Divergent begins the tale of young Beatrice Prior as she starts to find her way in a dystopian society broken into four different factions. The story centres in on Beatrice as she comes of age and embarks upon choosing her own faction, which takes her away from the life she has led up until this point. Beatrice renames herself Tris, and sets about finding out who she really is and what she is willing to do to survive. The book occasionally pans out from its pivotal character development to show cracks in the dystopian society around Tris, hinting of the direction the rest of the trilogy will head in.
Just for teens?
I think I'm a decade (or two) out from being able to call myself a young adult, but I still happily enjoyed this book as an easy to read yet engaging story. The book draws you in with quick character development that has you caring about what happens in the next chapter with genuine, 'I don't want to put the book down' moments. The tale asks genuine questions about society norms and positions itself well away from other popular dystopian reads. This first novel could be described as one long initiation trial for 'Tris', a little like Hunger Games but without the violence, but with lives still clearly at stake.
Book vs Movie
As a fan of seeing how a movie adaptation compares with the book, I was first in line to see the film at the cinema. As usual, my preference sided with the book and the vivid scenes my imagination conjured up, but the film did do a great job of personifying certain character traits to provide clarity. I also loved seeing how the world looked on the big screen and seeing how the film production made each faction look and act so different. The fight scenes were very good in the film production too.
I recommend this book for fans of dystopian concepts and deserving heroines. It's a quick read book if you're an older adult and want some easy yet thought provoking entertainment.