Sunday, August 26, 2012

Divergent & Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Hmm. This post should have been up about 2 weeks ago, but thanks to family circumstances and random stressors, it wasn't. Whoops.

Anywayy, I finally picked up Veronica Roth's dystopian novel Divergent, and after a few short days was back to grab the sequel, Insurgent. Any fan of the Hunger Games series should look into this; Roth is very talented as an author and has a way of grabbing you and throwing you face first into the story. Divergent earned itself 5 out of 5 stars in my book, while Insurgent received a respectable 4 out of 5 stars. I have to admit, however, it'd be nice to get a story with a male protagonist. I like Tris, and I liked Kat from the Hunger Games, but it's not bad to have a hero once in a while, rather than heroines.

From the publisher:
Divergent: In a future Chicago, 16-year-old Beatrice Prior must choose among five predetermined factions to define her identity for the rest of her life, a decision made more difficult when she discovers that she is an anomaly who does not fit into any one group, and that the society she lives in is not perfect after all.

Insurgent: One choice can transform you--or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves--and herself--while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable--and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

My thoughts:

These two novels actually blew me away. Written for teenagers and young adults, they are quick reads, fast paced and gripping. Tris is a likable character, insecure and concerned with the consequences of her actions. If only today's teenagers could be as concerned, maybe there would be less teenage pregnancy or drug use? But I digress.

The idea of breaking dystopian society into factions based on the results of an aptitude test is very unique, and Roth writes the story in such a way as to make it sound plausible and likely to happen in the future. Although, I'm thinking the society of Panem is more likely to happen, if you take a look at the growing gap between socioeconomic classes in America, but that's just me.

From the first pages, Roth grabs the reader by the lapels of his/her shirt and throws them bodily into the arena that is her futuristic Chicago. You can't help but worry about which Dauntless initiates are going to survive and become true Dauntless citizens. And once you get into Insurgent, you can't help but worry about Tris and Tobias's well-being, as well as whether their relationship will remain intact. I found myself finishing Divergent in a matter of days, and trying to take my time finishing Insurgent so I didn't have to get to the end of the book. When I do something like that, I know that it's a fantastic book.

Like I said, these novels got 5 and 4 out of 5 stars, respectively. Not that there was anything wrong with Insurgent, mind you, I just enjoyed the first novel significantly more and needed to distinguish between the two. Just like Pringles, once you pop, you just can't stop. Pick up a copy and let me know just how long it takes before you're finishing up the sequel as well.

Justin :)