Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Review: Divergent

Divergent, Veronica Roth
Divergent series #1
Young Adult Fiction, Dystopian

Finally. FINALLY.

This was the "I don't want to put it down and you can't make me" kind of book I've been waiting for. I got the boxed set for Christmas and I'm glad the other two books are already waiting in the wings.

There has been a lot of hype over the Divergent series for the last couple of years but I fell down The Hunger Games rabbit hole instead. One of my book club friends actually described Divergent as "The Hunger Games with more rules." She wasn't too far off. There are a lot of similarities and Divergent is pretty formulaic. All the usual YA tropes are there: a teenager who has some special skills, doesn't fit in with her peers, gets separated from her family, and is the only one who can save them all. Unlike The Hunger Games, however, there is no annoying love triangle and Tris, the main character, is more relatable than Katniss. 

At first, I will admit that I was underwhelmed and thought the premise was kind of stupid. The series is set in a dystopian Chicago where everyone is separated into one of five factions according to their dominant personality trait. Tris has the dilemma of not fitting into just one faction, making her "divergent." The factions came about as a way to maintain peace but this seemed like an oversimplification of complex issues to me, and the idea that people can be classified according to just one trait seemed ridiculous. But as I kept reading, it all came together. We meet Tris just as she turns sixteen. She's had a very sheltered upbringing and her understanding of her world is pretty limited. Since the novel is told from her perspective, our understanding is limited too and it grows with her. I appreciated that.

I took a bit of a break to read Freakonomics but I'm already itching to get back to this series and find out what happens next. I love it when a book lives up to its hype and this one was a definite winner!

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