Hungering for More Dystopia
Then you might want to read this:
Especially if you are needing another dystopian novel read.
Once finishing the Hunger Games trilogy I found myself cruising the library stacks looking for something to fill the void. I needed another Katniss. I craved more page-turning plot. I required a book, make that another series, about individuals standing up against the system. My book booster buddy, “E”, suggested I try out Divergent by Veronica Roth. I put in my library request. And waited. Long wait. Apparently others had discovered Roth’s writing filled their void as well.
Sometime in the future and we’ve got some serious Dystopian times. Society is now divided up into five factions and upon turning sixteen a person must decide which faction he or she will choose. This will be a life-changing decision: families will be separated and relationships tried, refined and perhaps broken.
Beatrice chooses a faction other than the one she grew up with and she finds herself in a totally alien environment. She struggles with her identify, as well the values she’s grown up with all her life. She also lives with the fact she hides a secret–one that could get her killed if it is revealed.
What I like:
Sure the plot is similar to Hunger Games, and that’s one reason why I like the book. It has a page-turning plot, a strong and likable protagonist, a government gone wrong, and a love interest brewing in the background. The rich vocabulary is worth mentioning, as well as the restraint on gratuitous violence, sex, and swearing–which is one reason Hunger Games was such a winner in my opinion. Divergent is almost 600 pages. I devoured it in two days. Devouring pages is one of my requirements for a good book.
On the subject of dystopia–why am I, like so many other readers, attracted to stories about societies gone wrong? Personally, I am not a person who appreciates chaos, yet I find myself intrigued by books where the world is on the verge of disorder and disruption. Hmm, some reflection. Am I attracted to what I fear? Am I heartened and relieved that when I put down the book I still have a voice, an identity, and a vote? To get even more analytical here is a quick list of dystopian books from way past to recent read:
College (of course)
High School (oh yeah–gotta love that required reading)
And the short stories of those wonderful curriculum textbooks (okay, a couple I like)
Recent Reads of My Own Volition:
Maybe utopia would be too easy to envision. What could be interesting about a perfect world? What do they teach in the short story unit–yes, you do too know: no conflict, no story. I guess as much as I crave peace, it’s the conflict that keeps things interesting.
Some great books here – 1984, City of Ember, and Fahrenheit 451 are among my favourites. I’m hoping to eventually get around to reading The Hunger Games. Might have to put Divergent on my TBR list now as well! Happy reading!
Even though they are considered YA I wouldn’t discount them. YA is really becoming a respectable reading choice. Divergent is definitely a recommend. Thanks for stopping by!
Still not convinced to read the Hunger Games… I’m just not into hyped books or too much of a genre inflicted story (with the exception of an occasional Fantasy book or Science Fiction Classics)… Everyone seems to be raving about the Hunger Games and they can’t wait for the movie to be released, yet when I saw the trailer I thought ‘really?!’
Out of curiosity, how’s the writing quality and style of the Hunger Games?
The other books you’ve mentioned though, now those I’m curious about, at least the ones I haven’t read yet. Btw, I don’t think an utopia is too easy to establish. In fact, I’d say it’s the difficulty of establishing an utopia that gives rise to a dystopia, what with the ever chaotic and rebellious human mind (thank goodness!). I saw a really cool foto by another blogger (life is 2 short) yesterday and the caption read: Proper Education, while the foto showed a teacher next to a blackboard saying: Believe Nothing. It felt appropriate 🙂
Great response, Samir! I guess I discovered Hunger Games before it became THE book to read. I actually heard, rather than read, Hunger Games. I took a long trip and I passed the time listening to it as an audio tape–reading and listening to a book are different experiences. I have to say I was caught up in the storytelling. I was absolutely rooting for Katniss; I have a soft spot for feisty female protagonists. The subsequent books were a bit of a letdown, but I definitely enjoyed Hunger Games as a story. I should go back and read it for style.
And I know what you mean about avoiding hyped up books. I haven’t touched Harry Potter, and probably never will, partly because I dislike being a crowd follower. Maybe that’s why I am promoting Divergent, in hopes of setting the next reading trend.
I like your point about utopias descending into dystopias. Is Life Is 2 Short the blog? The cartoon interests me.
I loved The Hunger Games, liked Catching Fire, and didn’t really like Mockingjay. I’m interested in seeing how they transfer it to the big screen.
Although many people say that YA isn’t a respectable reading choice, there are a few really good books in that genre.
Lovely post 🙂
Thanks for the encouraging words. I’m a bit apprehensive about the movie. But I know I will go see it anyway.
Divergent would make an incredible movie if done right.