The Divergent Trilogy is a YA dystopia much in the vein of The Hunger Games or Inside. With the Divergent movie out now, and the sequels coming soon, read the books first if you can…for the hipster cred if nothing else.
I found this series just after Divergent hit shelves, and definitely followed it as the different books came out. The premise is interesting (as I’m a fan of bizarre psychological experiments) and the world created by Veronica Roth inside the future-Chicago is well fleshed out, at least as far as the parts that Tobias and Tris interact with regularly.
In the dystopian society (surprise!) that Tris Prior lives in, the former city of Chicago is populated by five factions, the Dauntless, Amity, Abnegation, Eriudite and Candor, each striving to master one personality trait over all others.
When she turns 16 and is forced to choose a faction, Tris discovers that she shows an aptitude for more than one, labeling her “Divergent” and beginning her three-book journey.
The first book, Divergent, stands up incredibly well to reading and re-reading. I think that by the time I had gotten to writing this, I must have read it at least three, if not four times.
“I have realized that part of being Dauntless is being willing to make things more difficult for yourself in order to be self sufficient.” —Page 90
By the beginning of the second book, Tris and her former training instructor Tobias have uncovered a plot that could lead the factions of Chicago to war. With the re-factioning of the city and the emergence of new leadership, Tris and Tobias have to decide where their alliances lie.
Insurgent is still building on the world of Divergent, and expanding on it, but Allegiant, at least to me, just felt flat, uninteresting and vaguely repetitive.
The third book begins with Tris and Tobias leaving Chicago, and seeing for themselves what lies outside the fence that their former faction guarded for so many years.
The style of writing changes in Allegiant, from being Tris as sole narrator to alternating between her voice and Tobias’. This choice makes sense towards the end, but takes a lot of the readability away— I was forever flipping back and forth to figure out whose chapter I was in.
At the same time, the problems and solutions that appear in Allegiant seemed to mirror previous scenarios in Insurgent and Divergent, and although they never went quite the same way, there was always a feeling of deja-vu.
Although I avoided the Hunger Games movies because I didn’t think they would live up to my mental view of the world created in the book, I’m interested to see Divergent, and see how they portray the “simulations” that occur in characters’ brains.
In addition to the Divergent Trilogy, Four: A Divergent Collection is a collection of stories set in the Divergent world.