Wednesday, 1 February 2012


One choice can transform you.

Above is the tagline of Veronica Roth's novel Divergent.  This book is set in a Utopian Chicago after, once again, humans have made terrible choices and destroyed the planet.  To correct the wrongdoings of mankind, the human race is divided into five "factions".  These factions include: abnegation (the selfless), candor (the honest), dauntless (the fearless), erudite (the knowledgeable), and amity (the peaceful).  People within each faction have very little interaction with those in other factions.

At the age of sixteen, adolescents complete a test to determine which character trait they possess.  You might expect children to resemble their parents and thus continue in their current faction, but this is not necessarily the case.  However, regardless of your test result, you may still choose whatever faction you like.  This means you may choose to remain with your family under any circumstances, or you may choose to abandon your family for a new faction.

Following the ceremony in which you must decide your future, you must survive the tasks of initiation or you will be factionless, which seems a fate worse than death.  Without a faction you must live on the outskirts of society, not belonging to any group, utterly alone.

Now the clincher.  If the test determines you possess more than one character trait - perhaps you are both dantless and candid (candor) - this is bad.  And of course this is the fate of our main character.

I enjoyed Divergent and was able to read through it in an afternoon.  It's an interesting concept and being a bit futuristic there are some cool simulators etc that are fun to read about.  The initiation process seems terrifying and therefore is highly entertaining.  And of course, what would a teen book be without a little dose of love?

After reading The Hunger Games, I found Divergent fell a little flat.  I fell in love with Katniss, Peeta, and Gale (the protagonists in THG) and Divergent's heroine, Tris, had a lot to live up to.  Following fantastic books like THG trilogy would be difficult for any author and although Roth provides an entertaining read and interesting concept, the similarities to THG force comparisons to be made.

THG is set in a dystopian society and Divergent is utopian.  In both cases, humans have ruined the world through wars and corruption.  In both the remaining population is divided into groups (THG is divided into 13 districts and Divergent is divided into 5 factions).  A corrupt group is attempting to rule over all the divisions in both novels.  The main character is female in each novel, obviously there is a love interest in both...  As you can see, there are enough similarities to draw comparison.

I feel a little sad for Veronica Roth who released her utopian novel during The Hunger Games craze.  I would still recommend Divergent for your Saturday afternoon read.  You will certainly enjoy the read - although you probably would have enjoyed it more before you read THG.

Veronica Roth also has a blog (although she doesn't seem to be an avid blogger) that has a really cool post about the steps involved while publishing a book!

No comments:

Post a Comment