Author: Veronica Roth
Format: Unabridged Audiobook
Performed by: Emma Galvin
Length: 11 hrs and 11 mins
Audible Release Date: May 3rd 2011
Publisher: Harper Audio
Taken from Goodreads.
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her. Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.
Oh hush. Yes, I know it's another dystopian novel but damn it I'm a fan!
Firstly, I feel I should point out (to those of you who never read the details above) that I enjoyed this story as an unabridged audiobook from Audible. If you're one of those people who thinks they wouldn't like audiobooks but has never tried them, get yourself to Audible and sign up. It's not pricey and it makes ever second that you spend driving, cleaning, doing your hair, walking the dog so much more enjoyable!
Okay, back to the business at hand. Emma Galvin does a terrific job with her narration. She has the kind of voice that brings a story to life without overdoing the melodrama. I was absorbed from the get-go. A DTB (dead-tree-book) must survive only on the merits of the author's skill. An audiobook, however, can be killed quite easily by a poor narrator, no matter how beautiful the words they read. With Veronica Roth's wonderful writing and Emma Galvin's perfect performance, Divergent is a brilliant book!
The first person protagonist, Tris, is a conflicted character. She doesn't quite fit in to any of the five factions of society and is instead labelled as "Divergent": a dangerous thing to be. She feels that she doesn't quite live up to anyone's expectations, least of all those of her selfless family. Divergent is largely a book about a girl trying to find out where she belongs and how she fits in in a world where society is divided.
There is political struggle, indoctrination, and the idea that a uniform mass can be controlled if they aren't allowed the freedom to think outside the box in which they have been contained.
Another aspect of the book which I loved was the romance between Tris and Four. Theirs is a relationship based on equality and mutual admiration. They both have their weaknesses but they find solidarity in allowing their strengths (which would not be seen as admirable in their faction) to shine in each other's company. There is fire between these two characters, but the story doesn't get bogged down in their relationship. If it did, I might not have liked it as much because that would have been too predictable.
Listening to/reading this book will make you wonder where your own strengths lie, and it will make you want to be brave, kind, selfless, smart and honest in equal measures. It will make you want to be divergent.
... ...it will also make you want to jump out of a moving train just for the sheer thrill of it! However, while that joy remain's out of reach for most of us, the much safer thrill of reading this book is within arms reach.