I really, really enjoyed this book. Perhaps in many ways I enjoyed it more than the Hunger Games and in others I liked it equal or less. Now I shall whip up a brief argument that summarises why I enjoyed the book.
The dystopian world imagined by Veronica Roth is based around people being divided into five different factions based on personality types. At the age of sixteen all humans choose which faction they wish to join regardless of what they have been brought up in. An interesting premise from the beginning which intrigued me. The main character Tris struggles to decide which place she belongs in, learns to become a member of her new faction and falls in love. That's your basic shortened synopsis.
I felt the author was able to write entertainingly and with energy. It was plain to see that she was passionate about writing and creating her vision of a ruined future. And I perhaps enjoyed the ideas visible in her world more than the Hunger Games because of the questions they posed. It challenged the ideas of birth and upbringing deciding who you are. I felt there was room for questioning what defines a person in essence. It for me was not just an intriguing young adult story but also a novel which implied intricate questions. I felt that through the protagonist two main questions in particular were addressed. And these were: 1.
does personality define our expectations in life? And 2.
or instead are we each as individuals responsible for our paths in life?
I myself would venture the latter because I believe regardless of situation we all have a choice in how we live. I know that's easier said than done but it's what I believe. I think (and its fitting given that bravery and courage were so highly regarded in the book) that to state that your DNA and external forces have made you what you are is in a way weak. I feel people need to take responsibility for themselves rather than blaming external conditions. I simply hate how too many people get out of court on the condition of mental impairment because I still think they're responsible for what they did. And I liked the fact that Tris was responsible, although it took her a while to realise that fact, for herself and saw what true courage was about. Not opting out but willing to face her fears.
The fact that I felt this novel more vividly showed and questioned the ideas of identity and challenging fear made this novel more enjoyable than Hunger Games from a philosophical and thought-provoking point of view. However Hunger Games wins out in the plot elements, storyline and overall execution. Therefore this can have a 3.5 star rating compared to the 4.5 for Hunger Games.