Sunday, January 20, 2013
Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth
Author: Veronica Roth
Enjoyment Rating: ****
This book would be rated: PG-13
Source: Audible for iTunes
We've had a stretch of super-nasty weather here in Salt Lake. It started around New Year when the temperature plunged to lows below zero and highs in the single digits. Then a little over a week ago, two feet of snow dumped on our fair city, and when the snow blew out of town, it brought in an inversion that has stayed for at least a week. I can't see the mountains. The mountains are huge, and they start a mile from my house. It's the kind of weather that keeps runners inside.
For a few days, I did stay inside, on my treadmill, which is worse than anything except not running at all. Then I started up outside again, and I needed something to keep my mind off the fact that my fingers and toes were turning into blocks of ice. I was lucky to have Divergent to keep me company. My friend Michelle recommended Divergent, and although I'd seen it in the Audible sales from time to time, I'd always passed over it, writing it off as "just another teenage dystopian romance" in the vein of The Hunger Games. But I trust Michelle, so I downloaded the book, and it was another that kept me listening until the kids begged me to turn my iPod off.
Beatrice is a sixteen-year-old living in Chicago, but a very different Chicago than the one we know. Residents of the city are sorted into one of five tribes (think Hogwarts), each based on a character attribute that the people in that tribe have or want to have (a flawed premise, but you have to buy into it if you want to enjoy the rest of the story) . The sorting is based on an aptitude test, and when Beatrice takes the test, she's told that she's divergent, which means that she'd do equally well in more than one of the tribes. But she chooses Dauntless (the brave ones) instead of Abnegation (the self-sacrificing ones), the tribe she'd been brought up in.
Most of the book centers on Beatrice's training in Dauntless, and her budding relationship with Four, one of her trainers. But as the story progresses, the plot thickens and the tribes, which have lived together peaceably for many years, suddenly face an uprising.