Divergent is a 2011 young adult novel, and is the debut novel for author, Veronica Roth. With the release of the movie adaptation hitting theaters on March 21, 2014, the popularity of this book, as well as the subsequent titles in the series, have been gaining more and more momentum. I decided to pick it up to find out if it lives up to the hype.
The biggest complaint I’ve heard about Divergent is that it is just a Hunger Games rip-off. As someone that has read both books, I’d like to argue that this just isn’t true. For example, even though both books feature a teenage female protagonist that rises to the top of the pack during competitions forced upon children in a futuristic, dystopian society, these two female protagonists are very different. For example, they don’t have the same name. See? Different. Katniss and Tris don’t sound anything alike. Well, a little bit, I guess, but they are different names nonetheless.
Secondly, in The Hunger Games, a war has devastated the United States, and left it separated into twelve districts. Meanwhile, in Divergent, a war has devastated the United States, and it has been separated into five factions. Again, different. Right?
In The Hunger Games trilogy, Katniss helps lead a revolution against evil government forces. Even though all signs are pointing towards this being the plot for future Divergent books, these exact events don’t quite happen for Tris. She does participate in one battle with them, but it can’t be classified as a full-out revolt. Not yet, anyway.
This next part features a little bit of a *spoiler*, so if you haven’t read both Mockingjay and Divergent, skip this paragraph. Another difference that I noticed is in what happens to the male lead. In The Hunger Games, Katniss’ love interest, Peeta, gets brainwashed by the governmental authorities, and never quite gets over what they did to his mind. This varies much from what happens in Divergent when Tris’ love interest, Tobias, gets brainwashed by the governmental authorities and he eventually snaps out of it.
In conclusion, Divergent did not rip off The Hunger Games. I mean, just look at the facts, people! Hunger Games came out in 2008, and Divergent came out in 2011. That’s only three years! Do you really think that Veronica Roth had time to read The Hunger Games and write all 487 pages of this sprawling epic? I think not!
With that said, if you’re into young adult fiction starring a strong female lead who beats the odds and defeats the bad guys, this is the book for you.