Divergent - Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent; Insurgent; Allegiant
Author: Veronica Roth
Published: 2012 / 2012 / 2013
Pages: 487 / 525 / 526

Since I read these books in such quick succession, one after the other, I'm going to cheat a little and review the trilogy as a whole inside of individual books. This was another series that I read on the insistence of students (it is so lovely to have kids so excited about books that they want to discuss the with you so try to read those books as soon as I can).

These books are rather popular at present, so no doubt you've heard of them or seen them (or the new movie) about, but just in case you haven't, here's the run down. The series takes place in a not-to-distant future Chicago. In this world, communities are few and rather closed in. When children reach the age of sixteen they undergo a testing procedure which determines their dominant traits and attributes and indicates which of five 'factions' they would be best suited.

Unlike a lot of other dystopian fiction that employs this trope, however, the choice is ultimately theirs, children can choose which faction, and which trait they which to guide their life - Abnegation (self-sacrifice), Erudite (knowledge), Candor (truth),  Amity (friendship), or Dauntless (daring). Children can choose to align their life with their families, or with what their testing indicates.

For those like Tris, however, testing reveals a shocking secret - she is Divergent. Equally skilled or suited to more than one faction. This way, history has shown, leads to great upheaval and chaos, not only within the individual them self, but for society as a whole. And so people like Tris are feared. And hunted out.

In choosing Dauntless, Tris takes a bold step away from her family and into a new life, but all is not entirely what it seems - and not just at the Dauntless compound, everywhere.

I enjoyed the first two books in this series - not as much as, say, The Hunger Games, but I would definitely recommend it to any fans as a similar read. The last book, however, I found disjointed and off putting as Roth employed an alternating chapter perspective change between Tris and, another main character, Four. This had not occurred in the first two books and I would often get a ways into the chapter before I realised it had shifted.

As an example of YA dystopian fiction it checks all the boxes - a young lead character with a skill above her peers, a love interest with a complication, separation from the parents, and a corrupt government. Through in some crumbling buildings and a cool zip line manned by some under-20s and you're all set to go. Not a bad read, by any stretch, just not anything out of the ordinary. 3/5

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