It is a very rare thing to witness the beginning of a writer’s career and know without a doubt that the first little book is going to launch a worldwide craze, a la J.K. Rowling or Stephenie Meyer. Such is the terrifying yet enviable position of Veronica Roth, who sold this debut novel to a HarperCollins imprint before she even finished college. She also sold the film rights to Summit Entertainment, owner of the Twilight film saga, on the strength of pre-publication buzz alone. The first in a planned series, Divergent is beyond question the best thing to happen to young adult literature in a very long time. More realistic than Harry Potter and less moony-eyed than Twilight, Roth has crafted a world and a protagonist that are easily engrossing and definitely worthy of our long-term attention.
Part of the credit for such charm belongs to narrator Emma Galvin, herself somewhat a newcomer. The young upstart has already garnered praise for her interpretations of Winter’s Bone, the first book spin-off from the Glee television series, and Stephenie Meyer’s recent novella. Galvin is genuinely edgy and emotive, not a trace of sugar to be found in the dialogue or her rendering of it. She captures the bold but conflicted spirit of the main character, Tris, with convincing personality and a real sensibility for the fast-pacing learning curve into which Tris launches the year she turns 16. After being raised in a clan whose primary characteristic is its devotion to selflessness, Tris defects, choosing a life of bravery from among the five factions that comprise her dystopic Chicago. She must pledge the faction, and go through several rounds of training eliminations before becoming a true Dauntless.
Tris is a complex, down-to-earth character with a lot of soul searching to do in a clan where hobbies include jumping from moving trains and tossing knives at small objects resting on the heads of friends, and there are no second chances. Veronica Roth has built a remarkable situation with strong potential for a longevity that will remain fresher than the sum of its parts, and Emma Galvin has this bull of a new series firmly by the horns. This book is confidently going places far beyond the fanatical mindlessness of young adult marketing, and in a hot minute, grownups will not have to feel one iota of shame for having fallen in love with it alongside their less discerning teenagers. Megan Volpert
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
"Though Galvin’s narration is concentrated on giving Tris the perfect voice, she never neglects the secondary characters. Poignant moments with Tris’s mother and Four, her leader and love, are subtly nuanced to let listeners hear the terror Tris often hides.... listeners will hold their breath waiting to see if she can survive the day." (AudioFile)
This showed up on "best of the year" lists on Goodreads and Audible, and I'd heard a lot of good buzz about it, but I was very disappointed. The reader is part of the problem, I think, but also the romance, politics, and action all feel really shallow and the plot has more holes than Swiss cheese. There are some exciting bits, and the overall message -- dare to be different, think outside the box -- is good, but it's oh so heavy-handed. I guess it's trying to be a successor to the Hunger Games, but I think it's probably more like Twilight. If you're desperate for more books in that vein, you'll probably like Divergent, but if you prefer your sci-fi to make sense and have a bit of subtlety, I would recommend skipping it.
Incidentally, I *assume* the author is not trying to make a statement that intellectuals are the enemy, but then again she might be.
Short, Simple, No Spoilers
The world is divided into personality-type factions and at age 16, Triss must choose to stay in her family's sector, or venture on her own path. Action-centered drama unfolds with teen love story and fight to save the world. Not as good as the Hunger Games, but better than "Matched," by Condie.
Narrator, Emma Galvin is fantastic. Sounds 16, has confident, strong voice and nice inflection with changing tone.
In Comparison with other Dystopian YA Novels:
Hunger Games: A
Divergent: B- (action)
Matched: C- (girly)
The Giver: D (creepy)
Um, yeah. This is just not a good book. It's fairly clear that the author just thought she could rehash bits of Hunger Games (post apocalyptic U.S. focused on kids suffering through a dystopian world) and Harry Potter (different houses with different reputations/skills). Not only does the author fail to do a good job in creating something new and interesting, but the writing is mediocre leaving the listener waiting for a reason to keep listening. In the end, I decided to just stop listening and give this one up.
I wouldn't read another one of them or even finish this one. Hope the movie is better
Maybe with a different performer
She sounded like a snotty know it all 14 year old. I couldn't liste
Disappointment. It's so much like Hunger Games, but far less creative. I trusted the hunddreds of great reviews, but even the premise was immature and not thought through.
The story just wasn't that believable. There was no back story to explain how society ended up how is does, nor could I believe human beings would actually accept the situation. The characters seemed a little shallow, just a touch cliche, but they were much better than the story.
I should have listened to the preview, then I would have not purchased this book. I am just not a fan of 1st person stories, much less 1st person stories told from the point of view of a 16 year old girl.
Someone who enjoys a plot and storyline involving a good deal of violence, anger and unpleasant subject matter...nothing genuinely uplifting here.
Overall story too depressing and very few redeeming qualities in the story and characters.
Slightly raspy...definitely her narrating emphasized and heightened the negative, unpleasant and angry qualities of this story, the protagonist and many of the characters...so it was true to the nature of the story, I suppose.
Hopelessness, Irritation, etc
I continued and finished the entire audiobook hoping for more redeeming, hopeful elements to arise in the story. A few did occur, though I emphasize few. The idea and initial premise of the book sounded and was initially interesting, I just found the book to be a downer for the vast majority of the story. This book certainly appeals to quite a few people since there are many high scores in the reviews here...just not appealing to me. The story is demonstrating how this girl is finding herself and her place in a very disturbed world and I can see how the plot would capture and maintain the attention and fascination of many listeners...I simply prefer stories with more uplifting and positive qualities and messages. Unfortunately, I feel it was mostly a poor use of my time (and $) in listening...I kept hoping for it to improve and display more glimmers of hopefulness than actually occurred.
the story has a lot of potential with this very acute society she dipicted and the characters are moderetly developed, simple but easily identifible and a few of them are even wrought with the nipping moral dilemas that come with teenage and mid life agnst. OHHH the suspense! the dynamics of the story are so few to begin with, the thrill of the book is waiting for it to open up to limitless... comparitively limitless.. possiblities. no idea when tho
she could of weaved it into a story, that would of been nifty. It felt drawn out for dramitic pause, the tension and anxiety were almost painful...doesnt have the feel a master storyteller but more like chopped and screwed of twlight and hunger games. Im unfamiliar with the author so im hoping she carefully designed the story with some clever qips and foreshadowing and a few surprises for the reader not just a straight at you there are a few twist, lots of stick and small carrot
I'll try anything twice
It gave me another opportunity to try out listen to a book on x2 speed. Insurgent maybe x3
This is a weak story. The story line is fascinating, but the book never delivers. The characters are not well developed, way too one dimensional. The action is not plausible. Granted this is SF, but even then the reader must feel that this could really happen. Trish takes a bullet in the shoulder, and about the only problem it causes her is some pain as she continues to perform amazingly. Doesn't work that way.
Listen on dog walks, commutes and around the house. Welcome virtually any genre but southern fiction holds a special place in my heart.
I stumbled upon The Hunger Games trilogy last year, reluctantly read the first book despite the genre being one I generally don't tend towards but fell in love. It felt different and I was open to something different. I searched for recommendations on the next book to read and the lovers of The Hunger Games consistently recommended Divergent. They were right! I read it in less than a week and was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn't a regurgitation of The Hunger Games but something else fresh and new. I'm wondering if I'm now a true convert to this YA dystopian genre. Next up: Uglies.
The story was weak. I understood the basic premise, but I think the dystopian society created in this book was a little too far-fetched. The romance was lame. The suspense leading up to the reason "Four" was called "Four" was a big letdown. By the end of the book, I had no desire to read the next of the series.
Aside from my disapointment in the book, I thought Emma Galvin's performance was very good. She may be the reason I stuck with the story! She has a pleasing tone to her voice.
My teenage self probably would have LOVED it. The adult me craved more substance.
It's not fair to compare this book to The Hunger Games because there is no comparison. The Hunger Games is in a whole other league.
this book is in the top ten of the books I have listened to, it kept me mesmerised.
The trails that the young people have to go through to be accepted into their chosen faction.
Her voice was very easy to listen to and carried the novel along.
It did make me think about personality and how we think. There were one or two weepy moments.
Excellent read not to be dismissed as a younger book.
"Empowering, finding a place for yourself."
So you have to find the character trait that best suits you, I found it interesting to think where I would belong, but the idea of being stuck in one area and not being able to enjoy all the parts of our personality sounds so stifling.
Excellent book, it got me thinking!
"a long, long 11 hours..."
i had to listen to this so i could discuss the story with my son as part of his studies. i wish i had bought the book! the reader's voice was dreadfully monotonous and lacking in inflection. possibly a teenager (target audience) would have found her delivery absolutely fine and i'm just showing my age!
"Advice: fastforward until the end"
I suppose Harry Potter and the Hunger Games have upped the ante for teenage fiction. It's hard for an adult to pick up a book and not expect the same level of literary dexterity in other authors, so I tried to be patient when listening to this book. The task, however, was beyond me. This novel feels like it's written for teenagers- by a teenager. Essentially, there is no adventure: most of the obstacles the protagonist faces are fake- either in dreams or in simulations, a technique which drains the story of meaning.
The world of the story feels like it's only painted on a flimsy set design. The antagonists have no real dimension to them and the protagonist is simply dull. In that sense, she reminded me of Bella in the Twilight Saga ('Why do you like me, I'm so unpretty...' says she while everyone around her adores her).
The aim of this book seems to be to introduce the reader to the next one, and in so doing, the writer seems to have forgotten that a story needs to be better crafted, or it remains only a preface. Shame to the publisher who allows its writers to do that!
Surely there is better fiction out there for the young reader. If you're thinking of buying this book because you're looking for something in the same vein as the Hunger Game, keep searching. This ain't worth your time.
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