Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Books: Dystopia

One more pair!

Five factions exist in an unnamed city: Abnegation, Amity, Candor, Dauntless, and Erudite. Abnegation lead selfless, homogenous lives as well as the city; Amity are peaceful and grow food; Candor are brutally honest business men and women; Dauntless are brave yet reckless punk rock protectors of the city; and Erudite are intellectuals and the city's doctors, scientists, and researchers. They were established with the hope they'd produce and maintain a society free of violence and cruelty.

At age sixteen people in this society choose their faction and determine the vocation of their life. They fear failing initiation and becoming factionless, a group who belong to no faction and thereby have no "purpose" in society. And they also fear leaving the factions they were born into and abandoning their family.

Beatrice Prior was born into Abnegation, but she has never felt worthy of the faction. She's curious, opinionated, and must work to meet faction expectations. She longs for the wild freedom on the Dauntless, though she can't explain why.

During her aptitude test Beatrice discovers she's Divergent, or well-suited for more than one faction (in her case, three). She also learns this information is dangerous.

As part of Danutless initiation Beatrice (now called Tris) must do things she never imagined and feel what she's always suppressed. Her weeks-long transformation is fairly extreme: meek and mild to fearsome. And in the process she finds friends, enemies, and love.

Once initiation is complete, however, she and her newfound faction are forced into battle. The Erudite have enslaved the Dauntless with a mind-controlling simulation serum, and force them to execute the Abnegation. Only the Divergent are immune from mind control, and Tris soon learns why she and those like her are a danger to this society.

These books have reader and critic approval, but I found it difficult to embrace Tris's Dauntless personality. Her rough and tough attitude is a little too strong for me. Also, to me, acts of bravery and reckless endangerment are not the same.

Today I read the final Sookie Stackhouse novel, Dead Ever After.

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