So I spent the past three days reading Divergent which is the debut novel by author Veronica Roth released in 2011.
I was quite apprehensive about reading this book because I heard a lot of people comparing it to The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and a lot of people were saying it was just a copy of that trilogy.
I decided to give it a go anyways seeing as the movie is coming out next year and Shailene Woodley (who I adore right now) will be playing Tris, the protagonist.
All I can say is thank goodness I did give the book a go, because not only was it a fantastic read, I can also happily concur that is in fact NOT a copy of The Hunger Games. In fact, I only saw a few similarities which I will discuss below.
So what are the similarities between Divergent and The Hunger Games?
Both novels are set in dystopian time, and both novels are on the verge of a civil war outbreak. The main protagonist is a girl who at first appears weak and is disliked by figures of authority, but both appear strong, brave and fearless toward the end of the book, all in the name of protecting the ones they loves, their family.
So yes, I can see some similarities between these two novels, but does this mean one is a copycat version of the other? Definitely not. I think the thing people are confusing is theme vs plot.
Yes, the themes of these two books are similar, in fact they are practically the same. But the plots of both novels are extremely different.
The Hunger Games follows the story of 16 year-old Katniss Everdeen. The Hunger Games is an annual event which sees one boy and one girl aged between 12-18 year old, from each of Panem’s (post-apocalyptic North America) 12 districts fight to the death, until only one remaining victor stands. This is the Capitol’s way of punishment to remind them of the rebellion of district 13 (which no longer exists) against the Capitol. Katniss’ younger sister Prim is chosen to enter the Hunger Games, but Katniss volunteers as tribute to save her sister. The book then follows Katniss’ journey through The Hunger Games.
Divergent on the other hand, is the story of Beatrice ‘Tris’ Prior. She lives in a society that is divided into five factions; Abegnation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Candor (the honest), Dauntless (the brave), and Erudite (the intelligent). Each year, every 16-year-old must take an aptitude test to see which faction they are best suited for. They then must decide whether to stay in their own faction with their family, or transfer to a different faction. Tris was born into an Abegnation family, along with her brother Caleb, however on Choosing Day, she decides to transfer factions to become a member of Dauntless where she must now learn how to be brave.
As you can see by the basic plot summaries above, yes the themes of these two novels are similar, but the plots are both very different.
Therefore, if you were like me and reluctant to read Divergent for fear it would be a less interesting, copycat version of The Hunger Games, please think again.
This book was an outstanding read. I found myself unable to put the book down (which resulted in a lot of late nights staying up reading) but it was worth it. I am going to my nearest book store tomorrow to purchase the second book in the series, Insurgent as I can’t wait to get started on it.
As for which book I preferred? I think it is a little too-soon to tell. I think they might be on par with one another, but I will finish the Divergent trilogy before I make my final call.
As for the film adaptation of Divergent, I am beyond excited to see it. As I said, I absolutely adore Shailene Woodley, and the film also stars Ansel Elgort as Caleb (who I am very excited to see in this role as he will also star opposite Shailene Woodley in the film adaptation for John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, and we all know how I feel about that book!) and Miles Teller who I also love (who actually also co-starred in the film adaptation of Tim Tharp’s novel The Spectacular Now with Shailene Woodley) is playing Peter. The film is due to come out in the US in March 2014, and as I live in Ireland I suspect that will mean it won’t be out until May, but hey I can go see it for my birthday!
So yes I would highly recommend either of these two books to anyone who is looking for a good read, although I suspect many of you have already read both.