Dystopian literature as a genre has recently become very popular. I feel that it started with the success of the "Hunger Games" series. I mean, who doesn't love teenagers being forced to kill each other, am I right? And apparently, there is nothing worse in this world than a 14 year old having to pick up a gun and shoot another 14 year old. Okay, that sounds way more nonchalant than I meant it to. Teenagers having to kill teenagers is a horrid thing. However, back in the olden times, dystopian novels had some variety. If you want to know what I'm talking about, read Orwell's "1984" or Huxley's "A Brave New World". Anything by Urusula Le Guin is also fantastic.
Anyways. I just finished reading the "Divergent" series by Veronica Roth. Because the series is technically YA, it wasn't that hard of a read, in fact I read the first two books in 9 hours. But the series comes jam-packed with action and adventure that will keep the readers heart beating and the pages flipping. Oh, and there's a little bit of romance thrown in just for kicks.
I'll give you a basic rundown of the first book while attempting not to ruin anything. In post-apocalyptic Chicago exist five factions that value different virtues. There is the Erudite (Knowledge), Abnegation (Selflessness), Candor (Honesty), Amity (Kindness), and the Dauntless (Bravery). Every person is born into a faction (obviously) but on their sixteenth birthday the choose whether to stay in that faction or move to another one. The story follows Beatrice, who, over the course of the book battles with finding her true identity, finding a group of friends she can trust, and ultimately learning how to trust any type of authority, even when the government is literally out to kill her.
I felt that the books as a whole employed a lot of devices that had been done before, such as the separation of society into personality types (again, read "Brave New World"), and the amount of violence that it contained (also employed by the HG series). However, the book was refreshingly original, even if it felt a little like it had been created from a template.
I am excited to see what Veronica Roth does after the success of the "Divergent" series and to read any future work by her. I am even MORE excited to watch the film adaptation of the first installment in the series that came out this year. But I had to read the book first!
Now on to my next book that will surely make me cry: John Green's "Paper Towns".