I've recently developed from focusing on fantasy romances towards epic fantasy/scifi. I love time travel, magic, and anything supernatural.
The performance and some aspects of the writing has stopped me from continuing on in the series. The narrator barely changed her tone or voice among different characters and situations. While I'm used to narrators such as Jim Dale, Daniel Weyman, Roy Dotrice, and Ray Porter, who have totally different tones, accents, and actually 'act' out the 'scenes' in books, it was hard to complete this listen. Which was sad, as this story had such great potential. She missed many great opportunities to really show emotion.
The author apparently has a thing against contractions, and can be extremely bland sometimes.
Other than those things, which many people can look past, the idea behind the story is great, and it is worth a read/listen.
At first, I was put off by the narrator's continually mispronouncing Erudite Every time I got into the story, I'd hear Air-ee-oh-dite and get jerked out again . And the simplistic writing - mostly present tense. "I look here," "I do this," "He sees that," etc. was off-putting at first. But I was won over after a while by the characters and the suspenseful plot and found myself wanting to continue to listen. I think the author was influenced by the Hunger Games. A dystopian society that uses its young for dark purposes, and a high level of violence. I wonder where we are going with so much violence for the young people. Or for anyone for that matter - it just keeps getting more intense.
Divergent is a decent, trashy read, but I feel it aspires to be something more. To be fair, some of the ideas are lovely - the personality caste system is interesting - but Roth hasn't built the idea or the world into anything that delivers on this promise at all. The worldbuilding and imagined social systems are so unrobust in their creation that they don;' stand up to the tiniest prod of critical thought. The twists and turns of the novel rely on the reader not finding it immediately obvious how fundamentally stupid the system described is from the first page. The caste idea is interesting but it needed a lot more thought behind it before it was ready to convince in a novel. For contrast Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games dytopia is perhaps no more plausible a world than this, but she fills it with enough convincing detail that it feels solid and real. Roth would need to spend a lot more time fleshing out her world with texture and particularity before it became anything like as compelling.
Adrift in this poorly constructed environment, the central character of Tris fails to really engage as her struggles are as stupid as the world they result from. It would be easier to care about her dilemma between becoming Abnegation or Dauntless or whatever if there was a feeling that the system this was part of made any kind of sense to begin with and wasn't merely being set up to be torn down over the course of the book(s). She also suffers first-person-Katniss-angst, where - because we are in her head - we get to hear endlessly about her anguished feelings on every subject. First-person angst is a big turn-off, and Tris doesn't have Katniss's compensating dry humour or practical competence. Her personality is vaguely defined, Roth making a very common mistake amongst young writers that angst is the same thing as character. Tris' exploits were often interesting, but without a firm grasp on what kind of person she was, what came naturally to her and what she had to work at etc, it was impossible to really feel moved by anything she did. She seemed to act at random. That I didn't completely hate her is about the highest compliment I can muster. Divergent is a perfectly good listen - it's pacey enough to keep you going through (though I'd advise an abridged version, with any luck a lot of the fat is trimmed). If you're on a post-apocalyptic dystopia kick, and don't feel like anything remotely challenging, this is fine. I always enjoy a story with a bit of a warrior training narrative (but if you want a series where that is done well, check out Tamora Pierce's Alanna or Kel books).
The performance is fine - not monotonous, and the reader actually sounds young (unlike the narrator of the Hunger Games audio books). My one point of confusion was her pronunciation of Erudite, which she pronounces eh-ee-ah-dite. But perhaps this is some valid variant pronunciation of which I was not previously aware.
"My test of a good book is dreading to begin the last chapter." - Thomas Helm
Someone post a review stating "If you like The Hunger Games you'll like these books." I was unsure but he was right. It's not simply a regurgitated verson of the same story, it's a completely different story w/NO love triangle! Thank you. I still rate the Hunger Games as my favorite book triligoy, as well as book made to movie. We'll see what happens once Divergent is out in Nov. I'm looking forward to it.
I'm not a YA even though this book is in the YA catagory. Both of my teenage boys have read the first 2 books because I enjoyed it so much. I also have my sister and niece reading it as well. You won't be disappointed.
Four! why because he reminds me of me lol?
Well the preformed perfectly as Tris the main character
Divergent when you will wake up?
This book was so good I only got the the audible version because it was that good
I prefer audio book because I don't have time to read.
I'm going to try the second book
I was in the middle of the road the whole time. I think Beatrice / Trice was too. Horrible things happen in front of her but does not show much emotion, even when she is shot.
One thing I don't understand is why being Divergent has a bad stigma in the book. Everyone who finds out shes Divergent tell her not to let anyone know because its dangerous and other Divergent people have disappeared. Why? It's never explained why Divergent people are so special. They can tell when they are in a simulation but that's only dangerous to the secret bad guys. No one should care but them.
Love, love, love Emma Galvin! She could make a cereal box interesting, but this time she has had great material written by Veronica Roth. Witty, interesting, and fun, I couldn't stop listening.
Pop Culture Duchess
No, only because I'm a one-read kind of gal.
The main character is realistically complex and flawed.
I've spent my entire life around the written word - writing it, editing it, teaching it. So, it's no wonder I also love to read it!
Why, yes, it is! Somewhat similar to The Hunger Games in that young people are trained to be superior physical beings and often must fight each other for supremacy, the first book in this trilogy spends much of its time on the training regimen facing Tris, an "initiate" into the "Dauntless" faction. In Roth's world, humans are split into five different factions, according to aptitude tests they take when they're sixteen. At the "Choosing" ceremony, they may select whatever faction they want. Tris' tests show her to be "divergent," meaning she has several different factions to her personality. Born into "Abnegation," the selfless faction that now runs the government, she opts to leave them and become a Dauntless.
The Dauntless are just that and training is not the easiest for the initiates. Tris finds comfort in friendships with some other initiates and finds herself bullied by others. She also experiences love for the first time in the person of Four, the training master of Dauntless.
But, what is all this training for? Tris soon finds out when she happens upon a plot betwen the "Erudite" faction and the Dauntless. Will she be able to stop it?
I will listen to NO boring book. Old Fav's,Card, King , Hobb. New Fav's, Hill, Scalzi, Sawyer, Interested in Lansdale, Crouch, Konrath
HASTE WILL NOT HELP
I don't need to review this as so many already have, but for those who care what I think, this is a very good book. It of course is a teen book and it reads like one. As a 54 year old man I liked it, but believe teens would like it even more. Unlike some authors who believe writing for a younger audience means writing with less skill, Roth writes a very intelligent novel. I liked Ness's Chaos series better and Hunger Games a little better, but this is still a five star read. I liked the main character a lot. She is not a beautiful girl, but she does not sit around and cry about it. In most situations, she may doubt herself at first, but she most always, gets her sh#t together and faces down the fear. In this way it is an upbeat story. I believe it teaches teens and even us old people, that you have to face your fears, it is not one of those good things happen to those who wait for it to happen. This is one of the most important lessons, especially for our young, in my opinion. The books is predictable in spots, but there is plenty that happens that I did not see coming, especially toward the end. There is also stuff here on brainwashing, another important subject.
POLITENESS IS DECEPTION IN PRETTY PACKAGING
The only thing that bothered me a little and only a little, was the premiss that a population would purposely divide into factions. They claim they did it to help prevent war. I believe that most intelligent people would do exactly the opposite. Dividing into factions would naturally lead to war. That aside this is a really good book and I am looking forward to reading the sequels.