In Beatrice’ world, people are divided into five castes according to their strengths – Abnegation are the selfless, Erudite the intelligence, Candor the truthful, Dauntless the brave and Amity the peaceful. Until their 16th birthday, kids just live in the caste of their parents, but then there’s an aptitude test and they have to choose their own place. For Beatrice that means ending up to choose Dauntless, while her brother chooses Erudite – much to the shock of their parents who practically lose them both since they remain in Abnegation. Adapting to the new caste is a challenge for Beatrice, now Tris, and having a crush on her instructor Four doesn’t help. But there are even bigger things at stake.
Divergent is a book that pulls you in and along, which is a good thing because I wasn’t interested enough that I would have weathered longer periods of drag. But as is, it was quite entertaining.
I didn’t know much about the book before going in, but I knew Four’s real name. And lo and behold, that turns out to actually be a spoiler. Not a huge one and it’s not like you can’t enjoy it anymore if you know, but it’s still a bit sucky.
Generally Four wasn’t really my cup of tea. Not a hero I would want. But then again, it’s not me who has to want, it’s Tris and that worked fine. It was also nice that we got a couple that was close in age (16 and 18; and not like, say, 17 and 109) which made it absolutely amusing that everybody kept commenting, “isn’t he too old for her?” What was less amusing was that nobody thought it worth commenting that Four is Tris’ teacher/superior which makes her dependant on him and that makes relationships in that constellation a little questionable. But in fact the only comment about that power imbalance comes from Four who doesn’t want to make their relationship public until after her evaluation since people could think that he gave her a free pass. Dude, that’s so not the issue.
But not only wasn’t Four my thing, I also didn’t particularly like Tris. And the entire world Roth built is so completely screwed up and I thought that the wrong values were pushed to the foreground. Understandable in that world if not the only possible way to go, but not so much a good morality in our world (and books also always transport that).
Still, I’ll continue reading. But it probably won’t be my favorite series.
Summarising: Fine, but not great.