Review brought to you by OBS staff member Annabell Cadiz
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
I am not a huge fan of dystopian type novels. Not many are written well. But I must say I found myself enjoying Divergent aside from it’s many flaws. The suspense is written very well and the action helps fix where the pacing is lax at times.
Divergent is basically the story of sixteen year old Beatrice Prior and her initiation trial to get to decide which of the five factions she belongs to. The factions are based on virtues which were cultivated by the council when they set out to create a world free of war. Candor values honesty, Abnegation values selflessness, Dauntless values bravery, Amity values peacefulness and Erudite values intelligence. When the youth of the factions reach the age of sixteen, they must decide as to which faction they will join or they may remain in the one they already belong to. On the day of the Choosing Ceremony, Beatrice is stuck deciding between joining Dauntless or staying with her family in Abnegation. Her choice changes not only her life forever, but the lives of all those belonging in the factions.
I did like reading Divergent but the problem was I always felt like something was missing throughout the story. The characters are interesting and fairly well written but there isn’t enough of a back story for most them so I don’t really care about some of them. Four, is probably the best character of the novel. He is handsome but not your overbearing hot guy like in most books. He is rough around the edges and has had a really tough life. I really liked his character. The romance that manages to develop between Beatrice and Four is nice but somewhat odd. It seems out of place in the story and not believable enough. The amount of violence in the story at times was a bit disturbing and there wasn’t always adequate reasons to have some of it placed inside the plot. The explanation as to what a Divergent exactly is was way to vague and anti-climatic.
Even though the suspense was fairly good in the novel, a lot of it was also predictable. The plot twist closer toward the end, around page 400 or so, was probably the best part to the story but again, somewhat obvious.
Tris otherwise known as Beatrice, is not my favorite female heroine. She is cruel in a lot of ways and forgets her friends easily. She tends to throw temper tantrums often as well, like running away and hitting people when she’s pissed. She has a lot of insecurities to overcome, and as understanding as I can be about that since everyone suffers from insecurities, she tends to jump to stupid conclusions because of it when the answers are so obvious. She just wasn’t a likable character.
For a five hundred paged book, a lot of explanations where missing. Like what happened to Chicago or the world that caused the factions to be created? What are there Dauntless soldiers guarding the fences outside of the factions? What are they guarding against and why is it used as punishment? And how the hell can the tattoos heal so dang on quickly?
The Dauntless never really seemed braved. They seemed to value more being bullies and attempting suicide stunts to show off. Most of them were just so very annoying!
Divergent isn’t the bang up dystopian novel it may come off as but it’s still a decent read. Makes you think about what you would choose and what your own beliefs would be.