Book Review – Divergent

“Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it.” -Veronica Roth

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Ok, I have to admit that I was among many others who watched the commercials for this movie repetitively without even trying to and made my own assumptions about the book/movie/story based on those commercials and I am hear to be the voice of the mislead: The commercials do NOT lead you down the road the story in the book takes you. I said that weird but it’s because I don’t know what road the movie is going to take us down. I (obviously) won’t ruin anything until the spoiler section, but I have my theories about this adaptation.

If you are willing to put aside that this could be another Twilight Hunger Games Harry Potter  teenage “cult” style book, then you will love it. (Author’s note: I have read all of those books and re-read many of them. I am a fan.) This book, as it has been said many times before, greatly resembles the ideas behind The Hunger Games trilogy: strong female character who stands out from the rest, underlying love story, post-modern futuristic setting, etc. The resemblance, however, does not make this book any less entertaining, nor does it diminish the quality of The Hunger Games. There are similarities, but there are many differences that we can break down, too.

SPOILER ALERT

This is set in a future where there is no modern government as we know it to be today. The scenario involves five different factions of people: Abnegation, Erudite, Dauntless, Candor, and Amity. They each were formed based on their beliefs of the cause of the breakdown of the previous government and society. For example, Dauntless are the brave ones because the founders believed that cowardice was the previous cause for the destruction. The children at about 15-18 must decide which faction they wish to join but they cannot go back after their choice is made. They go through a test that helps them decide, but doesn’t make the decision for them in the end. The choice is theirs and theirs alone. After they choose, they go through initiation and if they fail, they are ‘factionless’ and left to work undesirable jobs such as garbage workers for little money.

The book follows Beatrice – who later changes her name to Tris (thankfully) – as she goes through her test to help her. Her results are ‘inconclusive’ because she is Divergent which is summarized to mean that she doesn’t fit into one faction perfectly. However, this is also basically a death stamp. If the upper-level officials discover that she is Divergent, they will kill her. She must continue to try to live as a normal Dauntless recruit and not do “too good” to avoid detection. She of course finds a guy to fall for – Four – and so we get to see that storyline play out as well.

She makes the cut to become a Dauntless and gets injected with a tracker serum that all the Dauntless are now receiving and it will “only be used if you go missing.” Sure. We totally believe that. And they all lived happily ever after….

Or not. The Eurdites are the smart ones – the researchers, professors, etc. – and they want to overthrow the Abnegation (selfless) faction because they rule the government. The tracking serum that they injected the Dauntless with sends them into a sleep-walking-perfectly-trained-completely-emotionless army for the Eurdites – all except for the two Divergent ones. This is why “Divergents threaten the system.” – they can’t be controlled.

SUMMARY

In regards to the movie, I think they have cut out a few characters and replaced them with existing characters, but I’m not sure how yet. One that I can guarantee gets an increased role is Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet). The commercials lead you to believe she is in the movie start to finish, but she doesn’t show up until about chapter 24 or so in the book. My guess is that she takes on some of Marcus Eaton (Ray Stevenson)’s villain role, but that’s just speculation.

In regards to the book, there are a lot of brave statements being made in this book at such an important part in our government’s history:

  • If we let the government continue ruling, they will seek to control us completely – with or without our knowledge.
  • People who think outside the box can cause problems for those in control.
  • Uniformity will never work in society. You cannot make someone be only one thing.

It’s hard to say that this didn’t happen on purpose because the book was published in 2012, but I think that it is a fantastic way to view the world that we live in and where we could be headed if we, as a society, are not fully aware of things going on around us.

I fully recommend this book! There is quite a bit of violence and a little bit of intimacy but no cursing.

GRADE: A

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