Divergent is the first novel in a set of three by the author Veronica Ross. Based in the ruins of Chicago, Illinois, USA in the future, it opens with a 16 year old, named Beatrice, getting ready to be tested to find out what social order she will follow for the rest of her life. She was born into Abgenation, and is not sure if she wants to stay in it for the rest of her life.
Testing day arrives for her and her brother. As she is going through the test, it is discovered that she is a divergent, one who does not particularly fit into any one of the 5 orders, and is also incapable of being controlled. She is told that she would be a good fit for either Abgenation or Dauntless.
She ends up choosing Dauntless, and changes her name to Tris. There she meets Four, and begins training to make it past the initiate’s stage of joining the Dauntless. Tris isn’t the greatest at combat, finds out she can control any hallucinations she is put into, and has no problems with the emotional training that is required of her as a Dauntless initiate.
At her mother’s request from Visiting Day, Tris sneaks out of training one day to go talk to her brother, Caleb, who had become a member of Erudite. The Erudites seem to have a problem with the Abgenation group, and are becoming increasingly antagonistic towards them.
Tris ends up getting caught and being taken to see the Erudite’s leader, Jeanine. As it turns out, Jeanine is trying to start a war to take out the Abgenation group by using the Dauntless as soldiers, to create her idea of a perfect world.
Tris is fully inducted as a member of the Dauntless, and is injected with a new tracking monitor. Turns out, it’s a mind control device to cause the Dauntless, and they are taken to start wiping out the Abgenation. Tris, Four, and several others, as Divergents, are immune to the effects, and start doing what they can to save people. Eventually, they are caught by Jeanine, and Four is placed under a stronger mind control drug, and taken to guard the mainframe that is controlling the Dauntless.
Tris, who was ordered to be killed by Jeanine, escapes, and manages to make it back to Dauntless headquarters to shut down the computer. She succeeds in not only stopping the Dauntless from causing even more havoc to the Abgenation people, she manages to wake up Four from his zombie like state he was placed in to guard the mainframe.
The book ends with Tris, Four, and a group of others heading for one of the other factions, Amity to regroup and figure out what to do next.
If one liked the Hunger Games series, and the post apocalyptic genre of young adult novels, Divergent would be a great choice to read. One quickly develops a rapport of sorts with the characters, finding them easy to identify with. Author Roth does a great job of keeping the reader in the story with the fast paced storyline and excellent plot twists that one just does not see coming.
Divergent is available at the Howard County Public Library. Copies are limited, so if it is unavailable, ask to be placed on the waiting list for it at the front desk.
In addition to serving as an associate librarian with the Howard County Library, Nicole Tracy has years of experience in literary fields. She writes an exclusive weekly column for The Nashville News.