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)
Seeing all the flowing reviews I decide to give this a try. While the story was interesting enough to keep my attention most of the way, I felt that Tris and her relationship with Four was a bit juvenile. And the dialogue being laughable at times. But I will probably keep reading on to the next book hoping that it will get better, because there is potential here.
I thought this book was very interesting, slow at first, but had to keep listening at the end.
after it got started then yes.
One of the reviews of this story said it was a cross between Enders Game and The Hunger Games. That is so true. This is the tale of a teenage girl in a world where all people try to become accepted by a "faction" (or end out as the dreaded factionless). It is well written with a good main character trying to make the cut as "Dauntless" in the elaborate initiation rites. As a middle aged adult, this felt a little too familiar to me. I also felt that very few of the characters came alive outside of Tris, the heroine of the story. Still, the world and story were interesting enough for me to stay with it, and I did enjoy much of the novel. I think this might be better received by younger readers, as my 20 year-old son and many of my high school students loved this. I liked the mystery of trying to figure out what was behind the political system and intrigue. The reader was great.
The Hunger Games and Harry Potter series
Her voice personifies Tris to perfection.
I just loved listening .
An exciting narrative, a great premise and an excellent narration. Highly recommend it!
I spend 90+ minutes a day in my car, Audible makes it enjoyable regardless of what's happening in traffic. My taste varies from endurance fitness to economics and from to combat stories and romance novels.
I'll admit, I wouldn't have even thought about picking this book a year ago before I read The Hunger Games, but I enjoyed that series so much I decided to give myself a little more latitude in my selections and be open to other genres. So in reading this book I had a pretty high bar to compare it to, rating the Hunger Games as a solid 5/5. And while I've heard a movie deal is in the works, I won't be completing the trilogy and I'll be waiting for the movie to see how the story ends.
The strengths--Interesting story line, develops fairly logically, easy to get into the idea (a dystopian Chicago of the future), and lead character is likable.
The weaknesses--I really wanted a lot more from this story than the author could deliver. While some characters are richly developed, others shut me down as their multi-dimensionality is unrealistic and hard to believe. The author's scene descriptions aren't vivid enough for me and don't have the depth and texture I need to be drawn in to the setting. The descriptions of pain and challenge by the lead character didn't work for me. I wish I could do a better job pulling up examples, but I can't; I can just say that I was disappointed in the writing around how she described the sensations and it kept me from really getting sucked in. I need more texture.
For background, my favorite authors are George R. R. Martin, Robin Hobb, Jacqueline Carey, Ken Follett, Bernard Cornwell, Kevin Hearne, Jim Butcher and Margaret George.
Yes, it was an interesting listen that left you wanting to know more.
I would put it in the same category as Hunger Games because it is a futuristic take on what happens after society has been re-envisioned after some disaster or another.
Her voice was not distracting and kept me easily in the story.
Yes it was but obviously I did not.
I enjoyed the story just as much as I liked Hunger Games.
Dystopian, teenage angst
Yes. Ordered the next in the series as I like to read an entire series.
Good for teens that have more worldly experiences and mature mindset.
Divergent is in the top 25 of my audio reads.
Four was my favorite character. I liked his take-charge attitude.
Voice was not strong enough for this story.
My three words will be, OMG!
All the scenes with the mind control simulations. They were so intense, I could not tell if what they were seeing was real or not. How much can the "divergent" control the simulations.
All of it. I can tell who was talking before they were mentioned.
What's your faction?
The reader was wonderful.
The story was interesting and kept me hooked.
She brings the character alive. She had the perfect voice for the story.
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