Here is the first installment of my book review series for Divergent by Veronica Roth.
I will be doing a review of two chapters every Monday and a final summary of my thoughts at the end of the book.
I was originally going to do five chapters but realized that would be way too long for one post so two chapters each week it is.
What you need to know for starting the book:
Beatrice Prior is the main character of the book; she is 16 years old and lives in a world that exists after the world has been plagued with war and destruction.
In this world, the city is set up into 5 different factions that are all based on different virtues.
Abnegation: They live a selfless lifestyle because they believe that the war was caused by selfishness and greed. The Abnegation controls the government.
Amity: They live a peaceful lifestyle because they believe that aggression was the cause. Amity people become the counselors and caretakers.
Candor: They live a completely honest lifestyle because they believe duplicity caused the war. Candor people become the leaders of the law.
Dauntless: They live a courageous lifestyle because they believe that cowardice caused the war. Dauntless people become the army that protects the city.
Erudite: They live an intellectual lifestyle because they blame ignorance for the war. Erudite people become teachers and researchers.
When a child in each faction turns 16 years of age, they must participate in an aptitude test that will determine what faction they are best suited for but the choice is ultimately up to them. Shortly after the aptitude testing, they must go to the choosing ceremony where they will choose whether to stay in their born faction or transfer to a new one.
**SPOILER ALERT AHEAD: IN DETAIL DISCUSSION OF CH 1-2**
Chapter 1: Meeting Beatrice Prior.
We start off in Abnegation, which is Beatrice Priors faction. She is getting a haircut from her mother, which happens once every three months and is allowed to look in the mirror for a short while.
Beatrice is a narrow-faced 16 year old with blonde hair and that is all we get to know about her appearance at this point.
We get a look at what it is like in Abnegation in this first chapter, they don’t celebrate birthdays or look in mirrors. They dress in all grey and do things for others no matter what without thinking of themselves.
We also learn that Beatrice doesn’t fit in like her brother does. She describes that her brother does these selfless acts effortlessly while she doesn’t even think about doing so.
We learn Abnegation is called “stiffs” because they dress so plain and pay little attention to themselves. They don’t play; have fun or doing anything for them because that would be considered selfish.
Once arriving at school, other factions are extremely rude to her and she speculates that it is because Erudite is releasing “news articles” making Abnegation look bad.
At the end of the Chapter, Beatrice finds herself in front of the window watching as the Dauntless jump out of a moving train like she does every day.
She is confused as to why she is so enthralled with them when she should see them as troublemakers.
Favorite quotes from chapter one:
When Beatrice is speaking about the school on the day of the aptitude test: “The atmosphere feels hungry, like every sixteen-year-old is trying to devour as much as he can get out of this last day. It’s is likely that we will not walk these halls again after the choosing ceremony- once we choose, our new factions will be responsible for finishing our education.” (Roth, Page 5.)
Chapter 2: The Test.
In this Chapter, Beatrice is nervously waiting for the aptitude test to begin. She is watching all of the other factions and how they are behaving exactly as they are suppose to given their own faction, she thinks, “Faction customs dictate even idle behavior and supersede individual preferences. I doubt all Candor enjoys a lively debate, but they can’t defy the norms of their factions any more than I can.” (Roth, Page 9.)
When it is Beatrice’s turn to go into the testing room she is shaking and is feeling quite sick. Worrying because you aren’t allowed to prepare for this test at all.
Beatrice is being tested by a Dauntless woman named Tori. Tori thinks Beatrice is odd because she does not act like a typical Abnegation.
Beatrice sits in the testing chair and is injected with testing serum which will give her hallucinations of the test simulation where Tori will input situations to figure out which faction Beatrice is best suited for.
When Beatrice opens her eyes she sees a knife and cheese. She is told to choose one. Beatrice demands to know why but waits to long to choose and they disappear. A vicious dog then appears. It goes to attack her but using Intelligence she calms the dog down. A child appears and the dog goes to act her. Beatrice acts Brave and Selfless and lunges after the dog to save the child.
It all vanishes and she opens her eyes and is on a bus. She lies to a man even though she is told that it could save his life if she is honest.
Favorite Quote from chapter two:
“’Why the hawk?’ I blurt out as she attaches an electrode to my forehead. ‘Never met a curious Abnegation before,’ she says. Raising her eyebrows at me. I shiver, and goose bumps appear on my arms. My curiosity is a mistake, a betrayal of Abnegations values.” (Roth, Page 12.)
Thoughts on Chapter 1-2:
I absolutely love the first two chapters, it is very in-depth and really gets you to love how quirky Beatrice is while feeling sorry for her because she just doesn’t fit in with her faction no matter how hard she tries.
I love the concept of the book so far, one city with five different factions that really don’t communicate with each other that run on five different virtues.
It seems like a hard place to live because you aren’t really free to make your own choices.
Chapter one is all about learning who Beatrice is and her view of her faction and how she loves the way her faction is from the outside and she sees how amazing it could be.
But Beatrice just doesn’t belong; she can’t make herself be who she needs to be. Now she is struggling with the choice she needs to make.
Chapter two is all about the aptitude test, she is really struggling with her emotions today and she is making observation on the structure of the faction set up. She gives great insight into how it works and the testing has me wondering what is going to happen next.
The testing seemed to be extremely scary and it leaves off on a cliffhanger because she never came out of the testing in this Chapter.
I can’t wait to read what happens next.
Next Monday (July, 21st, 2014) I will be covering Chapters 3-4.