Two things initially kept me from reading this book (even after I bought it):
1) The comparisons to The Hunger Games
2) My fear that all Dystopians have crappy endings
Number two I think is understandable. I've only read a few Dystopians--only two that I've loved, more that I didn't--and one of my big pet peeves is the unhappy/hopeless endings. What?!? You know it's true. I know just by calling a book "Dystopian" that things aren't going to be all candy hearts and warm fuzzies, but that doesn't mean the end can't be satisfying.
That brings me back to my number one. Oh, Suzanne Collins…you so won me over. You lifted the veil, invited me into Katniss's brutal world, and made me fall in love with her and it. Here's how the conversation used to go--Question: "Do you read Dystopian?" My answer: "Not if I can help it." The conversion from Dystopian hater to lover can be narrowed down to three words: The Hunger Games, and maybe even just one: Peeta. When I picked up Divergent by Veronica Roth, I was just coming off my Hunger Games high, and I didn't want to chance disliking it simply b/c it didn't stand up to one of the best series I'd ever read.
But when I finally gave in, I was happily surprised.
I can see where all the comparisons come from, but instead of feeling like Divergent was a Hunger Games wannabe, I was instantly drawn in by the characters, the world, and the choice that determined everything.
Sixteen-year-old Beatrice Prior isn't allowed to look at herself in the mirror. Her clothes are a muted slate gray, the same as the rest of the "stiffs" in Abnegation. Selflessness above all; that's the faction's motto. But as much as she tries, Beatrice isn't as selfless as she should be. When the time comes, Beatrice must choose which faction she will belong to for the rest of her life. Five factions, five possible choices: Abnegation (the selfless), Erudite (the intelligent), Candor (the honest), Amity (the peaceful), and Dauntless (the brave). The outcome of Beatrice's choice leads to a new name, a grueling initiation process, newfound friends (and enemies), and the discovery of a plot by one faction to overthrow another. Tris's secret could save them all…if she isn't killed first.
I enjoyed the book's mix of adventure, personal discovery, and romance. Tris and Four were great together. I loved how Tris stood up for Four and how Four always recognized Tris's inner-strength. I look forward to seeing how their relationship develops in the next book. One of my favorite character quirks was that Tris really wasn't perfect. She was selfish at times--and I wanted to reach out and make her do the right thing, feel more sympathy, not look down on others for their weaknesses. But that just wasn't who she was. I didn't love how quick things happened in the end. Some things seemed to be thrown in simply to up the drama (especially unnecessary character deaths) or to clear the slate for the next book.
Overall, a great read, and Divergent definitely gets added to the "Dystopians I Liked" category J