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)
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.
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.
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.
I'm an Audible editor, and I think this quote sums it up: "A voice is such a deep, personal reflection of character." - Daniel Day-Lewis
...…but way better than both. This book was recommended to me by a fellow editor shortly after I finished The Hunger Games series, and I was skeptical. Could I deal with another YA dystopian fiction? Will this teen protagonist waver and worry and be as clueless as the last one? As it turns out, I COULD deal with it, and our heroine, Tris, is one that I’d prefer to have on my side when the government finally takes over.
Apart from the obligatory love story (Yeah I know: it’s YA, I should have expected it), Divergent is a solid dystopian adventure story. There is a lot of action and violence, which keeps things interesting. Tris is generally a good person who sometimes lets her emotions take over, which strikes a good balance. My favorite thing about her is that when she sees a problem, she acts; she has a lot of courage, and she’s not afraid to put it on display.
The world they inhabit (a divided, worn-down Chicago of the future) is very interesting and well-drawn, though a lot is left mysterious, which I'm sure is all set-up for the remaining books in the trilogy. The narrator is good, but she could have been a bit more dynamic in terms of voicing different characters. I thought this was a great first entry in the series, and I’m looking forward to starting the sequel soon.
I love espionage, legal, and detective thrillers but listen to most genres. Very frequent reviews. No plot spoilers! Please excuse my typos!
There are over 50 teen and young adult novels in my Audible library as I share my second childhood with my grandchildren's first. I listen to what they read. I'll be 73 years old in a few weeks, but I really like the YA genre. In the case of Divergent, my 11 year old granddaughter is reading it. Somehow such books as Divergent and Hunger Games seem too old for her, but her parents make that decision.
Post-apocalyptic teen/YA novels like Divergent and Hunger Games are not very different from adult post-apocalyptic novels in that human society is struggling to recover and that recovery is highly dependent upon the actions of a few brave individuals who choose or are chosen to lead. Like Katniss in the Hunger Games trilogy, Tris in the Divergence trilogy is a teen girl of unusual determination,fortitude and bravery who is selected by circumstances to lead. Tris is a divergent who does not neatly fit into any of the five factions; indeed, she has characteristics of all five factions, as do we all. She is a person, an individual, who refuses to be recognized as anything or anyone other than herself. Tris lives in a dystopian time and place. She is not so much trying to turn the dystopia into utopia as attempting to change the situation into something that she can live in good conscience with.
The narration of this novel is superb.
I recommend Divergent to all who enjoy post-apocalyptic novels or who enjoyed the Hunger Games trilogy.
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.
Young Adult books nowadays usually leave me with a longing for more Harry Potter :). Suprisingly this one didn't. I really enjoyed it, and I will wait for the second one with eager antecipation. It's good to know that there are new writters with potential out there! It's light enough for your readers, the story is well thought, and the characters, specially the main ones, are likeable and believable. If you're looking for some light fiction, this might be it.
"One of my favourite dystopian works."
I love Divergent and have it in paperback, kindle e-book & Audible audiobook.
The writing is well developed and the story gripping. The characters are very easy to identify with and you find yourself wanting to learn more about them.
I know i am stating the obvious here but this is a Young Adult/Teen genre. It is light enough for the younger teens but deals with some very important social issues such as bullying, domestic violence,
As many people have said there are similarities to The Hunger Games, such as segmented society within a city, but they are their own stories.
Being the first part of a trilogy, this book sets the scene in this dystopian world and establishes the characters, political issues and power struggles from the outset.
The reader/listener is kept guessing throughout the story with just enough revealed to fill in the gaps and solidify the story by the end, but leaves enough questions to keep you guessing and wanting more.
This book is very well narrated by Emma Galvin, i think she would be suited to many other YA stories and if she had narrated the twilight audiobooks i would have bought them too.
"Potential that was never fulfulled"
This book had such wonderful reviews that I dared hope for a brilliant new series. Not a chance! The characters remained flat and unconvincing. The challenges they faced were not real but in simulations and dreams and these unreal experiences fell flat and sounded fake. I don't understand why the Dauntless faction was considered the brave, if all they ever did to prove their bravery is jump on trains, get tattoos and go through simulations and imaginary challenges.
All in all, even though the book had a couple of promising ideas, overall it sounded hollow and extremely disappointing. I will not be bothering with the second book of the series, despite the fact that many questions remained unanswered.
"Ends with the beginning"
Well, I must start by telling you that I'm probably one of the few who has NOT yet read the Hunger Games trilogy (I'm working on it...) Even so, I understand that there is quite a few similarities. A young girl trying to figure out Who she is. In doing so, finding hidden strengths (both physical and mental) within her which is good since she needs all of them in the initiation process she's going thru.
I listened to the novel vary well narrated by Emma Galvin and I listened as soon as I had a chance (in the car, walking the dog, cleaning the kitchen).
It is well written, the characters are plausible and easy to like (or hate). The main character Beatrice, later Tris, is someone you want to get to know and learn more about.
But, to me it seems that this, the first in a series of three, is very much an introduction to the rest. I don't know if I'm right, but there is something missing. There is a lot of questions you don't get answers to.
Why has the society changed into this very rigid form? What has happened to the world?
For me this lack of background made it difficult to understand and accept Tris'and the other initiates change and behaviour.
Non the less it's a good read. Love, hate, good, evil, morality.
I do hope to find some answers in the next book. I would have given it one more star if I've gotten some more answers from the start.
The story ends with the beginning...
Enjoyed listening to this daily. The narrator portrayed the characters and the told the story. I'm looking forward to insergant
Divergent is an original, clever story. Great characters and performed brilliantly by Emma Galvin.
My favourite character is Four. An intriguing individual with a great backstory.
Emma Galvin does a great job reading this. She gives a very believable performance and is very easy to listen to.
When Tris learns more about her mother's past and the dramatic climax ( no spoilers!).
"Stand aside here comes the DIVERGENT"
I have listened to better but listened to much much worse ... the fact taht the narrator is in a constant state of fear allertness terror means that you do not get a rest from this frantic drama. But She does a good job of making your heat thud.
The Hunger games is the same type of book and this is a compliment. Tris is not the same she is harder and less confident than Catness however the story is edgier in my opinion.
When Tris was saved from the other transfers by 4.
"Quite an enjoyable listen"
I was looking forward to reading this, the initial blurb seemed good, but at the end I felt a little disappointed. There are lots of unanswered questions, but I know there are two sequels to come which I assume will tie up these questions. However, the lack of any information about the history of Chicago, and how this society came to be this way, means that questions are continually popping into my head - for example, who are Dauntless protecting their society against?
Overall a good story, and reasonably well performed - Emma Galvin has a pleasing voice, though at times it was difficult to distinguish which of the characters were speaking initially. The characters were whole and rounded, Tris was brave and curious, Four moody and deep, and all the requisite baddies were in force.
What is a little disappointing though is for the continual presence of strong similarities between this and books such as The Hunger Games and The Host. Maybe most stories set in a dystopian future will have similar themes, that echo over and over again, but I would have appreciated some original twists to distinguish one from another.
"A great new writer to the fantasy pantheon"
I welcome her to the list of fantasy and science fiction writer that I really like. Robin Hobb, Orson Scott Card, George R.R. Martin and Diana Wynne Jones to name a few. The story is told in first person and we are given the perception of the protaganist to the strange surreal environment she finds herself in. We are all brought up in the belief systems of our families and Tris is no exception to this. The five faction construct is obviously just that, a strange construct. I was worried that this would be another Hunger Games pseudo reality story, but I was very pleased it did not turn out like this. The world is very like a computer game with real players and not avatars. I look forward to Veronica Roth honing her craft and producing more wonderful stories in the future.
"Excellent story, but average performance"
The story is imaginative and enthralling. A bit too much Mills and Boon at times but overall very good. Performance is not the best, difficult to distinguish between the different characters.
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