Originally reviewed at garethlewry.wordpress.com
I have never read any “Teen” fiction before, and I have never read a book before I watch the film, so this was two firsts for me
The book is mostly from Beatrice’s point of view. The world is a dystopian brutal landscape for extremes designed to make humanity work together cohesively. The majority of the book is a coming of age finding yourself title, where Beatrice has to choose which of the 5 factions she will join and it will determine her path for the rest of her life. Each of the factions is dedicated to pursuing a particular virtue, each of the virtues lends itself to particular jobs in society. The choice is either Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless) Amity (peaceful), Erudite (intelligence – knowledge) or Dauntless (the brave)
When children become 16 they take a test that shows them which of the factions they are most suited to, the majority of the time the faction they grew up in is the faction they stay with because parents obviously instil their values to their children. Changing of factions is seen as quite taboo, and there are always questions and judging if a child leaves their parents faction.
The story covers Beatrice’s test and decisions she makes around her future, the consequences of these decisions & her facing her deepest fears. It’s also about discovery, and a truth not only about her but society which could have dire consequences for the future.
The setting comes across as a prejudicial, segregated landscape, where humans are herded and expected to follow a certain sometimes brutal path all for the greater good and peace in society. However, as always with human nature it isn’t long before there is infighting and accusations about other factions being thrown around.
All in all I thought this was a great read, it was engaging throughout and the world is realised in incredible detail and was over way too soon for my liking. I was paced to perfection and characters had a depth I didn’t expect to see in a “teen” novel. As people have told me in the past, books are always better than the films. I will have to discover that one for myself & will definitely be reading the fallowing instalments very soon.