Challenge Criteria: A dystopian novel
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
What I liked:
There have been a lot of comparisons to The Hunger Games, but the only thing these have in common is that they’re both dystopian fiction with a strong female lead.
Tris being strong enough to make her own way in the world was great, and it’s a great example set for young girls. The action scenes were just that, too – action-packed.
What I didn’t like:
I felt this book dragged an awful lot. Nothing really happened for the majority of the book, and there was far too much emphasis placed on the actual action scenes and on the initiation. To be honest, I felt the initiation took up a lot more than it needed to.
I thought that Tris being Divergent would have a lot more impact than it did. I was expecting her to be cast away from the moment she couldn’t be easily divided into a faction, yet instead she was sent to train with one of them.
Also, I didn’t really understand the factions at the beginning, and I didn’t feel the book did a whole lot to explain them in easy terms. I like having explainers, but for most of the book I was left wondering what the values of each faction were.
Out of five:
Fully aware of how I’ve set my head on the chopping block, I can’t give more than a three. I liked the book, but some of the plot wasn’t very exciting, or easily explained.