This book was recently lent to me by a friend because they knew I liked The Hunger Games and figured I would like this series as well! Well, they were right (so far…)
Divergent has been compared to The Hunger Games series and I’ve read that it is described as being very similar. I disagree. The only true similarities are the post-apocalyptic settings and that the main character from both books is a tough girl.
I liked Divergent because I actually liked Tris. I’ve heard people say they didn’t like her, that she was mean or annoying, but I didn’t find her so. That is, yes she was rather mean sometimes but she wasn’t a “mean character” if you get what I mean. She wasn’t evil, she did mean things, but not for the sake of being mean (usually); she did mean things because she’s human.
To call her by her true name, Beatrice was a daredevil but she still had that human kindness from her Abnegation upbringing. Also, as she was a divergent she thought more about what she did than the others did, she was more methodical in her methods of training. With the shooting and knife throwing she would pay attention to things like posture and stance rather than a “pull-the-trigger-with-the-gun-pointing-at-the-target” kind of learning capacity. I admire her (not her selfishness of course, for she is selfish sometimes) but the way she stands up for her friends, and fights for what she believes. The way she makes the hard choice in life, to leave her family behind in order to follow her dreams. I admire that most, the courage to follow your dream and stand by your convictions even through hardship and opposition.
Eric was a clever nasty character, but he wasn’t an attractive nasty character. Sometimes the villains of stories can be intriguing. For example, Loki from Thor and The Avengers is a rather interesting and attractive villain (now I’m not referring to looks here, although he’s that kind of attractive too!) Eric had nothing attractive about him. He was nasty, crazy, cruel, insane, jealous, greedy, and traitorous.
Four was an intriguing character. There’s so much we don’t know about him (although we learn more progressively through the book). He’s strange; he can be abrupt and mean, sometimes appearing cruel, he’s bossy and stuck up, although when he lets his guard down suddenly you remember, he’s just eighteen. That was something I ha a hard time accepting about Four, the fact that he was only eighteen, he seems so much older. When we discover who he truly is though… that was a plot twist I was not expecting!
Very brief summary (*WARNING: SPOILERS*)
The world has changed. After the last great war people divided into five factions by which to live in order to maintain peace and stability. Beatrice Prior’s family is of the Abnegation faction. Abnegation believe in selflessness and devoting their lives to helping others. They volunteer, help the homeless, do the jobs no one really wants to do. This year Beatrice is sixteen and will choose the faction in which she will be initiated and live out the rest of her life. All the children her age must do this in a yearly ritual. First they have aptitude tests to determine which one of the five factions they are best suited for and then in the ceremony the next day, they make the final decision themselves. When Beatrice takes her aptitude test the results are inconclusive. She could be one of three factions, instead of being given the one suggested. She could be Abnegation, Dauntless, or Ertdite. This makes her what she learns is a “divergent”. It is dangerous to be known as a divergent, the test administrator changes her test results in the computer to read Abnegation, the faction Beatrice is from and then the test administrator warns her never to tell anyone she’s divergent. The next day Beatrice and her brother Caleb must choose their factions. The whole family expects Caleb will choose Abnegation, he suits it so well, but with Beatrice they are less sure. They can choose, Abnegation: Selflessness, Dauntless: Bravery, Candor: Honesty, Erudite: Knowledge, or Amity: Kindness. When the time comes Caleb goes forward, and to everyone’s shock, transfers to Erudite: Knowledge. Beatrice tries to convince herself to stay for her parents’ sake, but in the end, transfers to Dauntless: Bravery.
The initiation process for Beatrice is hard. She shortens her name, to Tris and, with the other fourteen initiates, some Dauntless-born, some not, she begins to fight for one of the ten spots open. If she is not in the top ten, she is left factionless, a reject, unaccepted by any faction. They learn to shot guns, how to fight in hand-to-hand combat, how to throw knives, how to plan attacks, and combat fear. At all costs they must mask fear. They are Dauntless, they are brave.
If you want to know how it turns out… well, read the book! 😉
All in all, 8 out of 10. I definitely liked The Hunger Games better, but I did read the vast majority of this book while waiting in a hotel hallway for an audition so I might have been slightly distracted 😉 Still, a very good book!