Divergent Thinking (Anthology)

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Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy (Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant) has captured the hearts and thoughts of millions of readers. In Divergent Thinking, YA authors explore even more of Tris and Tobias’ world, including    • What Divergent’s factions have in common with one of psychology’s most prominent personality models • The biology of fear: where it comes from and how Tris and the other Dauntless are able to overcome it • Full-page maps locating all five faction headquarters and other series landmarks in today’s Chicago, based on clues from the books • Plus a whole lot more, from why we love identity shorthand like factions to Tris’ trouble with honesty to the importance of choice, family, and being brave.With a dozen smart, surprising, mind-expanding essays on all three books in the trilogy, Divergent Thinking provides a companion fit for even the most Erudite Divergent fan.

Divergent Thinking: YA Authors on Veronica Roth's Divergent Trilogy
Standalone Anthology/Companion to the Divergent Trilogy
Non-fiction

4 out of 5 stars
Warning: Divergent Thinking has spoilers for all three novels in the Divergent trilogy.

The Divergent Trilogy, for me, started strong and became progressively weaker. The world-building and the revelations of the final book that revealed how Chicago became what it was were both partially implausible and boring. YA Dystopian novels are great for two reasons - firstly, there tends to be a lot of action and a fast pace. The Divergent trilogy held up this end of the bargain for most of its run. Secondly, the world-building and/or themes allow for a more thought-provoking experience. The trilogy didn't deliver this for me. Divergent Thinking filled in most of what I felt the trilogy lacked, providing insights that allowed a deeper, more speculative look into the series and the Divergent world. For someone left so disillusioned and dissatisfied at the end of the trilogy, this was a perfect book to pick up.

Divergent Thinking contains a dozen essays written by an equal amount of YA authors. Each takes on a topic; from the pros and cons of the faction system to why Dauntless, as a military body, failed in its goals. As with most anthologies, some of the essays are stronger than others. My favorite of the collection was "Fear & The Dauntless Girl" by Blythe Woodston, which pleasantly surprised me. The essay looked at the biology of fear (in an interesting way! I promise it's not like reading a biology textbook) and what factors in Divergent's Chicago groomed its people for violence and rebellion. I found this to be the most insightful of the anthology, while still remaining readable and entertaining.

The main critique I have of Divergent Thinking is that some of the essays became a little repetitive. It didn't seem like there was any correspondence between the contributors, since so many of them wrote about ridiculously similar topics. The factions in particular seem to be a very popular topic, but it got old fast. The factions in Divergent were never anything I found incredibly thought provoking, and I had already made a lot of the connections the authors made in their essays... so these were slightly tedious to get through. The first two essays in the collection are both making comparisons between the factions and personality types. If the essays hadn't been put together, maybe it would have been a little less obvious and a little more bearable.

I think Divergent Thinking has something to offer every Divergent fan, even those of us who were left feeling unsatisfied with the trilogy's conclusion.

I was given a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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