There have been many YA series that have come out in recent years. The immense popularity of “Harry Potter,” “Twilight,” and “The Hunger Games” have inspired many other writers. One of the more popular series that has come out in the last few years is the “Divergent” trilogy by Veronica Roth.
Like many other series, this is a dystopian trilogy set in a future where everyone is classified according to their basic personality types. Teenagers have to go through a series of tests to classify them, and they then will spend their lives living with the other members of their faction.
The five main factions are Dauntless, which favors bravery, Erudite, which favors intelligence, Amity, which favors pacifism, Candor, which favors honesty, and Abnegation, which favors selflessness. The main character of the trilogy is a teenage girl named Tris, who learns that she is Divergent, which means that she does not fall into any single faction.
She ends up choosing Dauntless and meets an older boy named Four. Like many YA series, this has a strong romantic subplot. Over the course of the trilogy, Tris discovers that all is not well in her society and she inevitably ends up helping to overthrow the oppressive regime.
I thought that the first book, “Divergent,” was the strongest of the trilogy. Neither “Insurgent” nor “Allegiant” impressed me as much. I think that this is because the first book is the most interesting because it is revealing the world to us. We learn about it with Tris so that there is a natural tendency to identify with her.
I also thought that the world building was not as strong as it might be. The whole idea of a society based on personality tests does not really make a lot of sense. However, it is more believable in the first book because it seems perfectly natural to Tris at first. After all, this is the society in which she grew up.
Over the second two books, however, as she begins to discover the flaws in her society, it becomes harder and harder to take it seriously. This is a real weakness in many dystopian novels. They are, of course, exaggerations and often not intended to be realistic.
If you like YA dystopias, the trilogy is probably worth a read. However, you may be disappointed with it as it goes on.