Genres: Young Adult, Dystopia, Fantasy, Fiction
This series was lent to me by a friend who highly recommended it. Back when I read Divergent, I was hardly reading any fantasy/dystopia YAs, because I like changing up genres, lest I find boring and predictable a book I would otherwise have enjoyed more. So Divergent was like getting back into my comfort zone – I devoured the three books in about a week.
Synopsis: (from book #1 in the Divergent series in Goodreads)
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.
I have given the first book 5 stars and the others 3 stars. Because this series was such a good surprise to me overall, I’m giving it a general 4 stars. The first book introduces the universe of Divergent very well, without the usual slowness that sometimes first chapters in dystopian books have. There are many fight scenes (very well-written!), and the author knows how to build suspense, making you go through the pages very quickly.
Tris is a strong, smart and very human character – I liked her best of all. It feels to me, however, that books #2 and #3 could have been written into one, and possibly have the Divergent series be one big book or two medium ones instead of three. It felt sometimes that the story was dragging with the last two books, and although I appreciate the increased complexity given to some characters and the explanation for the dystopian setting we are presented to in book #1, I was a little frustrated by the brisk change in Tris, Tobias and their dynamic. Book #1 was about Tris’ divergence and adapting into the Dauntless faction, and #2 and #3 about their relationship. Book #2 starts right where book #1 left us, but the personalities of both main characters seem to change too much for the small amount of time between them.
I will probably not read Free Four: Tobias Tells the Divergent Knife-Throwing Scene, since Tobias with each book became less and less likable to me. I think the point was to make him more relatable, vulnerable and less Super Awesome Dauntless Who’s Absolutely Flawless, but to me it just made him seem weak, and I didn’t like very much the parts of the book that are narrated through his eyes. Tris on the other hand is a character that was written with a lot of vulnerability but has never seemed weak.
Verdict: You will like this series if you enjoy fantasy/dystopian novels and enjoy reading YA, and I specially recommend book #1. The fight scenes are great and the main character is both vulnerable and very brave. It will make you want to re-read it as soon as you finish! Also, yay for no love triangles.
YA = young adult novels