Thursday, August 14, 2014

Divergent by Veronica Roth

"Decades ago our ancestors realized that it is not political ideology, religious belief, race, or nationalism that is to blame for a warring world.  Rather, they determined that it was the fault of human personality- of humankind's inclination toward evil, in whatever form that is.  They divided into factions that sought to eradicate those qualities they believed responsible for the world's disarray."

   Beatrice Pryor lives in a post-apocalyptic world where people are classified into five factions and that is where they live, regardless of whether it is with their family.  Everyone takes a test to see which group they fit into.  Whether it is the peace-loving Amity, the protectors of Dauntless, the truth-tellers of Candor, the selfless and governing faction of Abnegation, or the smart people of Erudite, everyone must choose where they belong.  Anyone can switch from the faction they were born into, but most don't.  When Beatrice takes her test, her results are inconclusive; she is a Divergent.  She doesn't conform to their mindset.  The test doesn't work on a Divergent.  And there are those who think they are very dangerous, and are out to contain and kill them all.
   During the choosing ceremony, Beatrice's brother surprisingly chooses Erudite and she chooses Dauntless.  But it doesn't take long for Tris (formerly Beatrice until changing her name when she chose Dauntless) to realize that she doesn't exactly belong in this faction either.  It seems like there is nowhere she would exactly fit in like everyone else.  And because she is weak, she is in danger of being cut from the initiation.  Those that don't make the cut are factionless.  To some, this is a fate worse than death.  Four, an instructor, starts helping her, although Tris doesn't always realize it.  He recognizes her potential and she soon starts rising in the ranks.  However, this causes her to form enemies within the initiates.  Some of them are ruthless and will do whatever it takes to keep their rankings and stay in Dauntless.  Not only are some of the initiates ruthless, but some of the leaders as well.  It seems that they have strayed from their original manifesto of "We believe in ordinary acts of bravery, in the courage that drives one person to stand up for another."  
   The further Tris gets into initiation, the more in danger she is.  Not only from those jealous of her position, but those who hate her former faction.  She will never completely conform.  Four tries to help her all that he can, and the two of them start falling for each other.  He has his secrets too.  Secrets that will hit closer to home for Tris than she could ever imagine.  But they are both strong, and they must uncover what the Erudite are up to before it is too late.

"Fear doesn't shut you down; it wakes you up.  I've seen it. It's fascinating." He releases me but doesn't pull away, his hand grazing my jaw, my neck.  "Sometimes I just...want to see it again.  Want to see you awake."-Four

   There is so much in this book that I could never cover all of it in a review of this book, so I didn't even try to.  I only went over a small bit of it instead.  I have to say that it was an excellent read!  Beatrice Pryor just might be one of my new favorite heroines now.  She becomes strong and brave.  And she learns that being brave and being selfless are sometimes one and the same.  Facing your fears doesn't always mean conquering them either.  Sometimes they are always there.  It's more about not letting the fear control you.        So many big lessons in this book.  Beatrice becomes Tris, strong and brave Tris.  She also becomes a little harder and doesn't always help others like she would have in the past.  This causes her some guilt, but it is something she learns from.  You can only try to do better next time.  You can't go back and undo what has been done.  Survival in Dauntless is very hard and unforgiving.
   And then there is Four.  Four who has many secrets.  Also Four who likes Tris.  He is a hard and seemingly ruthless guy, but underneath it all he is just as human as the rest.  He may be intimidating, but he wants the best for the initiates and drives them hard so they won't fail.  Tris has a hard time deciding how he feels about her sometimes until Four makes it clear that it's not safe for people to know about their feelings for each other.  Once she goes into his simulation, Tris understands his fears and just who Four really is.
   As if it isn't hard enough to have to try to make it through initiation, Tris's entire faction is in danger because of the Erudites.  They are trying to stir up trouble by releasing mostly false reports about the Abnegation withholding luxuries from everyone and how the whole faction is corrupt.  But it will end in an explosive conflict that will leave you wanting more of this story!
   By the way, to me, it seems like the Divergent are the only normal people in this society.  They are our interpretation of a well-rounded individual.  Interesting, is it not?

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