I know a lot of people are suspicious when a book is touted as ‘the next (insert novel/series here)’. Nothing can really replicate your love for a particular series, so saying a book is the next Twilight/Harry Potter/Hunger Games is a big risk – and one that usually falls short.
So when I heard that ‘Divergent’ by Veronica Roth was ‘the next Hunger Games’, I was quite suspicious. To me, Suzanne Collins’ trilogy was so unique and so compelling that it really stood out. And I often feel like there are many authors who jump on the genre bandwagon, trying to make buck out of someone else’s successful idea.
There are a few things I like about Roth’s novel. Firstly, she never set out to make the story into a series. I like that! Here is a woman with a cool story to tell, not an author who’s deliberately trying to tap into what they think teenagers will like. As it happens, she is in the process of writing a sequel (Insurgent), which is awesome, because I wanted more!!
Secondly, this is a really compelling book with a really strong female protagonist. Tris (short for Beatrice) lives in world where, at the age of 16, everyone decides which ‘faction’ they will spend the rest of their life living and serving in. Your faction determines the way you behave: the Abnegation are selfless, the Erudite are intelligent, the Candor are honest, the Amity are loving and the Dauntless are fearless.
Growing up in Abnegation, Tris never quite fits in, and decides to choose a different faction to live in. The truth is, Tris is divergent; she’s equally suited to live in two factions. Divergents are rare and dangerous, and as Tris makes a new life for herself in the ranks of the Dauntless, she discovers underlying unrest among the factions that will result in her having to make some very hard decisions.
This book is really compelling because it’s action-packed, it has a bit of romance, and it really makes you think about the nature of man. I would highly recommend this novel for anyone who’s a fan of the Hunger Games, or who likes dystopian or post-apocalyptic fiction.