Sit down kids I want to have a word with you. I’m going to tell you an incredible story, the story of how I met your mother…. Nope, sorry, wrong topic. I want to tell you why Divergent is worth your time and shouldn’t be dismissed as another Hunger Games rip-off. For an introduction to Divergent have a look at my previous post.
First a disclaimer. When I say Divergent is “good” and “worth your time” I mean that it is good relative to other series in this genre and worth your time if you enjoy YA novels set in a dystopian future. This is not going to win Oscars or Man Booker prizes so take your snooty face and get out of here.
Because I believe in consuming any and all media without judgement (HA!) I have read both the Hunger Games and Divergent trilogies. As I have said in the past the Divergent series “are not great works of literature but they are engaging, engrossing, very quick to read, and in my opinion are superior to The Hunger Games.” As Divergent star Shailene Woodley has said the two are as alike as Star Wars and Star Trek; both feature a female lead fighting for freedom in a dystopian future but the journeys they take are very different.
I was not a fan of The Hunger Games and despite it being a quick read took forever to read the first book. It wasn’t until I was faced with overnight coach trips to and from Amsterdam that I found myself isolated enough to consider finishing the trilogy. Sadly in my mind the series just got worse and worse as our “strong female lead” Katniss Everdeen continued to spend her time worrying about boys and having things happen to her rather than take much action herself. For balance I know plenty of people who love the books and these opinions are my own and do not reflect those of the BBC (why would they?). Yes I enjoy the films in their own way but I can’t be sure how much of that is down to the sheer amount of Jennifer Lawrence they involve and the amount of leeway I am willing to give her.
Divergent is better than The Hunger Games (there, I’ve said it again) because “strong female lead” Tris is strong, female, and leads. Tris makes decisions, takes action, and never passes out during climactic battle scenes. More importantly the Divergent series gets better with each edition. While The Hunger Games declined in quality before boring me senseless in the final book, soon to be two whole films, Divergent not only is at its best in book three but actually explains the myriad of grievances I had in the beginning. Plot holes become part of the plot meaning that what could be seen as a weak opener is made more coherent when the series is looked at as a whole.
The result of this is that you might need to give Divergent a chance even after having seen the first film. Reviews are a little mixed and I am worried that this might turn people off what has the potential to be a solid teen franchise. I haven’t seen the film yet (angry glance at PR agencies) so can’t comment myself but I am pretty confidence that some of the story’s weaknesses will be addressed later on in the trilogy.
Most importantly of all the Divergent book trilogy is being adapted into a Divergent film trilogy meaning that the final book will not be split into two money-grabbing, story-stretching films. I think we can all be thankful for that.
Divergent is in UK cinemas from 4th April 2014 and I need someone to go with.