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)
Nothing that I can think of. I wanted to love it. I expected to love it. Alas, I hated it. I forced myself to finish it just hoping to reach the thing that would make me say "OH!!!" That never happened. The story didn't make sense to me. Hunger Games is a far superior book.
A friend who recommended this book has read the entire series and gave me spoilers. It seems to me that what happens in subsequent books make events in this one more understandable but I don't think I will read 3 books in order to like the first one. If I don't care about the characters in the first book that's it for me.
I am an adult reading this YA genre novel, but my rating is based on my personal opinion. I think if I were in high school, I would have enjoyed the book more. My tastes have just grown too much as an adult and kept wanting more depth in the story.
Again, as a YA book it was good, but had it been an adult novel instead, I would have enjoyed it more.
I have not listened to her other performances, but this one was very good. No complaints.
I did not enjoy the Hunger Games series either, however, I did enjoy this novel more. The story was more in-depth, the world more carefully crafted and described, and the dystopic themes a little more easily to relate to. I would recommend this book to any young reader and all readers who enjoyed The Hunger Games.
From a plotline, this book seems to be a ripoff of The Hunger Games, but it is not. Totally different story, different themes, different writing style. Nothing reminiscent of The Hunger Games as I read it.
Fun, quick read.
The pace of these books is fantastic. There is so much going on and it is never boring. What made the book for me was Emma's performance! Since losing my eyesight, I've listened to a dozen or so audiobooks. But this is the first time where I got really sucked in, and felt like listening to it was as good as reading it in print for myself!
I am a Hunger Games fan and this series may be even better than that one. Looking forward to the movie.
I like that these characters believe in something and are willing to work to make their world better. So many kids these days just expect to be given everything they want. They don't have any motivation. This story shows that no matter what age people are both good and bad and can make a difference in their world. I like that both Tris and Tobias believe in selflessness and that God was mentioned in the story.
The story will hook you and the narration is so perfectly suited it captures the reader completely. Very quickly into the reading, you will question what Faction YOU belong to.
Comparable to Hunger Games. Teenage girl against a corrupt government.
Emma Galvin is the perfect narrator for this book. Her voice is young, exactly what you expect for the heroine. Her emotions perfect - vulnerable, determined, brave, courageous, scared.
The story drew me in and kept me enthralled. Several chapters in, my son (13) walked in and got caught up in the story. I started it over and we listened together every evening after school and work. We both loved it, and waited anxiously for the second book to come out!
The characters we're believable and human, and well-described. The story line unfolded in a way that kept us waiting for more, and always wrapped up in the story. I love the dystopian city and the what-if feeling I got from it, as well as the what-happened?
Emma's voice annoyed me initially, and I continued listening in spite of her. However, as the story continued, she grew on me. Emma has a unique way of emphasizing words to make even the most boring sentence become interesting and full of life. I truly appreciate her nuanced reading now and will look for other books she narrates.
Absolutely! I had to force myself to sleep and anxiously waited for the next chance to listen!
I took a chance on this one, having never heard of the author or the book, and was ultimately rewarded with a fine performance and an engrossing book. I'm halfway through the third book in the series now, and can hardly wait for my next chance to listen!
Divergent is one of my Holiday pleasures and I enjoyed it! It allowed me to escape while I listened and I rank it as one of the better ones I listened to this year.
I do feel a similarity to the Hunger Games as it revolves around young people, is futuristic, and most the older people are evil or at least misinformed.
The reader was very interesting and had a clear concise voice that grabbed and kept my attention.
It was interesting enough to have listened to it in one sitting yet the length prevented that.
It was overall enjoyable for a fun and interesting Holiday read.
The narrator had little emotional range, relying on content alone for character development. Everybody spoke at the same pace and in the same limited set of attitudes. Sad.
Almost anybody. Alessandro Juliani does a better teenaged girls, with more complexity, at least, than Emma Galvin did. Sorry, Emma, but you have got to loosen up and dig a little deeper to get this reader to go near anything you narrate.
Come on, Audible. You know what good reading sounds like.
I have not read the print version, but the reading was well done, my only complaint was that her distinction between thoughts and spoken words (first person narrative) were a little unclear once in a while.
I'd say Divergent is similar to the Hunger Games series, similarly emotionally stunted/oblivious heroine with plenty of sexual tension (JUST DO IT ALREADY!) and a unique world-building universe
Having read a few YA books I can't say I was surprised when the story became predictable. There were moments when I was rooting for the main character. Although she was at odds with other characters, her survival skill were lacking. That just made her a putz. One or two times, ok, but all the time? Predictable.
On the whole the narrator was excellent. The story was climbed but never quite reached the top.
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