The future of YA fiction is dystopian. But following in the shadow of the epic, controversial and downright fantastic Hunger Games, how can you tell a cheap knock- off from the real thing?
Fear not. This popular sub-genre includes the likes of Allie Condie’s excellent debut, Matched, and I’m here to tell you that things are about to get a even better.
Veronica Roth’s Divergent is a wonderfully sweeping, romp of a book that will have you devouring the pages, jumping ‘Factions’ and not sleeping very much. I for one surged along at break-neck speed in search of an answer to all the madness of this particular premonition.
Set in a futuristic Chicago, people are divided into five Factions: Abnegation, Dauntless, Candor, Erudite and Amity. On reaching their 16th birthday, teenagers are asked to choose between their current Faction (which they share with their families) or jump ship and join another Faction. Once they have decided, they must undergo tests of initiation similar in brutality and horror tothose ofThe Hunger Games (with fewer fatalities). Behind all this, like most current YA fiction, romance and surging hormones have a major part to play, but it never truly gets in the way of what is important: a futuristic society heading towards meltdown.
Tris is a strong, independent and stubborn teenager. She is a joy to behold; after all, without a believable, fascinating and intriguing lead character this future would be dust in no time.
It is in the description of these various Factions and their traits, initiations and laws where Roth finds her stride. Discovering the weird and wonderful world will be enjoyed by any reader. Get some sleep now, because once you delve into the world of Divergent you won’t feel the comfort of your pillow for quite some time.