You wait ages for a book review, and then three come along at once! I decided to review all three of these Divergent Trilogy books by Veronica Roth at the same time because I thought people would generally be interested in reading all or none of them. So because of that I may be quite vague in my plot descriptions as I wouldn’t want to give away any spoilers from the earlier books by talking too much about the later ones!
I decided to give this young adult sci-fi series a go because of comparisons to The Hunger Games, which in general I really enjoyed. It’s a similar series in that it’s set in a future dystopian version of the world we know, and has a tough female heroine – Tris.
In this first book we are introduced to a future version of the city of Chicago, where the population is divided into five factions based on personality traits – Erudite (the clever), Dauntless (the Brave), Candor (the Truthful), Abnegation (the Selfless) and Amity (the Peaceful) – and each faction has its role to play in helping the city function. This book is mainly about Tris and the choice she makes on “Choosing Day” – the day of the year when every 16 year old decides which faction they will belong to for life.
I really liked this first book as it was all about getting to understand the world the characters live in. Tris is young with romantic ideals about her chosen faction, and because of that it’s an enjoyable read. You get to experience something new all the time, and as it’s new for Tris too you’re experiencing it through her eyes.
I also liked the glimpses we get of the political and social problems within the city, such as the group known as the “Factionless” – people who do not belong to any faction who are treated as outcasts, and also the “Divergent” – people who are feared by the government because they don’t have the personality traits of just one faction!
I thought this was the weakest book of the three, even though plenty was going on. War has broken out between the factions and it becomes clear how much corruption there is within the city’s government and leaders.
The problem I had was that it took way too long to reveal anything. The reader is seeing the world through the eyes of Tris as she tries to survive some of the events of the conflict, but this time we want answers and it seems like forever before we get any! The big reveal at the end of the book is great and really sets up the final book, but I found that most of this book dragged along as I waited for it.
But the series really picked up again with this final book, which for the first time is told from two perspectives rather than just Tris. Allegiant is full of all the answers to the bigger questions we’ve had all the way through the series – Why are there factions? Where did they come from? Why are the characters stuck within the city limits of Chicago and what is going on in the world outside? What does Divergent actually mean? Seriously, once you start getting these answers everything from the other books makes so much sense. It’s really interesting and I wished they’d included some more of this in book 2!
And I won’t reveal the ending, but I will say that I wasn’t disappointed. Sometimes in a young adult series like this the endings are quite simplistic with the author giving us the happy ending they think we want. In this case I loved that it was both emotionally unexpected and more politically complex than that!
So overall I’d recommend this series if you enjoyed something like The Hunger Games. It’s quite an interesting political story as well as having some great strong characters. It’s just a shame that the middle book wasn’t in the same league as the other two! There is also a spin-off collection of stories by Veronica Roth, but personally I feel that I got enough of this world with just the main trilogy.
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