Monday, April 8, 2013

Divergent by Veronica Roth

I won a copy of Insurgent a few weeks ago and had to scramble to find an available copy of Divergent (book 1) at the library.

Even though it has been out two years this month, I didn't have any friends who'd read it and didn't really know what it was about -- somehow, I had managed to avoid spoilers (a grand feat).

I am so glad I knew nothing about the story when I began it.  I was sucked into the world immediately, emotionally invested from the beginning, and I'm not quite sure what magic Veronica Roth worked to assure this outcome.

Divergent speaks on the deepest need we humans have -- the need to belong.  It explores that idea in a family setting and a societal setting, with friends, leaders, acquaintances and classmates.  It's a powerful story of how we divide ourselves, and how dangerous that can be. The subcultures created in this setting are meant to separate, sometimes with tragic results.

It also explores our need for power, and the corruption that inevitably follows.  A society of the type depicted in Divergent can only last as long as the leaders are able to keep control firmly in hand.  When the people realize they can wield power (and aren't afraid to try), a revolution often occurs.

With this social and political commentary as a backdrop, one girl searches for her identity in the midst of a life altering decision, a budding romance, and familial expectations.  It's breathtaking to watch unfold -- and sometimes horrifying.

Divergent is categorized as YA dystopian fiction, but there's a lot more it has to offer.  There are several twists and turns, advanced science experiments, and danger in spades, so this story could also appeal to mystery lovers, thriller admirers and science fiction readers.

I'd recommend this story to just about everyone, really.  You'll easily be able to empathize with the main character as I found myself doing, and you also might find yourself subconsciously attempting to philosophize on which faction you'd belong to.

It's an exciting ride and I can't wait to read Insurgent.

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