Saturday, September 14, 2013

Divergent

Oh man. I'll be honest, I only read this because I have heard about the movie coming out next year and if you know me, I love movies based from books. Quite frankly, I think more people would go to the movies if they just started making them based from books because clearly, all of the best movies are from a book.

Divergent - Veronica Roth
Divergent (Divergent, #1)
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, 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 alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. 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 unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

If you are a reader at all, one thing will pop up when you read this description and you look at this cover- is this a Hunger Games rip off? And you'll be optimistic that while the beginning of the story and even the damn cover art reminds you of the Hunger Games, it'll get better and go off into it's own separate story. 

BUT, you'd be wrong. 

I read this book thinking this is JUST like the Hunger Games. Sure, we aren't divided into districts, rather they are factions. Sure our heroin comes from easily the poorest, most desolate, even grayest faction. Even Jeanine, the smarty pants from the Erudite faction, is eerily similar to President Snow from Hunger Games. The reluctant romance, the virginal aspect of our heroins, the moral back and forth with the political, and often thought provoking, story line- all of it is just like  Hunger Games. Yes, there are some differences but there isn't enough to make you think that these are in no way similar. There are too many similarities. 

And you know what? That's fine. It's a good book either way. If you haven't read Hunger Games you'll of course have no idea what I'm referring to and that's OK. You will like this book. I am thrilled that young adult authors are writing about things that are more than your ex boyfriend flirting with your friend in chemistry. Yes, that's what teens experience but it shouldn't be all of it. If a book like this, or Hunger Games, gets them to think a little bit about the book and how it's essentially how life is now only slightly different, and what that means for others? Yay. Golf claps and twerking because we need teenagers who have brains in their heads and not afraid to use them. 

BUT. 

Here's my biggest complaint. If you are an author and you are going to write a book so incredibly similar to another book, whether it's popular or not, OWN IT. Seriously. Just own it. Rather than come up with some half assed story on how you came up with the book idea, just say you were a fan of whatever book but you had an idea to twist it a little bit and ran with it. It's OK and us readers will appreciate you for it. But don't come out here telling us that you came up with this solely on your own and are in no way influenced (heavily) on another book. Don't make readers think that two totally different authors just happened to come up with two stories so completely similar, write them, and publish them years apart and then say it's a coincidence. 

I am aware that there are legions of Divergent fans, many of whom have entire websites and message boards dedicated to saying how unlike the Hunger Games this book is. And my thought is that if you have to rally that hard for it to be true... maybe it isn't true. I've read plenty of dystopian novels, YA ones at that, and they are not all the same. 

But with that being said, you know how I am with a series. No matter what I think, I keep with them until the end because each book builds on the previous. I hope Veronica Roth is taking us in a far different direction. But I'm telling you what- if Tris and Four overthrow the government at the end of book three I'm going to lose it. I'll probably go see it in the theater as well to see how they adapt the book to film because other movie options are slim unless you're a fan of Tyler Perry movies. *groan*

4 comments:

Martha Woods said...

I liked this book, but you're very right--it is way too similar to HG!

Eileen Ward said...

I enjoyed the book, but not enough to really want to read the second. Similarly, I enjoyed the first HG book, but didn't really get much out of reading all three. I'm not really into the dystopian novels generally but I just read one....Gameboard of the Gods by Richelle Mead that was REALLY good and had nothing to do with these other ones. That one I was actually interested in. It was full of mythology and such instead.

Shooting Stars Mag said...

i'm curious to read this at some point. I haven't really read Dystopia besides Hunger Games. most of them don't really interest me. But you're right, since this is going to be a movie, I'm curious. hah

justme5686 said...

Upon re-reading this blog post, it's entirely possible that the reason Divergent hit my to be read list is because of this review. I loved Hunger Games and I respect your opinions because 90% of the time you and I see eye-to-eye.

Have you started book three? It just came out. I'm #90 on a wait list of 94 at the library so I'll read it in February.