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)
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.
I had read very positive reviews before purchasing and therefore expected an engaging, exciting listen. I was quite disappointed.
The characters were one-dimensional, the story predicable, and the narration exaggerated. As I continued through the book, I had fruitlessly hoped that it would get better. I usually like there to be a bit of suspense, unraveling of plot, and opportunity for me to make connections and draw conclusions. There was no room for that in this book - everything was spelled out very, very neatly. It lacked creativity and really missed the mark for me.
My advice: if you generally enjoy Y/A books, I encourage you to try "The Bone Season". I may give Veronica Roth another chance, but I will not be trying another from her Divergent series.
Keeps you interested as it brings you along. No lagging sections
I listen to books in the car. The better the book the less I mind driving. I was troubled I had to stop when I reached my destination after 4 hours of driving.
No, story pulled me along out of curiosity of what would happen next so, I don't think I'd have the interest to listen to it again now that I know.
Fast paced and not always predictable.
They did make it a film.
Definitely for the young teenager, me being a little older I was a bit annoyed by the love connection it felt very high school to me.
heck yes, and I don't usually reread anything ever, it sucked me in and left me wanting to go through it again and again
it captivated me the author did an amazing job making the characters not only real but like I actually knew them
no I have not, though I hope to in the future as in I hope the next book is as captivating as the first
ye I laughed and cried and enjoyed every moment of it
Far too much of this novel focused on the budding romance and sexuality of the heroes. Kiddy romance was too much.
The construct of the novel is interesting. The focus on only two of the groups minimized the influence of the others.
The 16-year-old sexual tension.
Without giving away too much of the story, Divergent is a story about a remarkable girl, who doesn’t really fit in to the family and environment where she is raised. Then comes the test that will offer her a new life. Of course this takes place in a dystopia where everything is not as it seems. Some of her fellow classmate become her enemies, and people you’d expect to be her enemies become her friends and allies. Adventure ensues, until the end which sets you up for more books.
It feels like the author is reaching desperately for Harry Potter, Enders Game, or the Hunger Games but falls short. There are moments in the book where I did get carried away with the story, but unfortunately they are not frequent or enduring enough to sustain the grandness that the author strives for. She has only a few sentences that hint a larger, darker and more troubling story to be told, but I don’t feel she gets to it. Perhaps she is leaving for the next books, but I won’t ever know because I don’t plan on reading them.
I will say the book is entertaining and I didn’t have to struggle to finish it, but I wasn’t finding excuses to drive a little further or run an extra mile just to find out what is next.
The story has a very strong female character with a little bit of romance for women that are into science fiction. I enjoyed the story and look forward to starting on the second one.
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