14 January 2013

Divergent (Veronica Roth)

Note: This is an audiobook, narrated by Emma Galvin (www.audible.com)

Holy moly. Veronica Roth is only 22. Divergent’s her first book. Wow.

I’ll admit that the timing is superb. Just as 2010/2011 were the years of vampire fiction, 2011/2012 were dedicated largely to dystopian fiction – where people live in a totalitarian or environmentally degraded environment.

Against the backdrop of global hysteria about Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games Trilogy, young adult author Veronica Roth wrote Divergent: a story about a young girl living in a society saved from the brink of apocalypse.

In short, humanity has organised itself into five factions, each of which lives by a single core value: Abnegation (the Selfless); Erudite (the Intelligent); Candor (the Honest); Amity (the Peaceful); and Dauntless (the Brave).

Born into a staunchly Abnegation family, Beatrice Prior has tried to uphold the ideals of her parents – which go against her natural inclinations. Then, on her 16th birthday, she takes an aptitude test to determine which faction she is most suited for. And it is revealed to her, in secret, that she is one of a very rare and dangerous subset of the population – Divergent – because she possesses the traits of not one but three factions. (You’ll see which ones.)

For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is, so she makes a choice that surprises everyone. During the highly competitive initiation that follows, she struggles to determine who her friends really are and discovers a conflict that threatens to unravel her society.
This magnificently written book is also superbly narrated by Emma Galvin, who is able to sound youthful, old, female, male, happy and sad – depending on the relevant point of view. I am loving every minute of listening to it.

Disclaimer: I'm known for my default skepticism when it comes to fantasy/sci-fi. But... This book is that good. Promise.

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