What’s it all about?:
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
What did I think?:
This book was recommended to me by my sister after she thoroughly enjoyed it. As the film is coming out fairly soon, and I trust my sister with good book recommendations, I thought it was time to give it a go. Okay, now I see what all the fuss is about! In a future dystopian world, Beatrice comes of ages with the choice of five factions in which she must choose one to spend the rest of her adulthood in. She can either choose to stay in her parents faction in which she has been raised, this is Abnegation which prides itself on selfless qualities. In this faction, which is all Beatrice has known so far, they wear drab clothes, shun mirrors and other objects of vanity and perform good deeds. The other factions are Dauntless, which trains its initiates to be brave and fearless, Amity, which encourages peace and goodwill, Erudite which values learning and intelligence, and Candor which favours absolute truth.
At sixteen years old during a special ceremony, Beatrice must choose which faction to spend the rest of her life in after undergoing aptitude tests which produce very surprising results. But life is not easy when Beatrice (or Tris) chooses her faction; she undergoes rigorous physical and difficult psychological tests as an initiate to prove she is worthy of her chosen faction. This is when things begin to get decidedly murky as Tris undercovers something wrong going on between the factions that leads to her falling in love, fighting for her life, and re-evaluating both everything she has learnt, and everyone she loves.
First of all, I have to say wow, what an amazing debut novel. As I was reading this fact kept surprising me over and over again. The truth of the matter is that it definitely does not read like a first novel. The storyline is strong and powerful, the ideas fresh and original (and I flatly refuse to compare it to The Hunger Games!) and the characters well thought out and exciting. Tris is a brilliant lead female character, brave and relatable, and I’m really loving the fact that her “beauty” is not referred to every second page. Yes, this is a fiesty and intelligent, but NORMAL girl, thank goodness! The different factions reminded me of the different houses in Harry Potter, but I mean this as a compliment, as I can imagine every young adult/adult reading this book and wondering as to which faction they would place themselves if they had a choice. Towards the close of the novel, the author fully prepares the reader for the next installment in the series, fraught with tense and frightening moments and difficult decisions for our leading lady. There is so much room for growth and development of this character and the dystopian world she inhabits, and I for one, can’t wait to see what happens next.
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):