I love dystopian novels. Brave New World is one of my all-time favorite books. And when I heard about the Divergent trilogy, I was intrigued. I will now do a trilogy of reviews, one for each book: Divergent, Insurgent, and the upcoming Allegiance.
Now I want to clear something up. The hype machine for next year’s tie-in movie has been billing it and the books as “the next Hunger Games”. (For the record, I enjoyed The Hunger Games) It is anything but. The heroine, Beatrice Prior, is less confident than Katniss, the heroine of The Hunger Games. The environment is more urban than The Hunger Games, taking place in a futuristic Chicago. The only thing Veronica Roth’s trilogy has in common with Suzanne Collins’s is that they both have female leads.
In the world of Divergent’s Chicago, the world is recovering after a war, which has divided it into five factions. Each one is geared toward a specific virtue. They all have a specific logo, color scheme, and culture.
Abnegation wears gray. Their virtue represents altruism, putting others before yourself. They are in charge of the Council, Chicago’s governing body, because it is believed that because they value others more than themselves, they are incorruptible. They abhor vanity, to the point where they don’t even have mirrors. They never draw attention to others if they assist, which is in keeping with Jesus’s advice–do good without boasting (Matthew 6:1-4). At the start, this is the faction to where Beatrice belongs, however, she doesn’t feel as if she fits in.
Amity is the faction that is geared toward peace. They wear red and yellow and hold counseling facilities around the city. They are very affectionate towards each other, as Beatrice notes to the reader when she sees two members greet each other by hugging as if they are siblings. This is really all we know in the first book, but the second book goes more into their culture.
The Candor are for honesty and work in consort with the Abnegation. They wear black and white to represent their simplistic viewpoint. They are not only trained to always tell the truth without discretion (yes, that dress does make you look fat), but also to determine if others are being honest as well.
The Dauntless wear black and represent bravery. They can also be identified by their tattoos and/or body piercings. They are the ones protecting the city, working in consort with the Candor and the Erudite. However, they are disdainful towards Abnegation, rudely addressing them as “Stiffs”.
Finally, there are the blue-wearing Erudite. They represent the intelligent and are the most arrogant as well.
When someone turns sixteen, he/she goes to the Hub (the Sears Tower in today’s world). There they are given a serum that induces a simulation. Your decisions during the simulation determine where you belong. Furthermore, faction is given total precedence–“faction before blood.” During the test, Beatrice discovers she is Divergent, meaning that she has aptitude for more than one faction. She joins the Dauntless, where she meets Four, a boy who becomes a close friend. Eventually, she learns there is a conspiracy between the Erudite and the Dauntless.
To explain more would spoil things more than I probably already have. My next review, for Insurgent, will explain the flaws of each faction and review the plot of that book as well.