#2 Series Sunday: The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth

Divergent SeriesThis poignantly compelling trilogy (Divergent, Insurgent and Allegiant) is by far one of the best YA series I have ever read, arguably even better than the Hunger Games. It explores a number of profound topics throughout.

The whole concept is based around the fact (and warning because *spoiler alert*) that the world as we know it, huge and multi-layered to us, is in fact nothing but a small portion of an even bigger unfathomable world. This model has been explored many a time, the most prominent which comes to mind is ‘The Truman Show’, except the post-apocalyptic Chicago in The Divergent Series is a lot more entrenched in violence and a sinister attempt at dividing social norms.

Factions play a big part in these novels’ dystopian society, at sixteen each member must choose which faction they want to remain in for the rest of their lives, deciding whether they stay where they were born or leave their families forever. ‘Faction over family’ is the motto Tris constantly wrestled with. The problem with the five factions: Abnegation, for the selfless; Amity, for the peaceful; Candor, for the honest; Dauntless, for the brave; and Erudite, for the intellectual, is that not only is it impossible to separate humans based on a single trait, but the desire for more is what leads to complete chaos. The moral in this trilogy is that a focus for complete selflessness leads to a lack in self-preservation, a complete focus on peace leads to ignorance, a complete focus on honesty leads to hunger for control, bravery to violence, and intellectuality to greed.

Discrimination has plagued human societies for millennia, whether through prejudice based on gender or class, racism, or even homophobia. However, the ever increasing development of genetics today and with the possibility of genetic manipulation feasible, this series bring up the question of whether humanity will ever get to the point where genetics could play such a huge part in our societies, whether those with pure genes will ever be considered above those with damaged genes, and persecute them.

The whole story is tied up beautifully with the theme of love, between friendships, families and of course the protagonists, Tris and Tobias. It is a gratifying self-improving and growing love which makes you want to read on, as well as gut-wrenching sacrifice which binds you so evocatively to the storyline. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this series and would definitely recommend it to all, even if you have seen the first movie which I believe came out some time last year. In addition, I’m aware that Veronica Roth has written a book based solely on Four’s entire perspective of the series, and I might give it a read. Have any of you read it? Have you read the series, and if so what did you think of it? Please let me know!

Hasta Pronto,

Nadia xx

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Series Sunday: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins #1

I know what you’re thinking: Wasn’t this meant to be up on Saturday Nadia? *bows head down in shame*

I’m sorry, I swear I’ve been mega busy since Friday. But now I can officially say I am exam (and stress) free! So I will be posting here loads more, and ‘Series Sunday’ works just as well as ‘Series Saturday’ right? So here goes…

 The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games

I know how much this series has been raved about, especially with the first part of the third installation coming out in cinemas soon. But I have to say that I absolutely LOVE the concept behind the plot of these book. For those of you who have been hidden under a rock, it revolves around the city of Panem, which is split into (or was) split into 13 districts, and then a Capitol where all the rich and privileged reside. After the people of District 13 rebelled against The Capitol, causing a war which ended in their destruction, and that of many people, The Capitol planed ‘The Hunger Games’ whereby every year two ‘tributes’ (one girl,one boy) from each district are reaped to take part in a televised game, where the aim is to outlive everyone else.

Apart from the love triangle between Peeta Mellark, Katniss Everdeen (the two who took part in The Hunger Games) and Gale Hawthorne, the whole situation happening in Panem really made me think. The oblivious attitude of the pampered and well fed Capitol citizens towards the rest of the people in the Districts who have to work incessantly and struggle to provide even the smallest piece of bread for their families made me think of a sort of mirrored version of the world we live in today. We obsess over the things we want and get upset over the unnecessary things we don’t have while on this very same rock there are people who can barely imagine living another day. We go to sleep thinking about what we’re going to wear the next day while other people fear closing their eyes for they might never see the next day, with barely a thought spared for these other people.

Another thing The Hunger Games made me think about was how contended the Capitol citizens were with watching CHILDREN kill each other without stopping to think about the horror of it all. The reality television celebrity culture is growing day by day, and shows like ‘I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here’ are watched by many, who enjoy watching celebrities squeal and cry in terror of whatever bug eating or spider caged challenge they’re in. Is this the future of reality television? Are we going to become so desensitized to cold blooded murder and death that we will be at ease to watch this as some form of entertainment? Shrouded by a cloud of feigned ‘normality’ made by the heads of state, the heads of Panem.

And finally there’s the issue of violence against violence. During Mockingjay, the last in the Hunger Games trilogy, (and I don’t want to give to much away!) Katniss becomes part of a secret rebellion against the Capitol, and its leader (Coin) is very intent on ‘fighting them’. In the end it becomes apparent that this will never work towards creating peace. And I think that this is a moral that we should carry with us today. There is a part in ‘Mockingjay’, which is set in a dystopian future from now, which goes:                                          “Frankly, our ancestors don’t seem much to brag about. I mean, look at the state they left us in, with with the wars and the broken planet. Clearly, they didn’t care what would happen to the people who came after them.”                                                                                      Our greed for the utmost comfort and our innate violent enmity are destroying the world we live in. What will we leave for our successors? Do we care at all?

Overall, as well as tear-jerkingly emotional, I found this series very thought provoking. As someone who likes to look beyond the surface of a book, I thoroughly enjoyed it, with ‘Mockingjay’ being my favourite in the series, as it had a lot more to think about outside of the Hunger Games arenas.  The characters were very well written and poignantly relatable, to the point where I felt as affected by their tragedies as the characters themselves. I believe that the books go perfectly hand in hand with the movies, or just alone, as the movies lose a lot of backstory which in my opinion fail to explain the all the feelings of the characters, and thus losing the connection between the audience and the story. A good example is Katniss’ memory of Peeta throwing her the bread loaf when she was younger, and the sort of anger she feels towards him at the beginning of the film. This is completely explained in the book (she had a feeling of owing him as well as a mixture of confusion as to why he did it)  whereas in the film we just see flashback of it and see her resentment towards him without any explanation, which doesn’t make a lot of sense.

I recommend these books to anybody that hasn’t already read them, or if you have leave me a comment below. Sorry for the extra long post, I have a lot to say about them.

Hasta Pronto,

Nadia x