Roth's bestseller Divergent has been officially initiated into theaters, with the box office release showing across the country. The ratings from reviewers may be mixed, but what if you're a Divergent die hard? You've read the entire trilogy, exhausted all the fanfic, and saw the movie opening night - and now what? The remaining two movies won't be out for how long? What are you supposed to do till then? You've likely already blasted your way through all the Hunger Games releases and made your way through all the other dystopian classics like Lowry's The Giver and DuPrau's City of Ember series. What now?!?!
Well, let the LA Book Examiner introduce you to five new Divergent-esque series to satisfy all your dystopic, adventuresome cravings.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
In Cinder, the first of her Lunar Chronicles series, Marissa Meyer combines dystopia, steam punk, and traditional fairy tale. Sure, it's obvious that Meyer uses the Cinderella story as her framework, but it's a thin framework off of which Meyer works quite a bit of magic and mayhem. The story does not revolve around a servant girl trying to marry a prince she met at a ball. Oh no, Meyer does so much more with her characters than that. A mechanic, a car, and the entirety of outer space - Meyer introduces her own development on the Cinderella basis quite well. What's more, Meyer does not merely rely on her fairy tale underpinnings to carry the writing; her prose is robust and well-written. Meyer has already released two more books in the Lunar Chronicles, so after you blow through Cinder out of sheer enthusiasm for the story, Meyer's got more of her world ready and waiting for readers to explore. Ten out of ten, would highly recommend.
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
Lauren Oliver's Delirium is very much a sort of "George Orwell's 1984 meets Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet" - which the book description will tell you right off the bat. Like Divergent and Cinder, Oliver's Delirium is part of a dystopian series, though there's more big brother here than in Divergent and less fairy tale/steampunk than in Cinder. The story might pale a bit more in substance, but Oliver's beautiful writing manages to carry it through for many readers. Six out of ten? Seven? If you wanted more romance than the Hunger Games gave you, then go for it.
Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde
No, master worldbuilder Jasper Fforde's Shades of Grey is NOT some poor scab of the unfortunately similarly named 50 Shades of Grey. Released long before the BDSM fanfic appeared on the scene, Fforde's Shades is the brilliant beginning to a story of a post-apocalyptic earth with future releases planned in both the sequel and prequel directions. In Fforde's new world, society is built around color. Some can see reds, some can blues, and some very unfortunate people can only see shades of grey. Status has become linked to what spectrum of the visible an individual can see. It's a color-based caste system, where the hierarchy has become accepted because... well, nobody can quite remember exactly why. In fact, there's quite a lot about Before that people can't quite remember... Hunh. No matter. Carry on.
Yes. Fforde's Shades of Grey is that intellectually tantalizing. Ten out of ten, would recommend to anyone looking for a superbly unique story that'll leave them itching for the next installment.
Matched by Ally Condie
Another "big brother and star-crossed lovers" story. Need more heroines bursting out of their bubbles? Ally Condie's Matched and its two successors in the trilogy have got you covered. A tired trope, but Condie's got a new voice to go at it with. Eight of ten, would at least recommend perusing.
Detergent by Reid Mockery
Settle down, settle down! It's all in good fun! Reid Mockery, one of the foremost voices in parody, has released Detergent, a hilarious parody of Roth's Divergent. Just as Roth's trilogy probably left your heart and soul torn asunder and your face all pruny-wrinkled from the volume of tears it'd been washed with, so will Reid Mockery leave you with a hurting stomach from all the laughing you've done. But remember! In parody, nothing is sacred. Leave your reverence at the door.