Veronica Roth’s debut novel, “Divergent”, takes place in the setting of a dystopian Chicago. The population within this futuristic setting are divided among five regions, or factions: Amity – the peaceful, Candor – the honest, Dauntless – the brave, Erudite – the intelligent, and the one in which the protagonist Beatrice “Tris” Prior lives, Abnegation – the selfless. Tris always felt ostracized by her own people and feels she does not belong within her specific faction because she thinks differently than they do.
Once the adolescents in this futuristic Chicago turn 16 years old, they are required to take an aptitude test to determine if they are indeed within the correct faction, personality-wise. The test assesses them using reality simulations, but unknowingly; Tris realized her capability to manipulate the test and ultimately the government’s control. She scores equally among three of the sectors: Dauntless, Erudite, and Abnegation, and consequently, she is told she is “Divergent”. She is told that she must never reveal her negatively-looked upon status as “Divergent”. Roth’s novel has been getting more attention since Summit Entertainment recently bought the rights to the book; therefore a movie will soon be underway. It is rumored the film will be released in 2014 and the forerunner for Tris is Shailene Woodley, best known for her work in “The Descendants” and “Secret Life of the American Tennager.”
Although this new science-fiction series has already grown as a new fan-favorite, people have begun to compare it Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games”, which has already proven a great success in bookstores and box offices worldwide.
“Divergent” and “The Hunger Games” trilogies are two great series yet there are many similarities among the two. In a recent interview when asked about the resemblances, Roth stated, “Well, I never tried to do that” but said she was glad her book was compared to a series of ‘The Hunger Games’ caliber.
To begin, both protagonists are sixteen year old, strong-willed women whose choices are far more important than their abilities; Divergent’s tag line is, “One choice can transform you”. Additionally, both novels are heavily filled with violence and focus on similar themes including adolescence, corruption in the government, and clearly deviance. Julia Geisler, freshman and avid fiction reader, explains, “Even though there are many parallels that can be drawn between the two dystopian novels, there are more differences that set them apart. Personally, I think ‘Divergent’ is a greater novel, and definitely more relatable overall.”
“Divergent” has a growing fan base, and with the new movie in pre-production, it will most likely further its expansion. These slight parallels between “Divergent” and “The Hunger Games” are just examples of commonly used themes in dystopian novels such as “The Giver” and “1984”, but it’s the plot and characters that truly set these two science-fiction trilogies apart.
Divergent by Veronica Roth is highly recommended. The second book in the series, “Insurgent” is available now and the third book is still under wraps and more information about it should be released soon.