Divergent: Divergent Trilogy, #1 -- Veronica Roth
If you're a regular reader here, you know that.
So, yes. I got to Veronica Roth's Divergent a little bit late.
Did you notice how I didn't post at all at the end of last week?
That was partly due to being busy with regular camp stuff, but mostly, it was due to the fact that I sat down with Divergent on Friday morning, meaning to read the first few chapters...
...and then suddenly, it was, like, five hours later and I'd finished the book and I had to scramble to pack my things and head up to Waterford.
This isn't going to be a review-review, because I didn't even take the time to dog-ear pages, let alone take any notes: That's how enthralled I was.
It's set in future (yes, it's a dystopia) Chicago, in which people are split into five factions. Each faction believes that the world went blooey due to the lack of one specific virtue, and so, to Prevent Future Badness, each faction strives to embody that virtue: Amity strives for peace, Candor for honesty, Abnegation for selflessness, Erudite for intelligence, and Dauntless for bravery. The factions don't agree on much, and don't have much to do with each other.
At age sixteen, each resident chooses a faction. If she switches factions, after that, she'll have little-to-no contact with her biological family for the rest of her lives.
Beatrice was raised in Abnegation, but knows herself to be too selfish to ever truly belong there.
So she makes her choice, and in so doing, enters a competitive (and sometimes brutal) initiation, gets to know people raised in other factions, is involved in intrigue, and discovers that All Is Not Well Behind The Scenes of Dystopian Future Chicago. (Surprise!) And yes, there is romance. (Double surprise!)
She finds that she has untapped reserves of Survival, Inner Strength and Capability. Which is a good thing, as she's going to need them.
So, YEAH. PAGETURNER.
Minor issues: The author fell into the Main-Characters-Have-The-Perfect-Opportunity-To-Do-In-A-Baddie-But-Inexplicably-Let-Him-Live trap; I felt a bit uncomfortable with the focus on the Big Bad's body type, which seemed to buy into the Pick-Apart-Strong-Women-For-Their-Physical-Appearance-Rather-Than-Their-Actions mentality; the villains were more Pure Villain than human; and the heroine (who I mostly loved) was really slow on the uptake about her trainer's motivations.
That said, I thought Beatrice was a great main character, imperfect and believable. I liked that while she's the main character and there's Something Special about her, she isn't a One True Savior type (I can't really go into that fully because it's way spoilery). The story had some excellent, excellent twists, and the world-building within the factions was well done.
(Also, I liked the part where she BEAT THE CRAP out of a person who really had it coming. Even though I don't think I was supposed to approve quite as wholeheartedly as I did.)
Like I said: HOLY COW, WHAT A PAGETURNER.
Highly recommended for fans of The Hunger Games, etc.
Book source: ILLed through my library.