By: Veronica Roth
What: Forced to choose between five factions that each represent a defining attribute, a young woman must face some of her worst fears.
Recommended to those who like: Young adult, Clean/Christian?, dystopian, post-apocalyptic.
Reader’s Warning: Brief language (PG), references to intimate relations (PG to mild PG-13)
Once I get back from my trip, I look forward to doing a more thorough discussion of this book. It might not be overly remarkable on its own, but its status as a secular book written by an author who is rather open about her faith is intriguing.
Alas, I shall have to stick to a quick review for today. Ready? Here we go!
In post-apocalyptic Chicago, people are divided by what character trait they value most highly. Beatrice has lived among the selfless Abnegation group for her entire life, but when it’s time for her to choose what group she will ultimately spend the rest of her life with, she faces a deep internal conflict and some of her worst fears.
I found that this book provided some interesting food for thought, which was somewhat surprising. I went into expecting a fast read (which it was), with too much insta-love (mostly accurate), and maybe a couple good action scenes (also accurate). I didn’t expect the questions about the basis of morality that it raised and the conflicts between different value systems, not to mention well-woven commentary on the human condition. However, it was artfully done.
The story was somewhat predictable at a couple of points, and I would have loved to have seen some more in-depth character development of a few of the side characters. I would gladly read the second book just to get a more expanded vision of the post-apocalyptic world. We’re given just the right taste of it to be satisfying while also creating a thirst for more.
As aforementioned, the story was a little too heavy on the love element for my taste. It was still more reasonable than many YA books, for which I was thankful.
The writing was snappy and tight overall, which made for a very quick and easy read that would appeal to teens who don’t even enjoy reading (if I had to guess. I mean, I’ve always enjoyed reading, so I might not be the best person to ask).
While Christianity is not directly involved in this story, the author begins her acknowledgements with a specifically Christian message, and many of the elements of the story reflect a Christian point of view. It certainly makes an intriguing read.
The Bottom Line: A clean dystopian story for mature teens and up, this quick read with good worldbuilding and worthwhile dilemmas is actually worth a bit of the hype.