It’s no secret that dystopian literature is a BIG trend these days, and most dystopian books inevitably draw some comparison to The Hunger Games, the gold standard of YA dystopian lit (by which all other YA dystopian novels are inevitably compared). But while I have enjoyed many of the new dystopian novels released since Mockingjay, Divergent by Veronica Roth is the first book to come out since then that I felt truly deserved such comparisons.
Why? Simply put, because the book is chock-full of fast-paced action, disturbing violence, a frightening dystopic society and spine-tingling romance. Readers will find themselves completely swept away by Divergent, and will be haunted by this strange society and the events that transpire for days after reading it.
Divergent takes place in a futuristic society in what was once Chicago, where society is divided into five factions. Upon turning 16, everyone must choose which faction they wish to belong to — possibly separating themselves from their families forever. That’s the tough choice facing 16-year-old Tris, who doesn’t quite fit in anywhere. So when she chooses to abandon her family and join the brave and fearless faction known as Dauntless, Tris not only leaves her family behind — but starts to learn a lot about herself, and the secrets her government may be keeping.
Tris is a stand-out heroine for YA readers. She’s got all the guts and courage of Katniss Everdeen — except in Divergent we actually get to witness Tris’s transformation into this tough person and her continued struggles to overcome her own fears and insecurities. She is matched nicely with the mysterious young man known as Four. He’s intriguing and fascinating; frightening and enthralling. Much like Tris, you’ll find yourself frustrated by, falling in love with, and running away from him, all in equal parts.
But Four’s secrets are just a small part of the mysteries layered within Divergent. Why is Tris’s status as a “Divergent” so dangerous and threatening to the factions? What’s up with all those factions, anyway? What is the government hiding? What secrets are her family members keeping? It seems the more Tris learns about her new life, the more mysteries unfold — creating a book that you simply can’t put down.
And while Roth makes sure Divergent, though first in a new trilogy, is complete in and of itself, readers will still be left hankering for more. The result is a rewarding reading experience that leaves you both satisfied and anxious for the next installment of this thrilling new series.
Divergent is in stores May 3rd.