Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I read this great book called Divergent by Veronica Roth. Roth is a recent college graduate, which is infuriating, if you're like me and get infuriated by the success of youth. (grrr! Why aren't I successful? Plus, even if I do get successful, I won't be youthful anymore!)

Anyway, I won't say much because I don't want to spoil it, but it takes place in the futuristic burnt-out Chicago, where the Lake is actually a Marsh, and society is split into different factions. When you're 16, you choose your faction, and that's your faction For Life. And, if you get expelled from your faction or whatever you're "factionless" and that's like Worse Than DEATH. Because you have to clean up garbage and stuff.

The main character is born into Abnegation, which is a selfless faction that tries to be really empathetic and helpful, but she decides to go into this other faction called Dauntless, which is all about bravery and strength. If they ever go somewhere, they run. If they get on a train, they only jump on or off (I never quite figured out what they would do if the train happened to be stopped when they arrived, but, they'd probably just hang back and then jump on when it started moving.)

It's quite similar to the Hunger Games because once you choose a faction, you have to go through an initiation to prove yourself and, if you don't make it... FACTIONLESS. (Plus a strong female character, feats of strength, love interest in unlikely character...)

I think Chicagoans are going to straight up LOVE it - I really enjoyed the parts that had to do with The City. And, fans of the Hunger Games are likely to be on board too. The only bummer is, I discovered HG right at the end, when all the books were already published, but the next two in this 3 part series haven't been published yet. *frowny face*

Maybe Dauntless was formed with good intentions, with the right ideals and the right goals. But it has strayed far from them. And the same is true of Erudite, I realize. A long time ago, Erudite pursued knowledge and ingenuity for the sake of doing good. Now they pursue knowledge and ingenuity with greedy hearts. I wonder if the other factions suffer from the same problem. I have not thought about it before.

Despite the depravity I see in Dauntless, though, I could not leave it. It isn't only because the thought of living factionless, in complete isolation, sounds like a fate worse than death. It is because, in the brief moments that I have loved it here, I saw a faction worth saving. Maybe we can become brave and honorable again.

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