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Why is this dystopian book Divergent meets 1984?

On all the marketing for Sun of Endless Days, I talk about the book as 'Divergent meeting 1984'. Now, of course, this can feel like a throwaway comment to position the book somewhere where it might not fit. But I have thought about it. At first, I was describing it as 'The Hunger Games meets 1984' but having recently read Divergent, the themes of that world is much more in keeping with Sun of Endless Days.

Three dystopian books; divergent and 1984

To catch us up, Divergent is a young adult dystopian novel about a futuristic Chicago where citizens are divided into five factions based on their dominant personality traits. In the first book, we see Tris Prior move faction but also discover that she is, what they call, Divergent. This means she has equal amounts of each personality trait, a 'condition' the society deems dangerous. Tris must fight to stay in the faction she's chosen (to avoid becoming factionless) but also keep her secret because losing it, could mean death.

1984 by George Orwell is considered one of the dystopian classics, alongside Yevgeny Zamyatin's We and Brave New World by Ardous Huxley. Orwell introduces readers to the character Winston Smith who lives in Oceania, a totalitarian state which is under the rule of The Party and is at war with two other states. Winston works in The Ministry of Truth where he alters documents for The Party's advantage. All citizens are under the watchful eye of Big Brother and Winston starts to feel uncomfortable with life in Oceania. He soon meets a colleague who shows him more of what is means to live and be human, but it doesn't come without its consequences...

So here's three reasons why this new dystopian novel is comparable to both Veronica Roth's young adult piece and George's Orwell's classic, aside from all three being set in a city!

Young adult meets hard truths

Sun of Endless Days is a young adult novel like Divergent, however, I wouldn't say it's as soft. As in 1984, this new dystopian novel doesn't shy away from challenging readers through exposing undesirable tendencies in its main characters. Ajay Ambers, for example, could easily be described as a judgemental narcissist. George Orwell gave a message for his time, and for today through 1984 about what can happen if we lose our personal freedom. In the same way, Sun of Endless Days demonstrates what can happen if we allow our selfish endeavours for success to drive us - just in a more young adult Divergent way than Orwell.

Factions meet greater limitations

Another way these two books collide in Sun of Endless Days is through the setting and the detail. Like in Divergent, the city of Tulo in Sun of Endless Days is divided into 'factions', not on personality trait but by merit score. There's the Unworthies (similar to factionless), the Worthies and the Glorified. The line between Unworthy and Worthy though is a little blurred; a score below M-200 certainly makes you Unworthy but many Glorified might see anyone lower than their M-500 mark as Unworthy. However, what we don't in Divergent, I feel, is more of the tiny details that are a direct result of their societal structure. We do get that in 1984. For example, the chocolate ration that limits citizens from experiencing 'pleasure' food; when we see Winston have more chocolate than his allowed takings, we understand the power of The Party over people's choice to experience such things. Through chocolate. There's a similar idea in Sun of Endless Days where buying highly saturated or sugary foods like chocolate deduct points from citizens. The idea being that eating unhealthy items will negatively affect their productivity. So this novel has a similar societal structure to Divergent but offers readers deeper detail like 1984.

Dystopian hope meets dystopian despair

Like many young adult dystopias, Tris in Divergent is presented as the figure of hope for her depressing world. If you've got to the end of 1984, there is little hope for the characters, that's for sure. I like to think Sun of Endless Days (combined with the later books in the series) offers something of both. In Divergent, while the ending doesn't change society in the first book, the character development of Tris herself becomes a symbol of hope for the story to continue. In 1984, the ending is harrowing and chilling (but no spoilers here). For those who have already read Sun of Endless Days, you may feel it falls more into the 'harrowing and chilling' camp. That may be so for this first book, but my overall feeling towards the series is that Divergent-like hope.

So, there we have it. The reasons why I believe Sun of Endless Days is a baby of these two other dystopian books.

What now? Well, Sun of Endless Days is out now. So go ahead and grab a copy!

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