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We all knew it would happen, right? The Hunger Games picks up popularity and YA dystopias start to pop up everywhere. I don't actually mind, since I've always liked how dystopias allow us to explore the failings of our own society, or what we perceive as desirable / undesirable, and the coping mechanisms humans have to develop to deal with repressive circumstances.
Unfortunately, this one didn't convince me.
If there's one thing that really matters in dystopias (whether young adult or not), it's the world-building. It has to be believable and plausible, at the very least in a superficial manner. And that's exactly what didn't happen in this book, and why I got so frustrated with it.
Read the synopsis. The "faction" system makes no sense at all. It started with that joke of an aptitude test and went downhill from there. The society they created, and especially, the reasons why they supposedly created it are ridiculous. Why would you divide people into wildly different cults, that disagree with each other fundamentally, so as to eradicate violence? Moreover, the "divergent" concept isn't explained at all, and again, I find it hard to believe that only a few, very rare people can resist being classified neatly into a box of personality traits. I just didn't get it, and it ruined the book for me.
On the plus side, the writing, which starts off weak, gets progressively better towards the end. If you can get over the pointless "training" the main character goes through, there's good story at the end of the book. The characters are fairly well developed, but Tris, the main character here, has probably single-handedly put me off reading books with sixteen year-old girls as protagonists. I'm not sure I get can get through so many pages of whining, being confused, selfish, clueless and afraid of sex, ever again.
Cannot recommend it, but it may only be my personal preference. It's not so bad that I would turn people away from it, but I can't say I'm excited to read the next one in the series. Still, I am curious to see other people's opinions (oh no, I must be an Erudite!) so do share.