I have quite the penchant for Dystopian YA – especially since it’s in vogue at the moment. I’ve read the Hunger Games and the Uglies and the Delirium [although I can never spell Delirium] trilogy and as much of the Testing trilogy as I can currently obtain and various other dystopian books, so it was a natural progression that I would check out the Divergent trilogy, especially since its big cinema release pushed it to the fore of my mind.
Divergent/Insurgent/Allegiant – Veronica Roth
So the Divergent trilogy is set in a dystopian future Chicago, where society has survived some sort of catastrophic event (I can’t remember what, there’s always something) and society, in order to prevent it happening again, has identified the traits which they think caused the collapse, and formed factions which aim to eliminate that trait by lauding its opposite. The factions are Abnegation, Amity, Erudite, Candor and Dauntless, and well, if you want to know what they focus on, just google the words. The names are self-explanatory.
In any case, at the age of sixteen, teenagers are tested and told what faction they’re best suited to – then in a ceremony they choose their faction for the rest of their life and so on and so forth. Beatrice Prior, however, when tested, is told that she has an aptitude for more than one faction, making her Divergent (see where the title comes in) and making life *very dangerous* for her.
I mean, they don’t tell her why life is very dangerous, they just tell her it’s a massive secret. Because that’s the way to screw someone over.
So over the course of the three books, we see Tris (as she now likes to be known) choose a faction, fall in love, get involved in a revolution, explore outside the city of Chicago, discover shocking truths and do many things.
Divergent is one of the better dystopian series, I’ve found. The worldbuilding in the first book is weak enough, but the reason behind that becomes clear in the second and third books. There are some surprising and interesting plot twists along the way and certainly I read all three books within the space of about a week, which is an indication, for me, that I’m enjoying them – also that I didn’t stop to pick up another book in between them, generally a good sign. I’m not going to say too much about the books, because having read the whole trilogy, I’ll probably forget some of the major plot points and spoil them in my enthusiasm.
The characterisation, at times, was weak, and it was difficult to see the motivation behind them sometimes. But it didn’t jar too much, and I did enjoy the trilogy. There’s a *big controversial thing* which lots of people online have been very upset about, but I saw it coming, and thought that it fit well with the general development of the book, and wouldn’t have any issues with it at all.
A very enjoyable trilogy and a good example of modern YA dystopia.