I know we have a lot of YA fans who read this blog, so I imagine the vast majority of you have read the first two novels of Veronica Roth’s Divergent series, Divergent and Insurgent. I’m not an overly huge fan of YA in general, but I love me some dystopia, so these novels were right up my alley, especially since I heard about them right after I read The Hunger Games.
There were a couple of things that I thought upon first reading Divergent and, later, Insurgent: first, that I liked Divergent better than The Hunger Games; second, that although the insistence upon romance in YA novels tends to annoy me, Four is hot enough that I’m okay with it; third, that I enjoyed Veronica Roth’s writing style; and finally, that the plot was incredibly well-thought out and well-told. A year later, here are my thoughts on those four things.
First, I liked Divergent better than The Hunger Games. This remains true. The world of Divergent is much more self-contained but no less colorful, and I liked that we get details about all of the factions whereas in The Hunger Games, we only get specific details about a few of the districts. I think I also like Tris more than Katniss. Even though Tris has annoying martyr-ish tendencies, those are better than Katniss’ outright abrasiveness/obvious blindness to the fact that two boys she’s known practically since birth have been in love with her...practically since birth.
Second, Four is hot enough that I’m okay with sappy YA romance. Yup, definitely still true. While I’m not into tattoos at all, and can’t honestly see myself being attracted to someone throwing daggers at my face regardless of how brooding and strong and silent they are, something about Four just makes me SWOON. Although he annoys me when he gets all secretive and annoying in Insurgent, I think I could find it in me to take him back.
Third, I enjoyed Veronica Roth’s writing style. This one is where I don’t agree with myself as much. I still think Roth writes better than Suzanne Collins, the author of The Hunger Games, but I found the style much more “meh” than when I first read it. The present tense annoyed me slightly more than it did initially, but I guess I can live with that. That’s not to say she can’t tell a kickass story, because she can, and I’m looking forward to seeing how her writing develops as she grows into an established author. But I do definitely think she has a lot of room to grow in that department. (Not that I can talk, really, but...)
Finally, the plot was incredibly well-thought out and well-told. Still agree with myself here. The idea of factions fascinates me and you can tell it fascinates Roth as well. She explores all of the different viewpoints of her characters, and they are all believable. Especially when they talk about the Divergent, and some express concern about their “loyalties,” because they could belong in any number of factions, whereas most people in the society are cut out--and therefore loyal to--exactly ONE faction. And while you, the reader, is like, “Duh, of course Tris can be trusted,” you can also see from that other character’s point of view. And that’s where things get twisty and complicated and AWESOME.
The bottom line here is that if you haven’t read Divergent and Insurgent yet, make sure you do it before this fall when the third and final book comes out. There’s no title yet, but there is a release date: October 22, 2013! I was going to wait until a bit later in the year to reread Divergent and Insurgent, but I decided I didn’t want to, especially since I hadn’t read them back to back yet. That’s definitely making a huge difference in me remembering important plot points and who people are. But that’s neither here nor there. The point is, you should read Divergent and Insurgent and then the third when it comes out in October, because they are awesome.