Divergent (Divergent, #1)

First Lines: There is only one mirror in my house.  It is behind a sliding panel in the hallway upstairs.  Our faction allows me to stand in front of it on the second day of every third month, the day my mother cuts my hair.

I will start this review with what I thought at the end of the book.  This is something I don’t normally do, so here goes: #$&^#%@!  (that was my brain upon finishing this.)

Beatrice Prior has lived a life of selflessness in her faction, Abnegation.  There are four other factions with four other virtues: Candor (truth), Dauntless (bravery), Amity (peace), and Erudite (intelligence).  Now that Beatrice is 16, she gets to choose whether or not she wants to remain in Abnegation or change to one of the other factions.  If she leaves, she must leave her family forever.  So she makes her choice.  During a wild initiation where Beatrice rechristens herself Tris, she struggles to figure out who she is and who her friends are…and what this really cute boy wants with her.  Tris must keep a secret, one that could get her killed.  And as war is threatened, Tris has to choose between the secret and the ones she loves…or she could lose everything.

The first 40 pages, the set up to the whole series, is sort of ho-hum.  It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s the set up.  There’s really not much action going on.  It’s all information.  And we get to start seeing who Beatrice really is.

After that, though, the book is a rocket, taking off and shooting for the sky.  It got to the point where I was forcing myself to finish my homework before I got anywhere near the book or I wouldn’t be able to stop.

The setting itself is incredible.  I don’t say this often.  It’s set in almost apocalyptic Chicago and I didn’t pick up on that for about 100 pages, even though it’s clearly stated on the book jacket.  Yay me.  But the descriptions of not only the city but of the places Tris spends her time are amazing.  You could practically see everything.

And the characters!  My God.  I’m in love.  Not only with Tris, but with her boy as well, who shall remain nameless as to not ruin the surprise.  (I had no idea who she was going to fall for and that made reading this more fun.)  The characters were strong, but vulnerable.  They were completely relatable, 100%.  Tris is amazing.  I could go on for another hour about everyone and everything, but I don’t think you want to hear it.

It’s quite fabulous.  I had reservations at first because dystopias aren’t always my thing, but this was more about the characters and the new Chicago than a dystopia like The Hunger Games.  What I mean by that is there was so much wreckage and so much wrong in THG.  You knew it was bad.  But Divergent didn’t focus on that, exactly.  Oh, it was present, but it was more about what Tris was seeing and doing and feeling.  I liked that.

I loved it.  Through and through.  Are you happy, David?  (You know who you are.)

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