Monday, September 3, 2012

Divergent by Veronica Roth (Audiobook Review)

Audiobook Reviews from Audiobook-Heaven

by Veronica Roth
narrated by Emma Galvin

Series: Divergent, book 1
Copyright: 2011 Harper Audio
Duration: 11 hours 11 minutes unabridged
Genres: young adult, dystopia
Filed in: Audiobook Reviews
Click the image to visit the publisher’s website.

PUBLISHER’S SUMMARY: 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.

©2011 Veronica Roth (P)2011 HarperCollins Publishers

AUDIOBOOK REVIEW: In Veronica Roth’s dystopian Chicago, everyone is divided into five categories, or factions. Each faction cultivates certain traits or characteristics in its members, and each faction serves a specific function in society. Factions are everything and it is not uncommon to hear the phrase “Faction before blood.” At the age of sixteen, every person must choose which faction they will spend the rest of their lives in. And they must choose wisely because if they don’t pass the initiation of their chosen faction, they will become factionless; outcasts of society.

Beatrice grew up in the Abnegation faction, the selfless. The way Veronica Roth describes them, the Abnegation are almost like the Amish. They wear plain clothing and they are soft-spoken. They are not even allowed to have mirrors because looking in a mirror is considered self-serving. Beatrice always chafed in this environment and never really felt that she belonged, so when she turned 16 she chose to change factions and become a Dauntless, the courageous. Being Dauntless goes against everything Tris ever knew. The Dauntless are trained to fight; to protect not only others but themselves. It’s a bit of a culture shock for Tris, but at the same time she seems to fit right in. This is where she belongs.

But it’s not all milk and honey for Tris, if it was Divergent wouldn’t have been the fantastic story that it is. For one thing, Tris changed factions. This puts her at odds with her family, and also with many of the Dauntless members. Even though she clearly belongs in Dauntless, she will have to prove herself before she is truly accepted. But does she want to be accepted? Dauntless is not all Tris had hoped it would be. Within this faction there seem to be sub-factions and the competition can be fierce and even deadly at times. Yes, for a while Tris doesn’t really know what she is or where she belongs, but in the end her true nature comes forth and she declares, ”I am not Abnegation. I am not Dauntless. I am Divergent, and I can’t be controlled.

Divergent really is an amazingly well written book. Veronica Roth’s society is well-ordered and in a way I like the idea of people getting jobs based on their personalities. But then again, Roth shows us the dangers of trying to categorize people. Putting the selfless Abnegations in charge of the city is a good idea, until other factions begin to grow jealous of the power they hold. Putting all the courageous Dauntless together was good, until their forceful natures began to clash with one another. In Roth’s future, it is the Divergent who is the hero; the one who doesn’t really belong in any one group. We all have certain talents and abilities, and it’s important to use those talents, but we can’t just focus on one ability and ignore the rest. What makes us useful and unique is our own special blend of traits. Divergent is about courage: the courage to be yourself, the courage to do what’s right, and the courage to stand up and make a difference.

Divergent is the second Emma Galvin narration I have listened to. The first one was The Probability of Miracles and Galvin immediately became one of my favorites. After hearing her for a second time her place as one of my favorites has only solidified. I just love the way she reads although I find it difficult to quantify that. Her style is just very natural; very human if you will. She uses the right tone and inflection all the time.

Divergent is one of my favorite books of the year so far. I can’t wait to get the next in the series, Insurgent not only to see how the story goes on, but also to hear more of Emma Galvin’s great narration.

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Special thanks to Harper Audio for this review copy.
Audiobook review by Steven Brandt.
This audiobook review is based on the unabridged audiobook.
Come back soon for more audiobook reviews from Audiobook-Heaven.

1 comment:

SacredmOOn said...

I've read this series in hardback. I loved it! It is also one of my favorites this year. I would love to hear it in audio though. Wonderful review!
DeAnna Schultz