This is the first book in easily one of my favorite series. Divergent by Veronica Roth is set in a dystopian city, quarantined off from the rest of the world. Society is divided into five factions, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, Erudite, and Candor, each having their own specific purpose and place. The book opens when the main character, Beatrice “Tris” Prior, is about to take a test that will tell her which faction she is supposed to be in. Adding to the pressure, Tris fails the test, learning that she is what’s called “divergent”, meaning she has an aptitude for more than one faction.
Hailing from the faction of selflessness, Abnegation, Tris shocks everyone when she chooses Dauntless, the faction of the brave who are in charge of protecting the city, and who are thought by most to be extremely reckless. Not only does she have to worry about making it through initiation (before she can become a full member of Dauntless), she also has to be cautious that no one finds out what she really is. Being divergent is a threat to society, as those who are do not fit into one specific faction and are not able to fulfill a designated role.
The dynamics in the relationship between Tris and her instructor, Four, is probably one of the best modern literary relationships I’ve seen. Generally in popular stories, the romantic relationships are either overshadowed by the plot or they are too lovey-dovey. The connection between Tris and Four is unique because is displays a real-life relationship. They fight and bicker and take their needed time apart but they are always there for each other. Four doesn’t hold Tris’ hand and Tris doesn’t take attitude from him and shockingly enough, both are fully-functional characters on their own.
Jeanine Matthews is quite unique as well. Villains are thought to be ever present and cause tons of havoc, and Jeanine does. However, what I like about Jeanine’s character is that she plays the villain without ever having to be in story. She is mentioned multiple times but is only seen once at the end of the novel and it is then that we get a full sense of her character. Up until that point, there is a great deal of mystery surrounding her and once she appears, all hell breaks loose.
Tris is divergent and makes a choice that sends her straight into the middle of a war because what makes her different makes her a liability. If you’re looking for an action-packed story with a great plot and highly dynamic characters, I recommend grabbing a copy of Divergent.