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Are you selfless or brave?

July 22, 2013

‘Divergent’ by Veronica Roth, is a young adult dystopian novel with a fast pace, occasional moments of reflection and budding romance. The main character is a strong young woman, forced into a situation she is not prepared for, but she rises to the challenge and finds love – and her true self – along the way.

In the future, the residents of Chicago have divided into factions based on particular character traits. Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave) and Erudite (the intelligent).  Each faction keeps largely to themselves, and deals with designated tasks.

DivergentOnce a year, each resident aged 16 is given an aptitude test and then get to choose to permanently remain in the faction they were born to, or switch to another. Beatrice (Tris) chooses to leave Abnegation and switch to Dauntless, although her abnormal test results showed she was equally suitable for three factions, making her Divergent – a dangerous trait she is warned to hide. Why?  She doesn’t know.

Twenty initiates are vying for only 10 places in Dauntless – competition is fierce, rough and sometimes lethal. The first stage is  hand-to-hand combat, which sees her seriously injured. The second stage is facing your fears in virtual simulations, where Tris has an advantage, because Divergents can manipulate simulations. Finishing this stage  first place puts her in danger from the other initiates, and from the Erudite faction who destroy any Divergents they find.

The final stage is facing her ‘Fearscape’ where all her fears converge in a simulation where she will be judged on how quickly she copes with them. By this point, a romantic relationship is developing between Tris and her instructor Four.

The action and suspense are not confined to Tris’ journey through initiation however, as the Erudite faction has developed a mind-control serum they plan to use to make the Divergent warriors wipe out Abnegation, so they can seize control of the city.  Will Tris make it through initiation?   And if she does, what can she do to save her Abnegation family?

This novel is first in a trilogy, and is being made into a movie by Summit Entertainment.  The other two books continue the journey to a very unexpected ending!  If you liked ‘The Hunger Games’, you will likely enjoy this also.  4/5

-Natalie

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