PerpetualIntern’s #CBR4 Review #16: Divergent by Veronica Roth
After rereading the Hunger Games trilogy and then seeing the movie, I was bummed that it was over (at least until the next movie). Therefore, when my friend mentioned the Divergent trilogy as another distopic young-adult series, I decided to pick it up. While Divergent has its own merits and interesting premise, anyone who picks this up as a substitute for the Hunger Games will be sorely disappointed.
Beatrice “Tris” Prior is a 16-year-old girl living in a distopic future U.S. where everyone belongs to one of five factions: candor, dauntless, amity, erudite and abnegation. She has grown up in abnegation, the faction known for their selflessness and simple lifestyle. At age 16, each child is tested to find out which community he or she has the best aptitude for. From there, they must each decide the community in which they will spend the rest of their lives. The factions are completely separate, and therefore the children who don’t choose their home communities will be forever separated from their families. When Tris is tested, she is told that she is “Divergent” and has the qualities of three different factions. She is warned that this is an extremely dangerous diagnosis to have and that she must reveal to no one what she has learned. Eventually, Tris chooses a different faction than that of her family and the book maps her struggle in her new faction and the initiation challenges she must endure. Tris must confront her dangerous, divergent nature as well as the rumblings of revolution that are taking place among the factions. She begins to uncover a plot that challenges everything she knows about her life, her parents, her brother and herself.
As I mentioned, I should not have read this book with constant comparisons to the Hunger Games, but if you’ve read the other trilogy, doing this is inevitable. The distopic future isn’t original, but Roth’s creation of the factions, the threat “beyond the fence” and the world she creates is. I recommend it for a quick, easy read, but make sure you’re a bit removed from the Hunger Games, especially if you loved it.
I just finished this literally the other day and I agree – Hard to NOT compare it to The Hunger Games! That being said, I did think that it was still really different from THG. And somehow it wasn’t the story I was expecting! Maybe I was prepared to make comparisons so I was thrown off. Regardless, I still really enjoyed it and it definitely left me wanting to read the next one!
I kept stumbling over suspension of disbelief issues. Would you really choose a faction where you had a 50/50 chance of ending up homeless, starving, and outcast or even dead? Or would it be possible that as a teen, you would really know absolutely nothing about the nature of the training that each faction would involve? I also struggled with the idea of this dystopian world full of ruins, farming, etc. that also included the incredible technology where you give somebody a shot and then not only know all their deepest fears but can watch it on TV from another room.
It’s hard to get into the narrative flow when you’re constantly questioning the plausibility of the setup…