Welcome to my blog. I often think I was born with a book in my hand. I have always enjoyed reading, but more importantly, talking about books. This blog is partially about reviews, but is really a forum to talk about what I'm reading, and express all of the thoughts and feelings that there simply isn't room for in a professional review. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on your favourite books as you follow my reading journey.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Divergent: Not Just Another Dystopia

Ever since The Hunger Games Trilogy popularized the dystopian genre, there have been a slew of YA dystopians published, each promising to be the next big thing. The trouble is, it's like crying wolf. You hear it often enough about enough books, and eventually it ceases to mean anything. When I was urged to read Divergent, I was skeptical. There is no shortage of dystopian thrillers out there, and despite the "buzz" surrounding this one, I was expecting it to be just another one of those dystopian books. I was wrong. Veronica Roth has managed to take a heavily satruated genre, and still create an original, edge-of-your-seat thriller that will immediately hook readers.

The story is set in a future Chicago, which is one of the few cities remaining after another world war. After the war, the survivors divided into five factions, each associated with a particular virtue- Candor, Amity, Dauntless, Erudite and Abnegation. The mandate of each of the factions is well-explained, but the meaning of these words speak volumes about what the factions believe.

In this world, all 16-year-olds choose their factions, their choices aided by an aptitude test, which suggests which faction they are best suited to. Beatrix is a member of Abnegation, but as her selection day approaches, she is uncertain where she belongs. Tensions are brewing between the factions, and Beatrix knows that no matter what choice she makes, the cost will be high.

The aspect of dystopian fiction that I enjoy most is the ability of these books to make you think, and days after I finished it, I'm still thinking about it. Which faction would my aptitude test suggest, and more importantly, which one would I choose? Once you choose, there is no going back, and if you choose wrong, you could end up factionless and live a life of poverty and misery. I like to think that I would be certain of my choice, and that I would know where I belong, but that's part of what makes this story interesting. How many of us are ever 100% certain of our choices? Teens are asked to make an overwhelming number of choices. But what if the choice is wrong? What if your choice doesn't choose you? What if you regret your choice later on? This is what Beatrix struggles with throughout the novel, and what makes her sympathetic and relatable.

This is an extremely well-plotted, well-written story with all of the components that make these books so attractive- romance, action, conflict, angst, and impossible choices. If you've read Lauren Oliver's Delerium or AllyCondie's Matched,  (or even if you haven't) you'll find lots to like about this book.

Highly recommended for 14 and up.