Top critical review
on January 21, 2017
This book is the first in a popular dystopian young adult trilogy. Dystopian societies are not my favorite setting. I had read very little about the series, so for me it was interesting to gradually realize that the described crumbling world was Chicago. The story begins with our heroine at 16 making a momentous choice of her faction. It has elements of The Hunger Games with young people fighting to the death and malevolent political powers. The violence is unrelenting. The picture of humanity is repellant with our heroes and heroines hard to admire. Obviously, no one would want to live in this world. The dominant character trait of each faction (truthfulness, fearless bravery, selflessness, studiousness, etc.) is carried to extremes. At those extremes, the traits become perverted, cruel, and unbalanced. The society certainly seems beyond redemption. Our divergent heroes are not much more balanced than the faction members since they have been so damaged by the society in which they were raised. There is some romance among the teenagers, but it is of a chaste and innocent variety. They are more timid with sex than with brutality. Katness Everdeen is a more interesting and more sympathetic character than Beatrice. Because the bulk of this book was so violent with little in the way of strategic thinking, grace, or kindness, I am less inclined to read on in the series. Nevertheless, congratulations are due to Ms. Roth for writing such a successful book at such a young age. I am not her target audience so perhaps it is not surprising that the book did not capture me.