Fight club for teens! This dystopian tale is gritty, dark, bloody and a creative take on a bleak future. Set in Chicago, the protagonist leads the reader on a wild ride through her challenging battle to keep a secret safe, a boyfriend by her side and evildoers at bay.
The author has a very strong voice. Her character development of the protagonist female and male is strong, leaving the reader gasping (or cringing) when they find themselves deep inside the dark world Veronica Roth created. This young adult story riddled with gun wielding, ass-kicking, knife throwing, sucker punching, eye gouging, government brainwashing characters, has all the makings of a major motion picture and apparently the studios agree. It is scheduled for a 2015 release.
DIVERGENT: This was the better of the two installments, it is where we meet the characters, learn about the world around them and set forth on a very twisted journey. I found it fascinating that one could choose their destiny by selecting to live and work within government-designed aptly named factions: Dauntless, Candor, Erudite, Abnegation and Amity. Once you turn a certain age you are offered one chance to choose which faction you want to spend the rest of your life with and you must pass a series of tests in order to matriculate (many don’t survive the tests).
The first book takes a deep look into the political structure of the factions and how they are fundamentally flawed because no one has a single characteristic in their personality type. The author leads you to answers without a cheesy, over-the-top reveal at the end and the book leaves you satisfied. Roth also includes a very authentic and emotionally stimulating love story. It wasn’t shoved in your face and subtly leads you along the couple’s journey. I really rooted for their survival and it was refreshing.
The book has an open ended conclusion hinting that there is more to come without leaving you hanging so far out that your inner stalker vows to recreate scenes from Steven Kings, Misery. 😉
INSURGENT: The second installment was great, but not as organic as the first. I felt it was a tiny bit forced, which is common for sequels. For instance, I enjoyed learning about the underground movement, but I felt the factions became convoluted. I began forgetting which faction was good and which was bad, the characters were not reintroduced and I often had to go back and reread who went where with what leader. The love story was still ever present and well written, but I was disappointed in the forced mistrust between the happy couple. Nevertheless, I anxiously bit my nails to the quick over all the major revelations that the minor writing flaws became inconsequential.
In my opinion, this book is a well-executed follow-up to Divergent and I highly recommend the series.
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