I just read Divergent by Veronica Roth.
Apparently she wrote it while she was in college and two other books completes her trilogy.
Like Hunger Games, it is set in a dystopian world, and also like Hunger Games, it is written in that awesome first-person present tense style that really seems to be catching on.
You should know that my wife and I are pretty obsessed when it comes to Hunger Games, and I’m sure Roth doesn’t appreciate her story being compared to something so superior.
However, one can hardly divorce the two.
Divergent lacks the big-picture suspense story that carries Hunger Games, as it’s sometimes hard to see where Roth is taking her readers. There’s little setup from the start, explaining her dystopian Chicago, which could have served as great suspense marks.
But at the same time, it’s not such a bad thing to learn about things as the protagonist does.
When I finished Divergent, Sarabeth asked me the same question everyone else is wondering: “Is it better than Hunger Games?”
My answer was no.
“If you hadn’t read Hunger Games, would you have liked it more?”
My answer again, was no.
Don’t get me wrong. I actually enjoyed the book. But unlike Hunger Games, my criticisms kept building up.
My biggest hangup with the book was the love story.
Now, I realize this is a teen book centered around an adolescent girl, but I just kept rolling my eyes each time the love interests came together for yet more snogging and oohing and awing.
To be honest, it’s the most I’ve wanted to throw up due to such over-the-top sentiments.
Maybe I wouldn’t’ve felt that way if it wasn’t so forced and manufactured. Really, it was just very difficult to buy into.
As for the rest of the book?
I actually enjoyed the author’s world where society is broken up into separate factions based off of different virtues. It is a very well thought-out world, and many scenes were quite heart-stopping as you had no idea what the sadist villain was going to come up with next (don’t you just love a terribly wicked bad guy?).
Would I recommend it? Sure thing. A good fiction is hard to find these days, and I would qualify this as good enough. I’ll certainly be reading the next two books when they’re available in paperback.
However, I will say this. I’d much sooner allow my kids to read Hunger Games long before I hand Divergent over to them. It’s not as sexual, Katniss isn’t all googly-eyed and wounded by Cupid, and the lines of good vs. evil aren’t so blurred.
What are your thoughts on the book? Which series do you like better? Share your thoughts below.