Divergent – A good read if a little familiar…
A 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.