Gripping. If I had to pick one word to describe my experience with the young adult novel Divergent by Veronica Roth, ‘gripping’ would win, hands down. Tris grips the gun as if her life depends on it. It does. I grip the pages and will them to move the story along, faster, faster.
Classic teenage love saga. Girl leaves home, makes friends and enemies, falls in love with boy, the end. Right? Not.
In a dystopic world outside of Chicago, a society lives under the pretense that the world outside the wall has been destroyed due to the actions of the human race. Those who value peace are Amity. Those who value honesty are Candor. The intelligent, Erudite. The selfless, Abnegation. And finally, those who value bravery are Dauntless. Faction determines where your loyalties lie for the rest of your life. Faction before blood, or so it would seem.
It’s in the faction Abnegation that protagonist Beatrice (Tris) Prior finds herself in a predicament: when they reach the age of 16 years old, all citizens must choose a faction in which to build their life. Tris, raised amongst the plain, selfless Abnegation, finds herself in a struggle between choosing the life she’s always known, the life she’s comfortable with, and the life she never dreamed she could have.
While the story starts out in the plain house of an Abnegation family, it’s evident through Tris’ narration that the excitement of the novel is not far away. From jumping off trains to hanging of the edge of the chasm, one quality this story is not lacking is charged energy. There is, quite literally, never a dull moment.
Even though the characters are engaging and the story is vibrant, the history of the city is quite underdeveloped. As someone who urges to be an informed reader, the lack of backstory was irritating to me. Where did the faction system originally stem from? What happened outside of the wall that keeps the citizens enclosed?
Though the story and characters are intriguing, it lacks backstory and audience knowledge of the topic at hand. But two more books are in the Divergent Series. Perhaps these faults are rectified in Insurgent or Allegiant.
I give this book 4/5 stars.
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