Summary (goodreads): In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.
I had this book in the back of my mind for quite a while. I remember reading a sample some years back ( and in German) and not really liking the story(/translation). But now I finally started it and was surprised when I couldn’t put it down. It was a good read and I will continue with the trilogy as soon as I get my hands on the other books.
The story is pretty straight forward, with the heroine’s choice of faction and the life-changing initiation afterwards. Of course there is an evil plot that she has to overcome in order to save the world from an even worse fate than they already have. Throw in some romance and action scenes and I’m in. It is not the best story I ever read, it doesn’t come close to Poison Study, but it is a lot better than Cast in Shadows, so I was happy.
It was easy to read, Roth has a nice writing style with just enough detail that your imagination can conjure up images without it being overbearing. It is written in first person, from Tris’s perspective and also in the present tense. For me, that helps to get into the story and the character and it was fitting for the novel.
The characters were interesting, though so far the reader didn’t really get to know too much about them. We know mostly about Tris and Four, but the others are not yet described in detail – their story, their motivation and so on. I hope there will be some more talking in the next book so that we might get a better understanding of Tris’s companions.
I enjoyed the descriptions of the Dauntless life-style, the tattoos and piercings and all that hopping off moving trains. It seems thrilling. However, it is a bit illogical as well. There is no way in hell you can get a tattoo one day and do extreme physical excercise (read: fighting) on the next. That cannot be healthy and I doubt that a tattoo would heal properly under those conditions. But apart from the mysteriously fast healing time of tattoos and also injuries, there wasn’t much that I didn’t like about this book.
Tris is a person I can identify with and I’m pretty sure I’d be the same a s she if I lived in that world. So in total, I give this book a 4 out of 5 and hope that the next books are equally good.