Book Review: The Divergent Trilogy

Divergent

Everyone has been talking about the Divergent trilogy lately, mostly because with the release of the new movie, the books are now being featured, showcased…displayed at the ends of aisles. I read Divergent and Insurgent about a year and a half ago before the final book of the series, Allegiant, had come out. I was reading another blog, and the author recommended these books if you liked The Hunger Games trilogy. I have seen so many of these lately on Pinterest…

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So right off the bat, I will say this: the Divergent trilogy will forever be compared to The Hunger Games trilogy. In fact, until all the Hunger Games hoopla comes to a close, pretty much any dystopian novel that hits shelves is going to be compared to Hunger Games.

I liked the Divergent trilogy better than The Hunger Games trilogy.

Not everyone will agree with me. Maybe those who, like myself, were completely dissatisfied with the ending of The Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay, may be more inclined to prefer Divergent. I did enjoy reading The Hunger Games but I felt like the ending was so disappointing and dissatisfying and without hope that it made me almost frustrated that I read it. I finished Allegiant (the third book) feeling completely different.

Divergent Synopsis

From author’s website

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. 

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.

I feel that on some levels the entire premise of their dystopian society is relatable to this generation. Millennials refuse to do things “just because they should.” Instead they do things because they’re passionate about it and see the purpose. They stand behind it and believe in it. At the core of their society, that is what the decision they have to make is asking them.

What do you value the most?

I loved that there are deep, philosophical questions raised in the book about values and ethics and identity. I also love that the book was fast-paced and action packed. I love that by the time you get to the third book, there is no doubt that you see immense character development. You see ideals being questioned and/or strengthened. You see people make choices because they are right not because of any legalistic bent. You see heartbreak. You see love. You see challenge and frustration and fear. I really like where the author took the trilogy. I like the hard choices that she made at different points to serve the story and not necessarily the popular opinion. Overall, I highly recommend this trilogy.

Any frustrations?

The main frustrations I have heard are that there are too many characters or that it’s hard to keep track of who is who at the beginning. My husband was frustrated that so many of the society’s leaders or influencers were teenagers, which felt quite unrealistic. It is a young adult novel, but I do see his point.

In the synopsis above, it says that “all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives.” I personally feel like that age to make a life-long decision is absolutely absurd. As a former 16-year-old, I would NOT have been ok making a decision that was irreversible and so relationally implicational. However, the book doesn’t read like it’s centred on a group of 16 year olds…at least not most of the time. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, I did like this series better if for no other reason than it finishes with hope for the future, and as a Christian who believes God offers hope for the future to anyone who believes in Him, I really like this theme. There are twists and turns along the way, some feeling a bit frustrating and challenging. What book doesn’t at some point, though? The ending of a book is important, though, because that’s your last impression. This is possibly why I was so disappointed with The Hunger Games.

There are comparisons to Hunger Games, no doubt, but I feel like fitting into a similar genre with a similar hero(heroine) doesn’t exactly classify it as Hunger Games 2.0. There are definitely differences, and without giving too much away, by the time you get to the third book, you can see a much bigger picture than the first two books allow. That alone is reason to hold off “2.0” comments until you’ve at least read all three.

At the end of the day, it’s good entertainment. Happy Reading!

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