A review of the Divergent Trilogy, published April 2011, by Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins
by Luke C., youth correspondent for the Earth First! Newswire
Could Divergent become the new Hunger Games? Possibly. They both share a lot of qualities, such as a girl as a main character, some romance included in, and a storyline revolving around a rebellion. Is that all that’s needed to create a hit book, though? Is that all that’s needed to make a new smash hit that takes the world by storm? Apparently it is, because more and more teens (and adults, too) are starting to read Veronica Roth’s Divergent series every day.
Divergent is, in a lot of ways, like The Hunger Games. It’s also extremely different, though—while The Hunger Games is more of a rebellious action tale with romance here and there, Divergent capitalizes more so on the romantic aspect, with the Erudite even becoming a side factor at some points. Yes, every good story will have moments like that, but Divergent is essentially a romance story with a side plate of action and rebellion—the opposite of The Hunger Games.
I love to read. I’m disappointed that I know so many people who don’t like to read. A lot of people don’t have time to sit down and pick up a good, long book like Lord of the Rings. They have to work or study, and when they’re done with that they barely have any time to relax before they have to start the cycle over again. On top of that, people have the attention span of a goldfish. Divergent seems to be adapted to fit into the lifestyle of the people, with shorter time in between key events and being a shorter overall book. This leads to an aura of a rather rushed book, but people love it, and it shows.
By June 10th, 2012 (one month after the second book in the series, Insurgent, hit the shelves) the two books surpassed one millions copies sold. A film adaption of Divergent is set to begin filming sometime this year . The final book in the series, Allegiant, is due to release on October 22, also this year.
The setting of Divergent is a run down, walled-in Chicago sometime in the future. There are five “factions” that people belong to based on their personality and/or preference: Erudites are the intelligent ones; Amity are the peaceful ones; Candor, the honest ones; Abnegation, the selfless ones; and Dauntless, the brave ones. The Factionless are people who couldn’t make it into factions, or they didn’t like their faction and left. The city is run by representatives or leaders of the factions, though most of the city council is populated by Abnegations due to their want to help people. The mane character, Beatrice “Tris” Prior, is a former Abnegation member turned Dauntless.
Well, I think that’s enough background—on to the good stuff. Earlier, I mentioned that the plotline of the Divergent series revolved around rebellion. The people of the five factions have a huge secret being kept from them. The Erudite try as hard as they can to suppress the secret, even going so far as to commit genocide on the Abnegation (whose leaders want to reveal the secret), and even succeeding in their attempts for most of the book. But Tris Prior and her group of rebels fight back against the Erudite. You want the ending? Then you better read the book.
The true rebels here are the Factionless. These guys didn’t like how shit was being run, so they left to become, essentially, homeless. They formed colonies of sorts, and one such colony planned to take down the Factions system of government and install a brand-new (for them at least) Factionless system. So, really, there are two groups of rebels: Those who rebel against the Erudite, and the Factionless who rebel against everyone. Most Factionless aren’t necessarily friendly—they seem to be based off of the rough, violent stereotype of anarchists. They’re like a downgraded version of the Rebels from Star Wars, except the rebels in Star Wars are portrayed as good guys.
Divergent encourages readers to strand up and do the right thing. If it had taken place from an Erudite’s perspective—where the main character was essentially a genocidal robot under mind control—would it have sold as well? If the Erudite win and crush the other factions, it’s not as good as it is if the rebels win (I would like to see what it’s like if the Factionless win, however).
While it’s not as rebellion-based as The Hunger Games, but Divergent is still an extremely good book. Whether Veronica Roth meant to or not, she created a new revolutionary tale for the next decade.
The author of this review, Luke C., is a youth correspondent who interned with the Earth First! Journal May/June 2013 through New Middle School at Palm Beach Montessori Academy. We are hoping to have more young voices represented on the EF! Newswire, but this can only happen with your support. Please send submissions or donate here today.