Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Divergent - Veronica Roth

Katniss Everdeen Has a Twin Sister

I may be drawing a pension but that doesn’t stop me browsing the YA sections of libraries and bookshops. It might be because I’ve never properly grown up? Good. Because that means I get to enjoy the wealth of what I like to call ‘Dystopic’ fiction and there seems to be an abundance.

I loved The Hunger Games trilogy, the Maze Runner series and, lesser lauded perhaps, Lauren Oliver’s Delirium collection. If Orwell were alive today he might well be giving a nod of approval with Huxley offering a thumbs up too.

So what is it that appeals? Objectively I can see exactly how these books capture the imaginations of younger readers. Buy why does an old fart like me find them so compelling, absorbing every word?

Divergent is the first in the series (Don’t worry I have the next ready and waiting!). Technically it’s a competent piece of work, well structured for its intended audience, a well developed plot that is convincing, characters who we love and admire and those who we contemptuously loathe. The themes are there to satisfy the contemporary teenager who will find much to identify with no matter that we are in a world of the future. The human condition snd frailties endure throughout it seems. (Maybe thats what appeals to me?). The technical and almost but not quite sci fi aspects of the narrative extract admiration for the sheer ingenuity and imagination whilst remaining curiously plausible.

There is an underlying morality here throughout; within the factions created for each person to live in and adhering to the principles of that faction, that choice made at sixteen years of age, and the choices and decisions made by the characters within their daily lives.It will be interesting to see how that is developed within the whole series.

I think the writer understand youngsters well, understands the way the developing adolescent brain reacts and interacts. I think that goes a long way to rendering the fiction so credible.

But I still don’t understand why t holds such appeal for me? Ah well, no point dwelling on it. I’m off to watch the movie now! ;-)

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