Don't bother with the Hunger Games comparisons -- the dystopian setting is where the similarities end (for me at least). And of course, it's been optioned by Summit for a movie too (What hasn't Summit optioned really?). How are they alike though? They're both pretty damn awesome.
I don't know if the author's website is update or something but it says she's a 22-year old author. And I suddenly feel like a failure. Not that I really put any energy into actually writing something out but wow, way to go on making 24-year old me feel insignificant. She managed to create this entire dystopian Chicago universe where the five factions which I'll leave Amazon to describe
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. [Amazon]Let's start off by saying, I really enjoyed this little division of the people according to the virtues they possess or feel they possess. Off the bat, I know that I wouldn't end up in Dauntless or Candor and I'd be a little to noisy for Amity and I can't study everyday so Erudite is out. This means, I'll be back with the folks Beatrice left behind. Abnegation.
I loved how Roth described each community and the practices each of them upheld and just the way they lived. Sure, it got a little crazy with the entire, 'wearing the same color' kind of schtick but in this dystopian universe, I'll buy it. It was nice to see Beatrice propel herself from her humble beginnings (literally) and throw herself into the Dauntless world where she really felt like a fish out of water.
Of course, because her tests were inconclusive (and top secret! She's DIVERGENT, yo!) it was nice to know that she made the decision to take that leap to Dauntless. It takes a lot of bravery and self-assurance to make that choice and it already said a lot about Beatrice even if she wasn't aware of it just yet.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.From the simple world of Abnegation, it's such a contrast to see how the Dauntless live (or live like they're dying). And though i'm not familiar with the Chicago landscape, it wasn't too hard imagining the different settings Roth described. Though, I wouldn't mind the movie already, cause my piss poor imagination could use some help. I really enjoyed reading about all the tasks and training that the initiates had to go through before actually becoming Dauntless.
From the vicious candidates to the nice friends Tris meets along the way, it's good to know she has a quasi posse to rely on. Though I realized that you really can't trust anyone in these types of worlds and it's a little scary putting your faith in someone who's competing against you to get into the Dauntless.
But of course, I wouldn't be babbling this much about a scifi-dystopia book if it weren't for the love angle. And so in comes Four/Tobias. I'll admit I wasn't paying much attention to Four (I didn't read any synopsis of the book so I wasn't sure who the lead guy would be) and I wasn't quite sure which of the many male names they'd be pairing up with Tris.
But when I put two and two together (Tobias 'betraying' his dad for Abnegation and all the cutesy moments Four was having with Tris), I couldn't wait to read more about these two quasi-star-crossed lovers. What I really like about Roth is that she doesn't skimp on the good stuff. We've got making out and lots of touching and cute moments. I'm scared though, could it be that she's giving us the good stuff now only to deprive us of it in the next two books? I hope not.
Because I thoroughly enjoyed all the touchy, relationship moments no matter how cheesy they were. I have to admit, Iw as still scared that they'd kill everyone around Tris (including Tobias) what with everyone dying so I'm glad they at least made Four live (and kept them together) for now.
Right at the ending, I was still unsure if this was going to be a one-off book or a series of sorts. And of course, I'm lucky enough to hang on to these characters and setting for two more books. Needless to say, I can't wait for the next book and see how Four/Tobias and Tris fall deeper perhaps and battle the forces against them. I'm such a sucker for a romance.
Even More Page Turner:
Bumped by Megan McCafferty
Prep by Curtis Sittenfield