Divergent – A good read if a little familiar…

Divergent - Veronica RothA little help here, Dystopian fans.  While I haven’t read very many books in this genre aside from the 3 Hunger Games books and now this, I noticed quite a number of similarities that took away from the originality factor for me. In Dystopian novels should I:

1) Expect teens to be ripped away from their families and forced into some Darwinist-based event thanks to some sick tyrannical government power trip?
2) Expect something horrible to happen to the main character’s loved ones a la Disney?
3) Expect the main character to start out really sucky and weak and then eventually find something they’re good at to give them the upper hand?
4) Expect a war?

We get all of that in Divergent for sure. The story centers on Beatrice Prior and the city of Chicago. The city has been divided into 5 factions that all separately contribute to society: Abnegation (signifying selflessness), Amity (signifying peace), Candor (signifying honesty), Dauntless (signifying bravery), and Erudite (signifying intelligence). Once sixteen, all of the teens undergo tests to determine which faction suits them best. It’s not always the faction where one was born and raised. And the right faction is not always so cut and dry.

Of course this little complication applies to Beatrice, but she chooses another faction anyway and must keep this complication to herself to stay alive. Like every other initiate, she must leave her old life behind and completely devote herself to her new faction.  All initiates have to fight in tournaments to prove their worth, undergoing brutal physical as well as mental trials, and not all will make the cut. We follow Beatrice through these trials as she faces downright nasty adversaries, trying to break her down as much as they can. She doesn’t go through this alone as she bonds with Four, the mysterious and handsome trainer for her new faction. And through these trials the course of her life and their society will change forever.

Could it be that if I’ve read the best I’ve read the rest?

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a Hunger Games purist of any sort. If anything, if I cared enough I’d be a Battle Royale purist since I saw that movie and knew of that manga about 12 years ago and couldn’t help but notice The Hunger Games’ eerily similar premise. I mean, I enjoyed the series anyway (well, the first book at least) but that was always in my mind.

It may just be that I’m not as in love with this genre as I once thought I could be. Heavens knows I love Urban Fantasy/Paranormal books and notice plot points and characters that I believe are an unspoken requirement now for the genre, but I still tend to find something unique that I love and enjoy within my favorites.

All around there really aren’t many dull moments. It is a quality book with solid storytelling and world building. I was fairly engaged and read it in a couple of days. But overall I wasn’t blown away, though I’m apparently of the minority on that one. Will I read the second book? Likely so, but I’m not in a huge rush.

4 responses

  1. VampyKitten

    Give “Blood Red Road” a Try. Yes, it has some of those similar themes , but I loved the thrill ride the journey was. It has a more fantasy feel to it. & the gladiator the heroine turned into was kickass. The connection between the characters was fantastic.
    I loved Divergent, but I get what ya mean. Sometimes for me it’s the mood I’m in. The genre that usually rubs me wrong is Paranormal romance. Then other times I devour it like a starving man. I’m a UF gal. But Dystopian fiction has been tripping my trigger. Couldn’t have a steady diet of it tho. Too dark!

    February 2, 2012 at 9:42 AM

    • Blood Red Road. I till keep that in mind. Thanks! And I know what you mean about PNR. I wasn’t nearly as bothered by Divergent as some PNR novels, which can be cringe worthy after a while with the amount of sap. Sexual tension is fine, but pure sap (especially the “L” word too soon) bothers me for some reason.

      I’m definitely more of an UF fan who enjoys a great romance angle attached, but I can enjoy a number of PNR too if it’s well done.

      February 2, 2012 at 7:06 PM

  2. Gwen

    I try to mix it up so that everything seems a bit fresher. I’ve noticed with most genre’s once one or two authors make it big everyone seems to follow suit. Pretty soon you feel like your reading the same story over and over again. I liked the Hunger Games but felt very drained after that series so I read The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker . I think I then read a paranormal romance, a murder mystery, a biography and then Divergent.

    February 2, 2012 at 6:58 PM

    • I know what you mean Gwen, but Divergent actually was the deviation since I usually stick to UF/Paranormal stuff. And yeah, I was just exhausted by Hunger Games. The first book was great and that’s really all I cared about. I ended up reading all 3 back and liked each following book less and less, lol. I will probably be reading the bulk of paranormal books for a good while until I’m caught up with the big stuff (it’s also good because it keeps my blog going for you guys ~_^), but among the big stuff I like to switch it up a little. Like, I FINALLY just read the second Black Dagger Brotherhood book after having read the first one months ago.

      February 2, 2012 at 7:16 PM

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