Last year I did a lot of book purchasing, but not a lot of book reading. One of the things I bought was the Divergent series. I'd heard it was set to be the next Hunger Games, and I like that style of story, but I kept putting off starting the series. So fast forward to the week before the movie was set to come out. I finally sat down and read it. And wow. I'm glad I did.
The book follows sixteen year old Beatrice Prior, an Abnegation girl who doesn't feel right in her faction's skin. The world as she knows it, is split into five factions that are based on character traits. The Candor are all about the truth, they were black and white only, and say everything that comes to mind. They are the lawyers and judges. The Erudite are the smart ones. Always on the quest for knowledge, they research constantly. They were blue and are the teachers and scientists. The Dauntless are the wild, fearless ones. They jump off trains daily as a way to get around. They wear all black and are the protectors of the city. The Amity are the hippies of the group. Always happy, never negative. They are the farmers and where red and yellow. The Abnegation are basically the Amish. They are selfless, never having much, in favor of giving it to the factionless. They are the public servants, volunteers and the government. They only wear gray and aren't even allowed to look in the mirror except every once in a while, for only a few seconds. When the children hit age sixteen, they are forced to take an aptitude test, which determines which faction they are supposed to belong to. Its faction before blood, and you aren't always guaranteed your family's faction.
Beatrice and her brother Caleb both take the test (and no, they are not twins), and Beatrice's tests results come back inconclusive. The Dauntless lady named Tori that administers her test tells her that she's Divergent, and that she has to keep it to herself or that she could end up dead. Tori doesn't elaborate much more than that, and Beatrice is left to wonder what that means. At the Choosing Ceremony the next day, Beatrice is forced to make the decision of which faction she wants on her own, and she chooses Dauntless. Her brother chose Erudite, much to Beatrice's shock. Caleb was the perfect Abnegation boy.
After the Choosing Ceremony, they go back to their new potential factions, and that's when things get crazy for Tris (she decided that Beatrice didn't fit the Dauntless scene). I can't really go into too much more without a ton of spoilers, and I already plan on dumping a ton of those tomorrow when I review the movie. But the book is very good. There really isn't a slow moment in it, and you get to see what lengths some people will go to to get what they want. It does get very violent in the training compound, and *I think these may constitute spoilers* I will say that if things like suicide, child abuse and rape are triggers for you, please be warned that those issues are in this book.
Overall, it was a strong book and a great way to start the trilogy. I do wonder why the author thought some of the things she wrote about were appropriate for a YA audience though. While not written in an explicit, adult way, some of the stuff I don't think is suitable for younger readers. They couldn't even put it in the movie in order to keep their PG-13 rating so they could reach that target audience.