Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Review of Divergent

First of all...

Belgium - Algeria
2 - 1

Now, back to the review. 

Divergent is one of the better YA novels I've read. 
I've heard of this novel because it has already been adapted, so I was curious what it was about. Of course, film adaptation doesn't always mean that the source material is a great book. 
I'm glad this one was alright.

In short, it's about a young girl, Beatrice, age 16, who has to choose how she wants to spend the rest of her life. In this dystopia a war has happened and when that war ended, survivors began to analyse how it could begin in the first place. They developed 5 factions where each could thrive as best as they could. 
Candor - here live the ones who think dishonesty was the cause of so much trouble and they strive to be always truthful, even if it hurts.
Abnegation - People who think selfishness is the root of all evil thrive in this faction, as they put themselves second
Dauntless - Here you'll find people who believe that cowardness was the base of the trouble that occured and they challenge themselves to be as daring as possible.
Amity - Friendship lies at the base of this faction, as the people who join this group think that if everyone could get along war wouldn't exist.
Erudite - Knowledge is power, they think that the ignorance of too many people is the key to causing problems and eventually war and they work towards gaining as much knowledge as possible. 

Beatrice has to choose between these five different direction in life. She's been born in Abnegation and has been following that direction since then. Now she has to face the possibility of leaving her family to join a group that fits her. 
Of course this is only the premise onto which this story builds. Beatrice makes a startling choice, but she's somehow different. Before they choose they have to do a test, a kind of simulation which will tell them in which faction they belong. When Beatrice takes the test, something goes wrong and the girl doing the testing tells her she's divergent and she has to keep quiet about it. 

Beatrice chooses Dauntless and sets herself up to be tested to the very limits, but her curious test result keeps haunting her. She encounters friends and foes, even a romantic involvement and in the end she needs to solve a horrific chain of events. 

In the beginning Beatrice follows the same path as so many of the YA heroines have done before her, meaning she was unsure of herself, low selfesteem and an attraction to one of the teachers which she doesn't understand from the beginning and later on when it becomes obvious that he's as much into her as she is into him, she reads his signals wrong. At 16, you're supposed to know what this is all about. 
Luckily the author steers aways from this quite soon and she becomes more confident and I loved reading of her conquering the hurdles in her education. A wonderful role model. 
The climax being a bit over the top, mainly because it's completely unexpected (the moment between Beatrice finding out what is going on and the event actually happening is maybe two pages apart), doesn't hurt the story too much but I'm not sure the second novel can be as good as the first. 
I think of the Hunger Games. The first novel was wonderful, the second also because it followed the first in a lot of ways but made it more sexy and dangerous, but the third was a let down. It had fallen from a wonderfully stylished YA novel into something a bit off and on. Too much anticipation, too little action. 
That's why I'm wary that Divergent will travel along the same path. 
It's not going to stop me from reading it though.