Veronica Roth
Divergent Cover



I really wanted to like Divergent by Veronica Roth. I read an article saying that it has been made into a movie to be released in 2014, and since I have a 13 Year Old, and I like to know what she is going to be dragging me to, I got burned by Twilight, and I swore never again.

This is the story Chicago, sometime in the future, after some unknown, but we can assume it was a war; disaster has destroyed the city and turned the Great Lakes into a marsh. Humanity has divided into five "factions" which a person must choose to enter when they reach 16. They take an aptitude test to help steer them to the faction their personality most reflex, but they have to make the ultimate decision themselves. These factions represent 5 different virtues espoused as the way to peace; honesty, selflessness, bravery, intelligence and peacefulness. Beatrice, or Triss as she is later called, has grown up in the Abnegation, or selfless faction, but she has always had trouble living with the ideas of self-sacrifice above all else. When she takes her aptitude test she is found to be equally strong in three factions, this is called divergence, and troubles the tester. The choice she makes and the repercussions of this are the remainder of the book. I hate to say more because it would be impossible to not include spoilers.

On the positives, the novel was well written, there was good character development, and the world created by Ms. Roth is interesting. My major problem with the story was the basic premise of the book, that given the right set of circumstances and stressors, anyone can bend human nature to promote only one aspect of personality, selflessness above all other, truthfulness always. No one, be they saint or sinner, is always truthful or always selfless. For the author to try and convince me that society was able to function that way for any length of time is frankly ludicrous. Because the major premise of the novel was so flawed, I found it impossible to enjoy this novel. I spent the entire time saying to myself, what they are asking for is impossible, no even semi rational society would try to establish themselves this way.

The novel is full of action, there is a chaste but intense love between two major characters, and the heroine is a spunky young woman who overcomes internal and external dilemmas, so I can see how this will do well in the theatres. I may consider reading the next novel in the series Insurgent, but if I do, it will be because the main character Triss is so spunky, but frankly I will not be in any hurry because I am not selflessness.