Veronica Roth is most well known for her trilogy Divergent, first published in 2011. It was an immediate best seller and sold millions of copies. She has also written other books, which have not achieved the same success as her original trilogy. But they deserve love, too, so here’s a short list of them.
Published in 2017, this is a darker, more mature book than Divergent. There’s also a lot more worldbuilding, including the nine planets in the galaxy and the long-standing feud between the Shotet and the Thuvhesit, the two main peoples in the novel.
Cyra Noavek is the younger sister of Ryzek Noavek, the ruler of Shotet. Her currentgift (which is a force, a power, that all citizens have in different forms) is pain; anyone who touches her experiences terrible pain, and she herself is in constant suffering. Her brother uses her to torture citizens, to rule by fear. Akos Kereseth lives in the planet’s other country, which is an enemy of Cyra’s. He and his brother are kidnapped by Ryzek for their abilities, and Akos has to fight for their survival.
Cyra and Akos get caught up with Shotet rebels who want to overthrow Ryzek. After learning about each other and their countries, Cyra and Akos start to question everything they thought they knew. And they have to make a crucial decision: remain loyal to their families and countries, or fight for love and what’s right.
There is also a second book called The Fates Divide that was released in 2018.
Published in 2020, this is an urban fantasy novel that takes place near Chicago. The novel focuses on two points in time: when the main five characters are teens, and then again 10 years later. This is also Roth’s first adult fantasy novel, and the worldbuilding is wonderful and rich. (If you’re interested, here’s an interview Roth did for this book.)
Five teenagers—Ines, Matt, Sloane, Esther, and Albie—were destined to defeat the Dark One, a powerful entity who committed mass destruction and massacred a lot of people. They fought hard and managed to defeat him, which restored the world to normal (besides the cleanup and rebuilding that had to happen). But these teens were never the same.
10 years later, one of the Chosen Ones dies, and the remaining four find out that the Dark One had plans they knew nothing about. Plans that were bigger than them, than their world, than everything they knew. They have to fight back, but it might be too much for them.
The novel mostly follows Sloane, one of the five Chosen Ones. She has the hardest time adjusting after the Dark One’s defeat, from PTSD to secrets she keeps that prevents her from moving on. She will fight, too, but she might not have enough in her.
Published in 2022, this sci-fi fantasy book takes place in a giant city that combined Seattle and Portland. There is commentary on oppression and surveillance that remind me of 1984, but in a more modern world. The social commentary and wonderful worldbuilding make it a great read.
People were constantly under surveillance and careful watch in the huge Seattle-Portland megapolis. The Delegation, their government, had something called Insight, an ocular implant that could track a person’s actions and speech. They used this to either reward people for following their strict moral code or to punish them for going against it. But around ten years before the story starts, there was a revolution. The Delegation was overthrown by the Triumvirate, and the top members of the Delegate were locked in a prison called Aperture. People outside moved on.
The books follows Sonya, who was the poster girl for the Delegation before their fall. She was also imprisoned in Aperture. An old enemy comes to her and offers her freedom if she finds a girl who has kidnapped during the Delegation’s rule. As Sonya goes on her new mission, she has to learn to navigate an unfamiliar, post-Delegation world while confronting her past self and her family’s secrets.
This book is unusual in that it’s mostly about life after a revolution, rather than before and during it. It’s still thought provoking and powerful, and one of the best parts is watching how Sonya changes as she interacts with this new world.
Okay, I guess I technically recommended four books, but whatever. Go check these books out!
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