Book review: The Uglies, Divergent and Hunger Games

“End of the world” themed books have long been popular. Alternative futures (or not so alternative) as present in 1984 and Brave New World have enthralled generations of readers. More recently it seems that it has become popular to write about an unknowing teenage female heroine living in a future far different than our current world. Although there are many other series out there involving heroes in similar situations, this article focuses on three of the most popular, current series about young, female heroine. If you haven’t read these books yet, hopefully this review can help guide you as to where to start.

The Hunger Games

This trilogy follows a 16 year old girl on her fight to survive.  She lives in a world that has been divided into 12 sections.  Every year, 2 minors from each section (ages 11-17) fight in an enclosed enviornment in which only one can survive. This is a world controlled through fear.

Katniss is creative and is good at figuring out how to survive.  She seems to stumble across her solutions half the time, but is quick to pick up the clues.  She is an unwilling hero to the people of the various sections.  While fighting for survival, she shows that there are alternatives, even when none are obvious and that staying true to yourself and your friends will help you win the day.

What I did not like about these books is that the last one seemed to change some of the characters and their “natural” actions, to meet an end result the author wanted.  Katniss’ relationship with her best friend becomes strained and their interaction seems made to fit a result rather than its natural course.

Overall, a very creative story but considering I found book three to not completely remain true to the characters, this is not my favorite series.

Divergent

This trilogy follows a 16 year old girl, Tris, on her discovery that her world is not quite what it seems.  The world has been divided into 4 groups.  At age 16 you must endure a test that tells you where you will fit best as an adult.  You can then select to join that group and leave your childhood completely behind (since the groups don’t really mix much) or you can choose to stay with your family.

The point of these 4 groups is to make the world run more peacefully and to maximize citizen talents.  The main character struggles to survive in her world and then proceeds to be a leader in tearing down the rules that have been established.  She faces issues of betrayal and death.  She also faces what the “outside” world looks like and has to make life altering decisions with respect to that world.

Overall, this is my favorite of the 3 millenial-armagedeon type book series. The storyline and characters seemed the most consistent.

The Uglies

This series consists of books titled The Uglies, The Pretties, The Specials and The Extras.

This series is about a 16 year old girl that lives in a world where children undergo dramatic surgery to make them all “pretty” and “happy”, at age 16.  Through a series of mishaps, the main character, Tally, ends up running away from the surgery and into the wild.  What she learns there changes her perspective.  She must overcome many obstacles to keep true to herself.  She is constantly fighting loyalties within herself.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book.  I found myself less interested in the story as the books went on as it seemed more of the same issues. Yet, the story was still overall interesting.  The writing was fun as there are many made up slang terms such as “dizzy-making”.

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