Summary: Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place in mortal danger. Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances. -From GoodReads
Review: Though I very much enjoyed it, Divergent did remind me of a couple of other book I've read in the past few years, the first is, of course, The Hunger Games, the second, to my surprise was Vampire Academy. Similarities between Vampire Academy and Divergent kept coming up as I was reading this. The young prodigy falling in love with her instructor, the mother who holds a mysterious secret, the young couple going on the run to avoid authority. It's not exactly the same, but it's certainly similar, though in the case of Divergent, it's better. I found Tris to be a far more likable character than Rose from Vampire Academy, and thankfully the supporting characters were better as well, no weak characters to protect, no one holding Tris back.
The comparison between Divergent and the Hunger Games are far more obvious, but the details are certainly different. They're both young adult, dystopian novels, they're both about 17 year-old girls training to be strong and fight. Katniss is however, nothing like Tris as a character. Tris is more relate-able and for me and therefore, easier to like. Their upbringing and families are totally different as well, which leads to the difference in their characters.
Saying that either Vampire Academy or The Hunger Games is the same as Divergent, however is like saying Harry Potter is like Harry Dresden because they're both wizards, named Harry, who do magic. They aren't the same, and in the case of Divergent, it's a better spin on the similar ideas.
The book is not perfect, there are a few scenes and situations that could have been better. As with any dytopian novel, if you think too hard about the "world" they live in, it's easy to poke holes and find unanswered questions. It's told through the eyes of a teenager, who doesn't question the way the world works, or how it got that way, therefore as the reader, we're left wondering how our world devolved into theirs. Another complaint was the description of the "test" that determines the factions. It was the determining factor for the rest of the book, and an event much referenced. It was far too simple. As a reader I found it hard to believe that this test could determine anything much less how these teenagers will spend the rest of their lives. That being said, it was easy to overlook these things and as you get caught up in the action and adventure of rest of the story.
Bottom Line: A blend between Vampire Academy and The Hunger Games, but easier to read and better. Grade: A-.