I recently finished Allegiant, the final book in the Divergent series byVeronica Roth.
The series is set in future Chicago. The city’s founders have decided to rub out humanity’s negative traits. The city is divided into five factions: Abnegation, Dauntless, Candor, Erudite, and Amity. When the citizens turn 16 they go to a choosing ceremony, during which they choose the faction that they will live in for the rest of their lives. Assuming they pass the test. Enter Beatrice Prior, the youngest of the Prior children. Something is different about her. Where other citizens have a simple choice at the choosing ceremony, Beatrice has too many choices. That is all thanks to her test results.
— — —Spoilers Below— — —
The book opens with a cultural scene. Beatrice’s mother cuts her hair and Beatrice explains to the reader that this is the only time she may see her reflection, because she is a member of the Abnegation faction. The first few chapters revolve around the choosing ceremony in which Beatrice must choose a faction to associate with. So what is she good at? Too much it turns out. It is the Dauntless faction which calls to Beatrice, before her test, before the choosing ceremony, Beatrice admits that she has always been fascinated by them.
Who wouldn’t be? They jump off trains.
Beatrice sees the Dauntless as a source of freedom.
To prove that she belongs with the Dauntless faction, Beatrice must finish the initiation. In order to set herself above the rest, Beatrice is the first initiate to take the plunge of initiates jumping off a building.
It’s got action, thrills, spills–heck-it’s even got tattoos. Most importantly it explores themes of teenage anxiety. There are so many things to worry about when you come of age. How would have reacted if you could only define yourself with one word? Would you choose girl or boy? What about athleteor nerd? Smart? Selfless? Brave? Honest? Friendly? Those are Beatrice’s choices on choosing day.
The series questions the ideal of conformity and challenges readers to be unique, even if the government is hunting you down for it.