Divergent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book was definitely written to appeal to the Hunger Games/Scorch Trials crowd - the action is fast-paced, the characters are in competition, and the world is dystopic.
Here, we're in a future Chicago (no discussion of what happened to the rest of the US, and no curiosity on anyone's part about that). The rivers and Lake Michigan have dried up, the buildings are mostly abandoned and unkempt, but certain things remain, like the Sears Tower, the Hancock Building, Millennium Park, and the el. The city has been divided into quadrants, each inhabited by people who adhere to a certain philosophy: Dauntless, Abnegation, Erudite, Candor and Amity. Outside of school and a few other places, the factions don't mix; on your 16th birthday, you choose which faction you will stay with, a decision made in part based on aptitude testing.
Beatrice was born and raised in Abnegation, but when it's time to choose, she chooses Dauntless (although she's actually a Divergent, which is apparently A Very Bad Thing). While in Dauntless, she learns to be virtually impervious to pain, to shoot, to hurt others, and that being a small girl from Abnegation makes her a target so she needs to be tougher than everyone else. She does make friends, but she also makes enemies... and she catches the eye of Four, trainer of the transfer initiates.
One thing leads to another and it turns out that Erudite is creating an army to basically wipe out Abnegation (the leaders of Chicago). Between the shooting, kissing and cliffhanger ending, there's little surprising by the end.
What dropped this from a four star to a three star was that I really felt that the violence was turned up at the expense of virtually anything else, and the romance was tossed in to humanize Four and Beatrice rather than to really move the plot along. It's as if the author was trying to out Hunger Games Hunger Games.
ARC provided by publisher.
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