My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Here's what it's about (Synopsis from Goodreads)
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.
The first in a new series, Divergent is a brilliant dystopian novel with a twist- action packed and romantic all at the same time. Dark and violent but also tender and hope-filled. I love dystopian stories anyway, but this is one of the better ones. An extraordinary world, a heart-in-mouth battle, heart-wrenchingly painful moments, a love story to make you swoon- just excellent. Full of fantastic characters that you can really connect with, and especially Tris, who we get to see develop into this kick-ass powerful girl by the end of the story, but still with her fiercely protective attitude and her determination to make the world right. I loved the relationship between her and Four, which I thought developed at a good pace, and felt so sweet and believeable. They are both strong characters but their relationship is full of respect and supporting each other's weaknesses. They are not too proud to show vulnerability and to lean on the other for support. They are very well suited to each other, and I loved the strength of feeling between them.
This is one of the most talked about debut books of this year and it's easy to see why. Divergent flows so easily and holds you gripped all the way through, just rooting for Tris and Four. I didn't think it was quite as gripping as The Hunger Games but still brilliant. For all it's focus on politics and social ideas, I also didn't ever really think that society is headed towards being split into these factions in the future- you don't ever think that this could really happen 20 years down the line- but if you look past all of that and just accept the story for what it is- it is a fantastic story. I loved it, and I'm looking forward to the sequel.