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)
It was a little too much Twilight and Catching Fire. A young girl, stronger than she thinks she is, can't believe the handsome boy(s) find her attractive, making bad choices which cause extra drama to those around her. (Let's not forget all those DRAMA conversations in her head)
All that said, I don't regret buying it and still enjoyed the plot and story-line. I was still trapped by the story and looked for breaks so I could listen some more. The next 2 seem to get the whole "teenage girl in trouble making bad choices" worse which just like Catching Fire I bought all 3 and listened anyway. Once I post this review I am planning on buying the next one. Yes I must be a glutton for punishment. :-D
The concept and story line were pretty good. I am much older than the typical audience for this series, so I had to try to enjoy it for what it was. It was very entertaining yet it had a considerable helping of "cheese." Yes, it was cheesy, but it was enjoyable.
The obvious comparison is Hunger Games, however this was like the dumed-down, cheap version.
Emma Galvin's performance was terrible. I think that my experience of the book would have been much better if I had read it, not listened. Her voice was practically monotone and her male voices were horrible. This made the audio book almost impossible to finish. Every time I listened my mind would wander off. She just couldn't keep me listening. I would have to go back and re-listen to her annoying narration just to figure out what was happening. I will NOT be going the audio book route for the rest of the series because of Emma Galvin's performance.
Started to enjoy listening to books after a far too long break from reading nothing but scientific books.
The way Emma Galvin performed the story and the way Veronica Roth put forth that story really made me enjoy it. Many thanks to both of them.
The Hunger Games, without a doubt there are many similarities in the books, but even so this is a great series that earns its audience.
I loved Emma Galvin's performance, especially for Beatrice. She made the book and the story come alive and I would much enjoy to listen to more of her narratives.
I actually started the book on a Friday and bought the second book in the series on Sunday, so not entirely in one sitting but almost.
First audible book I listen to and it really made me continue with all the books in both this series and others.
I am a person that tries and get through 1 book a week if possible. I am Dyslexic so this is really the only way I can get through a book. I have listened to more book in a year than I read my first 20 years of my life. I found the joy of audio books in the early 2000 and have been a audible customer since 2000 or 2001. I have over 490 books in 2 different accounts and listened to 90%.
Tris was my favorite but she should be everyone's favorite. Four was a close second.
I struggle with female readers for some reason, but Emma kept me stuck to the book the whole time. She did a great job.
Spoiler: Her mother giving up her life so she could live on. Very moving of how to be brave.
I felt I was taking a trip into the mind of a teenage girl. Premise and mystery of the story were awesome but it stayed too much in her mind instead of on the events at hand to keep me entertained.
This is a teen romance novel, wrapped in unsubstantiated science fiction. The story was terrible, the teen romance was creepy.
More adventure, less teen sexual tension. I don't want to read about how a teen girl feels when a boy's hand touches her belly!
The narrator did a good job and has the skill to perform both male and female voices.
The book is clean and didn't portray teens having sex. It is age-appropriate to a 12-15 year old girl.
This is a weak re-hash of the Twilight and Hunger series. All the same trite elements except the love triangle.
This was a great story somewhat like "The Hunger Games;" female protagonist, sci-fi dystopia. Although it is probably geared more toward my young adult daughters, it was something we all enjoyed. We need more books with courageous young heroines.
If you liked "The Hunger Games" trilogy, you might like this. However, I thought this was a little deeper in meaning and therefore more intriguing.
The narrator was well cast in terms of gender and age. However, her delivery was choppy and a little hard to get used to.
Emma had the perfect voice for this, in my opinion. I listened to this about three days before I saw the movie so I already knew the casting. In my head, Tris was Shailene Woodley and I felt the voice matcher her pretty well. It also helped set the mood throughout the whole book.
I wasn't expecting a whole lot out of this serious. I expected it to be another YA fad. But I really enjoyed it and can't wait to read the rest of the series.
The supporting characters and backstory are totally unbelievable. Young children might believe the setting, but if this book is for kids, why put in so much sexual tension?
Give me a reason to believe why the coming of age training of children is conducted by children. Is this fictional society so messed up that nobody with any maturity or common sense is involved in the childrearing?
The narrator was fantastic at portraying the protagonist.
It's got a follow-up book, whether I think it needs one or not.
The author has a laughably juvenile concept of how people - at any time, in any society - learn combat, strategy, and life skills. The beginning of the end for me was when the 16-year-old kids got hand-to-hand combat training that was essentially "OK novices, go beat the crap out of each other until one of you is unconscious". Come on! I just could not believe that Eric would ever be put in a position of power directing the training of children.
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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