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March 29, 2012 / Leslie

Review – Audiobook: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Divergent
by Veronica Roth
Narrated by Emma Galvin

Genre: YA, Dystopia, Science Fiction
Publisher: Harper Audio
Publish Date: May 3, 2011
Format: Audio, 11 hours | 11 minutes
Listenability: Easy
Rating: 4 of 5

Beatrice Prior lives in a dystopian version of what was once Chicago. Now society is divided into factions with members of each group representing a virtue: Candor (honest), Abnegation (selfless), Dauntless (brave), Amity (peaceful), and Erudite (intelligent).

At age 16 each individual will choose which of the factions they wish to join. After testing and evaluation their choice is announced at a ceremony. Most teenagers stay with their families in the faction they are born into. Some will switch factions and sever ties with their family and friends, as they will be viewed as traitors. But for a few of the teens the test results are inconclusive, it is not clear to which faction they belong, they are Divergent. Beatrice is now 16 and she has a difficult decision to make for her test scores are inconclusive, making her Divergent.

Needing another book for the Magical March Challenge and fresh out of the dystopian world of The Hunger Games, I picked up the audio of Divergent as my next read. After seeing more than a few great reviews of this book my expectations may have been too high.

Did I like the book? Yes, yes, I did! I enjoyed the plot, the adventure, the characters and the writing. The was even an unexpected but tender romance. I listened to it over the course of only three days. At eleven hours long, I can safely say it was a compelling story.

What I didn’t like is what I felt was missing. While the story was great, the world building left a little to be desired. There was an incompleteness for me. The novel is set in Chicago, and there are some Chicago references, but it’s never clear how large an area the factions cover or what happened to the rest of the former North American continent. Is Chicago the only city left? What made the survivors think that forming factions would be a solution? And a solution to exactly what? I wanted more background, but that’s probably because I’ve read a lot of science fiction and have come to expect answers or at least hints. The world itself is always a big part of the story for me.

The audio was very nicely performed by Emma Galvin. Her narration was well-paced through the many action scenes as she seamlessly switched from Tris to the secondary characters, and from male to female. Overall, a very easy to listen to audio production.

Even though I wasn’t thrilled with the lack of world building, it won’t stop me from recommending the book. The story itself was fun and I will be reading the next book in the series, Insurgent.

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Source: Public library
© 2012 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.

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10 Comments

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  1. BermudaOnion / Mar 29 2012 2:12 pm

    Sometimes too much world building overwhelms me so I might really enjoy this one.

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    • Leslie / Mar 30 2012 8:24 am

      I know exactly what you mean. When I need a map of the new world and can’t even pronounce the names of the cities, I get more than a little disoriented. I liked that the author included reference points from Chicago.

      Like

  2. Suko / Mar 29 2012 5:21 pm

    Excellent review, Leslie! Sorry this left you with a sense that something was missing, that it was not quite complete. On a different note, wouldn’t it be fun to narrate an audio book?!

    Like

    • Leslie / Mar 30 2012 8:20 am

      It would be great fun if I had a voice anyone would want to listen to for hours at a time!

      Like

  3. Leeswammes / Mar 30 2012 6:43 am

    Good to hear you like this. I think I want to read this too. What I like about dystopian novels IS the world building so it’s a pity that wasn’t so great. I found this the case for instance with When She Woke by Hillary Jordan, although, just like you say here, the book itself was a good read.

    Like

    • Leslie / Mar 30 2012 8:20 am

      I’m hoping the author expands on that in future books. Or perhaps she is planning a prequel. But whatever, I liked the writing and the story enough to continue reading.

      Like

  4. reviewsbylola / Mar 31 2012 7:09 pm

    I loved this one! I didn’t have much of an issue with the world building, or lack thereof. Like Kathy, it is easy for me to be overwhelmed, so this was the perfect balance for me.

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  5. I actually didn’t mind the lack of world-building when listening to this one, not sure why, I don’t think I even questioned it, which is a little unusual for me. Sometimes I want to know why the world is the way it now is in a story, but I was cool with it for Divergent. The narrator was fantastic as well! Great story, and I can’t wait for Insurgent.

    Like

    • Leslie / Apr 16 2012 2:53 pm

      Sometimes the lack of world building doesn’t bother me, but because I live near Chicago, I wanted to know what happened to my city. When my questions went unanswered, I kept thinking about it. I’m looking forward to the next book too. Maybe my questions will be answered.

      Like

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  1. 2012 Reading Challenge Wrap-Up « Under My Apple Tree

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