This is Chicago today. I imagine it with no cars, a lot of broken down buildings, and a whole bunch of bloody kids making out to picture Divergent Chicago.
Basic spoiler warning: I’m about to reference stuff from all over the first two Divergent books. Honestly, if you haven’t read the books at all, not a whole lot will be ruined for you by reading this. The specific things that I mention probably won’t make sense to you, and the broad things I discuss aren’t really “spoilers” per se in that they don’t give away anything really secret or surprising. That said, if you don’t want to know much about what happens before you read, you should probably avoid this.
So, I’m rereading Insurgent, and about halfway through there’s the scene when the Candor guy is meeting with Jeanine’s “representative” and the representative tells the Candor leader “your faction is disposable” and I thought, “Wait, yeah! What the hell is the point of Candor anyway?!”
Which led me to wonder, “What, what is the deal with any of this?” And it took me until now to realize how badly I wanted more world building in the Divergent books.
-What do the Candor people do all day? Amity grow things, Abnegation run the government and take care of factionless people, Erudite study and develop new technology, Dauntless defend the city and the Candor… tell it like it is? Like, for a living? I seems like they should run the justice system or something, but every faction has their own justice system, apparently.
-Where does everyone get their canned food? They reference cans and nonperishables a few times. Where did these come from? Amity seems to just grow crops, not process and package them.
-Why are Abnegation the only ones who appear to have families that live in their own house and make their own food? Every glimpse we get into the other factions involves cafeterias.
-How big are these factions anyway? Most factions all fit in one building (even if one of those buildings is the massive Merchandise Mart, it’s still one building). But Tris doesn’t recognize Four at all, even though he’s only two years older than her and they lived in the same faction for 14 years.
-Why does everyone seem to know so little about what goes in in the other factions? How does Tris not realize that Dauntless shoves out their older people? Why doesn’t anyone know where the factions ARE? They all go to school together for something like 10 years, right? It never comes up in the school cafeteria?
-What the economy in this world? Tris once says that she gets points to spend in the Dauntless compound to buy things like dresses and tattoos. (Actually, they never say the tattoos cost money–do they?!) Where did these dresses come from? Where did the Dauntless store get them? Where does anyone else get their clothes? or guns? or books? Clearly there is not an inter-faction currency, so how do people navigate inter-faction transactions? Is that a thing?
Half the fun of any dystopian/fantasy/sci-fi novel is the world building and figuring out how everything in this new world works. Tell me mooooooore Veronica Roth. Please.
Or maybe this all gets answered in Allegiant when we find out what’s outside the fence! Here’s to holding out hope.