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Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Divergent and Insurgent

I meant to wait until about, oh, now to read Veronica Roth’s Divergent and Insurgent. Why? Because I knew it was a trilogy and that the third book wasn’t coming out until late October. Hailed by some as “the next Hunger Games” I thought “there’s no way I’ll be able to survive a couple months if I read the first two books and I have wait for the trilogy’s finale, Allegiant.

Guess what. I survived.

But that doesn’t mean I didn’t like Roth’s books. I did like them. I read them in a few short days and found them interesting and enjoyable (is it ok to say a book is enjoyable when they’re killing off teens left and right?). BUT, the question is, were they the next Hunger Games? The answer from me was no. I wanted answers to everything I was left with at the end of Insurgent however, I also felt a bit worn out by the end of the book. But perhaps, I should start at the beginning instead of the end.

Divergent and Insurgent are set in a dystopian society in what was formally Chicago. Members of society are divided into individual factions where they are brought up to focus on a specific value. Our main character, Beatrice Prior, was brought up in Abnegation and taught to always act selfless and put others first. The other four factions are Dauntless (the brave), Erudite (the intelligent), Candor (the truthful), and Amity (the peaceful). After the children of the society have turned 16, they are given an aptitude test to determine which faction they will live out the rest of their lives. In taking the aptitude test, Beatrice equally scores for three out of the five factions, something that isn’t supposed to happen. Something that we as the reader come to learn is “divergent.” On selection day, Beatrice surprises her family and decides that instead of going back to Abnegation, a faction where she never quite felt at home, she will become Dauntless.

So obviously, that’s not the entire plot of Divergent and Insurgent. That’s because I don’t want to give away much else (I promise what I’ve already divulged isn’t much of a spoiler). What follows are subplots upon subplots involving factions against factions with our main girl, Tris (she nixes Beatrice upon becoming Dauntless), smack-dab in the middle of everything. And let’s not forget, she has picked up a love interest along the way.

Listen, I can understand where the Hunger Games comparisons came from. Tris is a girl in the center of what appears to be a revolution. Hunger Games heroine Katniss Everdeen finds herself in a pretty similar situation. Where Hunger Games held me when at times, Divergent and Insurgent didn’t, is in the tightness of story. Hunger Games seemed effortless. Roth’s novels left me a bit tired. There is so much back and forth that at times I felt myself getting frustrated. And if I’m going to be honest, the relationship between Tris and her beau, Four, seems a bit one dimensional and juvenile.

If you’ve read this entire review, you probably think I hated these books. That wasn’t my intention. I think I just loved Hunger Games a little too much and these books came a little too soon for me. For “young-adult fiction set in a futuristic dystopian society” they were good! Are they worth reading? Yes. Are they going to change your life? Probably not. Will you still devour them rather quickly? Most likely.

And with the answer to that last question, my advice is this: read Veronica Roth’s Divergent and Insurgent. But it wouldn’t hurt to wait until the third one is out and you can burn through them all when you have some spare time to devote to reading.

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