given to others as the story develops. It is an enjoyable and fast-paced novel, full of action and surprise. At times it seems pretty derivative: there are lots of aspects of The Hunger Games and the romance between Beatrice and Four builds and falls in a pretty standard pattern.
There are also several holes left in the story: What is the world like outside Chicago? Who runs the trains and do they ever stop anywhere?
This is Mary Jo's review. To read Aarene's review of this book, click HERE.