I read this series a little while ago but had a hard time figuring out where I could place it in terms of our monthly themes and weekly spots. Anyway, here is a snapshot review of the series.
Overall, I really enjoyed the series, it was not very Hunger Games-y which I generally fear when I read YA dystopias. What I enjoyed in particular was the writing – it was very evocative and poetic. The craving for literature, culture and historical knowledge and context throughout the series is very alluring and realistic. There are so many questions that are simply shut off by the society and this, I think follows very much in the vein of our classic dystopias – 1984 and Brave New World. Indeed the series draws from Orwell’s 1984 in terms of it’s dystopic regime, while on the surface it can appear very much like the sweet society of The Giver underneath lies the fear based world of 1984.
Furthermore, and what I admire most about the series, Condie has created what I would argue is a true dystopia in that the protagonist is fully entrenched and quite happily living in the dystopia at the beginning but slowly awakens to it’s true dystopic nature. The utopian ideal is clear, but it is also very clearly undermined. As Cassia awakens to the truth about society so too can the reader see that she is still conflicted, as perhaps we contemporaries are, because though the system is flawed… is there a better way? Is rebellion the answer?
A truly enjoyable series and on top of it all, though there is a little romance, it is not the preoccupation of the series. Yes, it is in the minds of our POV characters but it is realistic, not melodramatic – enjoyable and not all-soul-consuming.