I spent a good chunk of the weekend immersed in the dystopian awesomeness of Veronica Roth’s Divergent. Divergent feels like the successor to The Hunger Games trilogy, the perfect book for those who are missing Katniss and Peeta and Gale. Like The Hunger Games, Divergent introduces readers to a futuristic world set right in the center of the present-day United States, and it follows a teenaged girl who moves into the position of hero, if sometimes reluctantly. One of the cool things about Roth’s novel is the set up of the society, a society confined to the city formerly known as Chicago. The society is divided into five factions, and each faction has a different strength, or value. There’s Candor, with the virtue of honesty, and Amity, whose people value peace above all else. The Erudite believe in intelligence; they devote their lives to learning and research. Dressed in black with tattoos and piercings, the Dauntless show their value of bravery by jumping from moving trains. And then there’s the faction Divergent’s protagonist, Tris, grew up in: Abnegation, those who value selflessness above all else.
When characters in this world turn sixteen, they get to choose to stay or leave the faction they were raised in. The teenagers take a test that indicates which faction is the best fit, but the final choice is up to the individual. Then again, in the world of Divergent, one can never quite be sure where a choice might lead, or if there are not as many choices as one might have thought. That’s certainly what Tris discovers, as she not only questions the faction she signed up for, but who she is and how her world works.
I love reading books that have a rip-roaring good story—and Divergent has that, it’s fast-paced and fun—but I also love books that make me think, and Roth does exactly that, posing the questions to her readers that she poses to her protagonist: Which faction would you choose? What are your greatest strengths?
Are they also your weaknesses? And while she starts to answer the questions in Divergent, she promises to keep us thinking, and wondering, in the next book of the trilogy due out in May. (You can read about it—and get excited!!—here.)