In Beatrice Prior's world, society is divided into five "factions", each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue: Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Every year, all 16-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. But she also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy them.
Divergent is a conundrum to rate. On one hand, the world-building is extremely virtually nonexistent, but on the other hand it is action-packed and entertaining all the way through, to the point where you can’t put it down.
In Divergent, Chicago is now a dystopian society split into five different factions based on your personality.
On every citizen’s sixteenth birthday, they must decide which faction they want to reside in for the rest of their lives.
16-year-old Beatrice “Tris” Prior is an anomaly: she is Divergent, meaning she possesses traits of more than one faction. Ultimately, Beatrice decides to leave her Abnegation family and join Dauntless. But the leaders of her society know about her Divergence, and if they find her, they won’t hesitate to kill her.
The world-building is where the book truly lacks. The idea of a futuristic society separated into five different categories is intriguing, but ultimitely nonsensical. It is virtually impossible for a person to only have one personality trait that defines them. Most people are varying shades of gray, not just simple black and white, and I wish Roth had reflected upon that.
Yet, despite the poor world-building, this book is difficult to put down. There is action sequence after action sequence, and Roth leaves you constantly on your toes wondering what is going to happen next. Roth makes it so that you’re so absorbed in the action that you forget to look at the book cynically and bypass how improbable her society is.
Divergent is extremely entertaining. It doesn’t quite have the complexity of The Hunger Games, which it has constantly been compared to, but it is a readable and action-packed story nonetheless. If you’re a reader that loves well-written action scenes and doesn’t mind if their story has lackluster world-building, this is for you.