by Veronica Roth
Synopsis (via Amazon):In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, 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 to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating 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 a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
Beatrice "Tris" Prior: The main character, Beatrice is from the faction of Abnegation, who are supposed to be the selfless types... but she's always felt she doesn't fit in, because by nature, she is not selfless. She chooses to go live with the Dauntless faction instead. Dauntless is a faction of warriors and risk takers, and also where Beatrice changes her name to the shortened version of "Tris"
Beatrice sees herself as unattractive... but as per usual in YA novels, it's simply her own perception of herself.
Four: Tris's instructor when she starts training as a Divergent. He is the main love interest, and a boy with secrets. I don't know what it was, but something about Tris and Four's love story really struck home for me. Maybe it's that it was born through blood and tears... and not just two dopey teens mooning over one another with little to no explanation of attraction other than hormones.
Thomas: Another High School student, and the one who lured Cas there in the first place... he is a mind-reader and a witch (although this book does not make it clear if ALL mind readers are witches or not). He attempts to befriend and watch out for Cas, and is dogged about it, even though Cas is a total jerk to someone who, you would think, Cas would recognize immediately as an important ally.
Caleb Prior: Tris's older brother, who choose to go live in the Erudite faction, which is the "intelligent" faction, always seeking to learn new things.
Christina: One of Tris's first friends in Dauntless, she is a good friend, but struggling through issues of her own.
Peter: Another Dauntless boy who is cruel and vicious. He causes plenty of problems for Tris and her friends.
Will: Another good friend of Tris's, and Christina's love interest.
Marcus Eaton: One of the leaders of the Abnegation group.
Al: A sweet, but weak willed, Candor born Dauntless initiate, and a friend of Tris's.
Tris's Parents: Tris's father is one of the leaders of Abnegation, and both of Tris's parents have secrets they're hiding.
Writing: The book is fast flowing, with constant action, making it a quick read. The language is dynamic and the prose flow smoothly from one event to the next.
Ending:Shocking. That's all I have to say. Shocking.
While I saw some of it coming, I truly did not expect half of what happened in the last few pages of that book.
Plot:I enjoyed the plot of this book. Granted, it's one of those dystopian futures, much like the Hunger Games, where you sit around for a while wondering why anyone would even set their whole society up like that in the first place... although it's more plausible when you realize that this is, in face, not the entire world, but one large city (Chicago).
The story actually spends most of its time following the personal struggle of the main character, Tris, as she fights to earn her place in the Dauntless society, and to find out who she really is.
The story then smoothly transitions from Tris's own inner struggle, to a much larger war that has been raging in secret between the factions. Tris and her friends are pulled into it in a plausible manner and the scene is set for book two.
Believability of World: Like I said, it's one of those dystopian novels that make you wonder, "How did the society even get like this?" ... but for me, that doesn't ruin the story in the least. I expect dystopian novels to have extreme societies.. and this one has a structure that is believable and fun to watch unfold.
Overall Grade: B ~ This was a fun, fast read. Would I reread this book? Probably not. It didn't bring anything new and ground-breaking to the dystopian genre... but will I pass it on to others to read? Heck yeah. An absolutely enjoyable book.