The Story’s the Thing: Divergent trilogy
We all know and love the power of story, and there’s nothing better than finding new ones to lose yourself in. Check back on the blog every Wednesday for an eclectic smattering of the blogger’s favorite stories of all kinds. We hope you’ll discover new worlds, friends, and adventures–and maybe get re-acquainted with some old ones! Tell us what you think, and leave your own story suggestions in the comments.
The Dauntless blamed cowardice. The Erudite blamed ignorance. The Amity blamed aggression. The Abnegation blamed selfishness. The Candor blamed dishonesty.
This is the backdrop on which the Divergent novels (by Veronica Roth) take place. Five factions, in futuristic Chicago, who are divided by morals, values, and, most importantly, what they blame the fall of society on. At the age of sixteen, members of this society take an apptitude test–which takes them through a number of simulated scenarios–that tell them which faction they would most likely fit best in. And then they make the choice that will shape the rest of their lives–which faction will they choose to go to? The one they grew up in? Or will they change?
Divergent and its sequel Insurgent (the third book in the trilogy is not yet published) follow one girl in this society–Beatrice “Tris” Prior. During her apptitude test, Tris (who was born into Abnegation) learns that she has a unique result. She actually fits into more than one faction and is what is called “Divergent”. She’s warned that being Divergent is dangerous, life-threatening, and she must never tell anyone about this.
The book follows Tris through her apptitude test and her choice, and then through her initiation into her chosen faction. She’s faced with physical and psychological challenges, highly competitive fellow initiates, and must quite literally face her fears. And the whole time, she’s trying to find out just what it means to be Divergent, and the threats that come along with that label.
I first found these books earlier this year, not long before the publication of Insurgent, and I was completely swept away by the story. I couldn’t put the books down, and I found myself a little sleep-deprived while reading them (which is pretty much the highest compliment I can give any book). They’re exciting stories, with engaging characters, and I just had to know what happens next.
When I’m reading a story, one of the things that clicks for me most immediately is if I can find a character that I relate to. I related to Tris almost immediately. While I’ve never had to choose a faction, I have had to make choices that separate me (at least label-wise) from the rest of my family. I also know the feeling of struggling with identity and with coming to terms with fears that seem very real.
One of the other things I love about these books is that there is not a moment when you’re not wondering “why?” Whether it’s about what it truly means to be Divergent (which you don’t fully learn until Insurgent), or what knowledge one faction has against another, or how this all started, there are always questions going through your mind that will drive you to keep reading, if only to find out what’s going on.
I’m desperately looking forward to the third book of the trilogy, and I can’t recommend these books enough. The sleep-deprivation is totally worth it.