This is the second in the young adult Divergent series. It is another fast-paced, exciting ride. Our hero Tris has got a little older now, much angrier and quite a bit ruder to other people (despite her upbringing to be polite to people).
There were few plot holes and annoying bits and bobs that I managed to overlook in the first that are starting to get on my nerves a bit now. I am not sure how far in the future this is supposed to be, but I wonder how much humans’ brains could have evolved in the time it takes for a city to just get a bit shabby (it is set in a ruined futuristic Chicago). What I cannot quite get my head around is the idea that most of the people fit in to just one of five clear categories of personality, and that becomes their factions. The “Divergent” are the special people, with an aptitude for three different personality traits. I just do not get this. Humans are complex creatures and the vast majority of us might be a bit brave, a bit selfless and a bit bright, just as our hero Tris is.
There are things I really enjoy about this book, though. It absolutely aces the Bechdel Test, which is a wonderful thing in a young adult book. There are many women in positions of authority, both good guys and bad. And of course our protagonist is a sixteen year old girl with more guts that your average grown man or woman. Never mind that she is not a particularly believable character and that the romance she is having appears to be largely pointless to the storyline at this point.
This book answers a few questions from the first, but mostly sets us a lot of mysteries that will hopefully get solved in the last book. It does not have a very sophisticated storyline or message, but it’s exciting, so I would still recommend it.