Roth’s dystopian future resonates with readers (Divergent)

Roth’s dystopian future resonates with readers (Divergent)

Anne Yoskoski, Managing Editor

Ever since “The Hunger Games” Trilogy, many books have been released that have a strong heroine fighting for freedom in a dystopian future. Veronica Roth released one of those books, Divergent, in Feb. 2012. While Roth shares similarities with Suzanne Collins in her initial few chapters, the two authors take dramatic turns in different directions once the books hits it’s climax.

In Roth’s dystopian world, formerly Chicago, the population is divided into five factions, each boasting a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave),Erudite (the intelligent), and Amity (the peaceful).

On a certain day, all sixteen year olds select the faction in which they will spend the rest of their lives.  Some people, however, do not have an easy time choosing. Family ties and strengths aren’t always passed on to children, and aptitude tests, while usually able to identify a clear preference of faction, sometimes fall short. When a person cannot be neatly placed into just one category, they are labeled divergent. Beatrice, our strong willed heroine, re-brands herself as Tris and takes on the daunting task of becoming a “divergent”.

Being divergent is a dangerous thing in this world, as faction leaders may kill you once they learn your secret. Beatrice, now called Tris, joins the Dauntless and deals with the trials and tribulations of the three part initiation test, designed to train her to kill, survive, and confront her absolute worst fears.

Roth takes the reader into a world where the things that happen seem impossible, but the emotions that the characters carry hit home for readers. Tris is lonely, bullied, triumphant, romantically involved, and terrified. The characters in Roth’s novel grab the reader and apply a dystopian lens to everyday things like leaving home, confronting those who hate you for being different, being faced with a tough choice and having to make the right decision, and even consequences of revealing secrets and weaknesses.

Tris, while placed in a wildly different environment, is a sympathetic character to readers. The science fiction spin takes the problems of day to day life and extrapolates them into life and death situations, making this book thrilling and a fast read. Roth continues her winning streak with two other books in the trilogy, which I also recommend.