A sigh escapes from my lips as soon as I read the last sentence of Veronica Roth’s Divergent. It is a sigh of two things: 1) of relief – that I finally finished that gripping novel and can finally start studying for Bio25 and NatSci4; and 2) of disappointment – that I finally finished that cliffhanging novel and would have to start studying for Bio25 and NatSci4 so as to distract myself from the fact that I would have to wait an entire year to find out what happens next.
Divergent is a dystopian novel, meaning it takes place in a world that is as bad as it can be. It’s somewhat a cross between The Hunger Games and The City of Ember, but the keyword here is ‘somewhat’.
Anyhow, the people in the Divergent world believe that what they have is a perfect system. Come the age of sixteen, a person is free to choose how he/she lives, depending on the faction he/she decides to join. Then again, one can question the use of the words ‘free’, ‘choose’, and ‘decide’ as each of the 5 factions available dictates a way of living – companions, thought line, dialogue, action, everything. Your faction dictates your life.
Each faction focuses on a particular value- Candor (honesty), Amity (peace), Erudite (intelligence), Dauntless (bravery), and Abnegation (selflessness), and members must live to the extremes of upholding whatever value their faction represents. Story background reveals that in the makings of this world, the people had much good intentions – each of them believed that one of the 5 values (whatever their faction value is) would provide the means of better living, of the ridding of problems. Unfortunately, this belief actually backfired.
Choosing one value and forever condemning the others never accounted to anything. Too much of something has always been bad. What they should have done was develop a good balance of both.
Enter the Divergent who pretty much don’t belong in any of the 5 factions. Their tendency to act and think impulsively, that is not according to the dictations of any of the factions, is what marks them as ‘dangerous’. But it is also what marks them as exceptional.
Divergent’s tagline is pretty straightforward. “One choice can transform you.” It’s true in our world as well. Any choice we make in this life can make or break us. But no matter what decisions we make, what is important is that we stick by them.
Tris and Four make great lead characters. I like the fact that they weren’t made superficially perfect – they both show strengths and weaknesses throughout the story. I predicted Four’s true identity right from the beginning – the hints thrown by the author only confirmed my assumptions. Deaths are unavoidable in these kinds of stories, but as I thought back when reading The Hunger Games and Battle Royale most especially, such young people doing such things is unspeakable. Then again, maybe that’s just me speaking out my own biased opinion…
It’s a brilliant book, all in all. I suggest you all read! It’s quite a refreshing change after all the conventional dark fantasy – vampire/supernatural hoohah- young adult books that keep popping up one after the other.
And n0w, it’s back to studying… Sigh.