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.
This is going to be a rather short review because, well frankly, I just didn't care for this book. I know I am one of the few voices of dissent because most of the reviews I've read about this book have been glowing (though Clockwork Reverie wrote a well-thought out, amusing review on the side of dissent too).
Many people have compared this book to The Hunger Games, and while there are certainly similar elements, it doesn't come close to creating the magic of the dystopian world that Suzanne Collins created. The violence in The Hunger Games felt justified because it was forced upon them by The Capitol. And in the end, (HG SPOILER ALERT) the main character finds a way to "stick it to the man" so to speak. In Divergent, however, the violence felt senseless and gratuitous. I never really quite understood the purpose of all the "tests" the Dauntless had to go through and never really got a sense as to who the enemy was. It became a bit more clear by the end, but the antagonizing force in this novel was much more ambiguous than in other dystopias I've read and enjoyed.
As far as the audiobook production, I think that is what kept me from abandoning the book. Emma Galvin was the narrator and she did a superb job of interpreting the grave tone of the story, and yet despite the graveness, she still had a pleasant timbre to her voice that made me want to keep listening.
Despite enjoying the audio production, the story did not engage me enough to continue on with the series.
But here are some others who will because they loved the book so much:
Good Books and Good Wine
The Story Siren
Divergent by Veronica Roth, narrated by Emma Galvin
Published: May 2011
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books and Harper Audio
Audiobook Length: 11 hours, 11 minutes
Audience: Young Adult
Source: acquired from publisher