I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter!!
So, for this month we have, *drumroll please* Divergent!
Let's dive right in, shall we?
Now I know what you're all thinking.
Because I've heard it before. Those sidelong glances and funny looks from fellow homeschoolers who remark concernedly, "You're reading that?" and wonder if my parents even care that the filthy lies of the culture are infiltrating my morals and pulling me to the dark side.
Needless to say, books like this one don't always get such a great rep around us, huh?
Nevertheless, (thought I) all the more reason to read it and write a solid review from a Catholic perspective! (Disclaimer: I actually did get parental permission)
The storyline itself is pretty simple stuff: society has crumbled, decades of wars have forced the government to control...everything, and the people have little or no say in...anything. Yup. Dystopian to a T.
They do however, have one choice.
On a citizen's sixteenth birthday, they must undergo an aptitude test and, from their results, choose between five social groups, or "factions" in which to spend the rest of their life. The factions, Abnegation, Erudite, Candor, Amity, and Dauntless each have a unique set of rigorous customs and lifestyles to which its members must adhere. Anyone trying to be different is considered a threat to the power of the government. "Faction before blood," the authorities say.
Tris, the female protagonist, discovers she is Divergent, and therefore, doesn't fit into any one category. This first of a four-book series follows her journey as she tries to fit in and stand up for herself, but, also lie low, considering her status puts her on the radar of the overbearing government. That's all for the plot!
As for content, I would absolutely not bash this book entirely. Expect ruthlessness and abuse of power by those who hold authority, as well as serious contention between peers. Haughty characters are heavily prejudiced towards the background, upbringing, appearance, etc. of others and often use these points to stir up insults and/or embarrassment toward them.
Definitely a few cringe-worthy, suspenseful, life-or-death scenes, but nothing an average (or even sheltered) teen could not (or should not) handle. There is light to heavy-ish violence, as typical from such books, but, they are, in my opinion, not completely devoid of compassion. What I mean is, the characters care about each other. They look out for one another and stick together when times get tough. Several times, the main character deliberately puts her own life in peril for the sake of another. And, especially towards the end of the book, we learn that she is entirely reluctant to kill, even out of sheer self-defense.
"...it's when you're acting selflessly that you are at your bravest."
-Veronica Roth, Divergent
Now for *cough, cough* content. The romance is weak and predictable, ya know, typical girl-meets-boy-whom-she-initially-hates. There are a few touchy-feely scenes between the two, which I honestly thought were nothing more than awkward and out-of-place. Not objectionable, I just think the book would be far better without them.
As for real sexual content, there is just one scene, and I am thrilled to say, SHE RESISTS IT. Let me say that again. A teen character in a modern dystopic work of fiction STAYS PURE. How great is that? ALSO, it's not graphic or descriptive whatsoever; in fact, (trying to avoid spoilers here :3) it's more of a realistic dream for her, but you get the point.
Other than that, there are some kisses and one very brief part where a girl's towel is pulled off her. Again, NOTHING graphic.
As for language, the "d" word is used maybe twice, and sadly, of course, *sighs* they take the Lord's name in vain.
All in all, this was a really intriguing "can't-put-it-down-er" by a very talented writer, but, oddly enough, I had no desire at all to continue the series. Everyone else can't stand the suspense and dives right into Allegiant, hoping for a resolution to that big ol' cliff-hanger.
But I just said, "Nope. I'm done," and picked up The Fellowship of the Ring instead. ;)
|3.5 stars for this one!|
So long, Maidens! See you next month with another one!
...and may the odds be ever in your favor.
Oh wait, wrong series.