In case you have been living under a rock for the past year, and did not know; this is a young adult sci-fi novel set in dystopian futuristic Chicago. I don’t want to compare it to The Hunger Games, but I have to. It is part of a trilogy. Our protagonist is a unusually (implausibly?) courageous and intelligent sixteen-year old girl who takes on the government and looks very much as though she might win.
In this world, there are five factions, and everyone must choose to belong to one, according a personality test and a choice they make when they are sixteen. All people in this world are either selfless, brave, peaceful, honest or intelligent. Or, like our protagonist, Tris, they might be a bit of several of those things, and this would make them Divergent. As I was wondering which of the factions I would join, back when I was sixteen, and now that I am really too old to be reading this sort of thing, I see that many people would probably be Divergent. Many people in our world, at least. Who would slot neatly in to just one of these factions? Perhaps that is where the trilogy is going.
I am surprised to learn that this is Roth’s first novel. It is by no means a sophisticated deep and meaningful read, it is for kids, after all. It is shallower than the Hunger Games (sorry to keep comparing it, but it is so similar). But it is action-packed and exciting and dashes along in an exciting way. I read it in a few days and could happily pick up the second novel to see what happens next.
If you liked The Hunger Games, you will probably like this. There are plenty of fights and killings, some nasty bad guys that must be vanquished, and a little bit of romance, what is there to not like?