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)
I finally went ahead and read this book because a 40-something man recommended it. Overall, I really enjoyed it and sped through the last half. My only complaint as an adult is the love scenes were annoying, but I can see that they might appeal to teenage girls. Without any spoilers, I'll just say that the very end was a little bit of a let down. It's almost as if the author was rushed to pull everything together, but there was a bit too much self sacrifice and not enough cool powers put to work. Oh well. Otherwise, the book was great, and I've add the sequel to my wish list.
Like many reviews have already stated, the narrator does an excellent job.
On the top shelf! One of the best I've listened to or read in a long while!
Four...love the variations and draw of him.
The carousel climb.
Audiobook Junkie... Love all types of Science Fiction
Divergent kept me entertained until the end, but probably could have used a better editing job. Divergent is about a society with five main classes of workers. At age 16, people are allowed to pick their area of craft that they want to be in for the rest of their life. "Faction before blood" becomes the motto that drive citizens to act and be a certain way. Often families and their generations stick to one trade and can not associate with other factions. Therefore, people who transfer to different factions can have it rough because they must face a different way of life that tends to be foreign to their own. Those of the warrior class (Dauntless) are brave and fearless, and act accordingly by jumping off buildings and onto trains for sport. Those of the Abnegation class are selfless. They live by the philosophy that they should give away what is in excess, and not fall for temptations. Those of Abnegation don't even look in the mirror because they do not wish to be vain. Now, if you do not pass the initiations tests to get into one of these factions you could end up faction less. This essentially forces one into poverty doing all the unwanted jobs for food. The principles behind the idea of a class system were originally meant to keep peace, but as we go along in this story we learn many of these ideals have been warped and there is corruption.
This story is told through the eyes of a 16 year girl named Beatrice. She has been tested and found to be divergent. We don't fully know what that means right away, but we come to understand that Beatrice may have an aptitude for several different classes. Children are forced into a tough decision at age sixteen that marks the course of the rest of their life. Beatrice comes from a Abnegation faction background, but never quite feels like she has fit that role. She must grow up and adapt quickly in her life if she is to survive and help solve a crisis that may plunge her city into a revolution.
Some issues I found with this book were from the female protagonist. She came off weak, irrational, and emotionally unstable at times. There was some teenage romance that made the story a little sappy at parts. From a males perspective it was hard to resonate with the character. I did appreciate that this wasn't one of those happily ever after fairy tales. There is viciousness, injustice, death and some room for character development. Life can be hard in this society and the corruption of moral values has made it so Beatrice must be extremely vigilant and smart about what she says and does if she expects to survive. The story could have progressed a little faster. Because of the pace I felt the ending was a little abrupt. The story shifts gears fast in the last hour, and we get a conclusion that, while solves the current dilemma, beckons for more.
Divergent is reminiscent of other dystopian literature. Hunger games showcases children who have to go through a selection process and fight to survive in harsh realities that are brought about by use of different caste systems. Aldus Huxley has the best dystopian world in his novel Brave New World. Divergent also incorporates technology as a method to control citizens. Although we don't have the drug Soma to help control the populous, there are other mind invasive attempts used to facilitate transfers of individuals into factions which they may be best suited. Some technology can even control the mind and bring out ones greatest fears.
Avid marathoner and hi tech market analyst. Lover of Ken Follett, Christopher Moore, Timothy Zahn and any book that pulls me in.
You can just see the execs at Harper Collins who gathered in search of the next Hunger Games crafting this one. Kids in peril, broken into sects (ala Harry Potter's Sorting Hat), pitted against each other (Hunger Games). This is very derived, by the book and predictable. Don't bother
Fresh, evocative, fun
It's probably a tie between Tris' mom and Four. Both have interesting backgrounds and add richness to the plot.
Emma Galvin is Tris in my mind now. I was going to give the audiobook a chance before I got a paper copy, but now I just want to hear the next book in her voice! She brings a lot to the narration.
The scene with Al and the chasm really affected me. I wasn't sure how "adult" the book was going to be but Roth addresses serious, darker topics with ease.
While painfully reading through The Hunger Games series I felt like I was being forced through a school reading assignment. Utopian society books with constantly depressing undertones like 1984 or Hunger Games just don't do it for me. Thankfully, this book is fun and the main character is strong and seems to be enjoying her journey most of the time. As far as Utopian society books go, this is by far the best I've ever read.
Utopia not perfect
The Hunder Games as it is similar teen novel with a fight to survive and find one self
Trish - the main character, good solid realistic person, far better than the irritating hunger games lead Katniss who could never make up her mind, Trish on the other hand may struggle in life but doesnt have the yoyo character of Katnis.
Life not as you know it - Phycological thriller.
I found listening to this book while Congress debates emigration reform an interesting experience. Roth's concept of segregating population by personality tendencies translates well into our history of religious intolerance, racial prejudice, gay bashing and emigration "self-deportation". The story moves quickly enough to keep one engaged and slowly enough to fuel thinking on all of the above mentioned real-time issues facing us. It is a story that walks the line between the fantasy of the future and our prejudicial history and is incredibly entertaining while doing it. More than once I sat in my garage, unwilling to stop the audio long enough to walk in the house and stick the ipod in the Bose! It also made me wish we had politicians with even a particle of the humanity and bravery of 16 year old Triss.
I have listened to several of books Emma has read, and she is great. I have to say this is my favorite however. Emma is capable of portraying hostility and tenderness or anger and fear all in the same scene, and be believable portraying them all.
Sure...only it is never a possibility, but waiting for the next "listen" is part of the fun.
I imagine this book is written for the same age group as Hunger Games...but I left that age so long ago, I only vaguely remember it (!)...but loved the book and am excited to read the next one. I hope someone is writing the screen play.
I can't help but to compare it to The Hunger Games trilogy, and I have to say that this is not even close. Of course the bar is very high, it doesn't mean this is a bad book. For some reason, it doesn't keep me engaged, I find my mind drifting off somewhere and when I pull myself back, I'm missing a chunk of the story, but I don't bother to rewind and find out. Of course this might be just my problem, as I find other books would do the same for me too. However, there are also some books that will keep me on my toes at all times, "Gone Girl", "14" and "The Hunger Games", to name a few. All in all, I can easily see one can enjoy this book very much, if you like this Si-Fi teen book genera.
Sure, lots of suspense and plenty of characters to get into.
Finding out what faction Mom comes from.
I really believe her as Tris.
Which Would You Choose?
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.
"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.
"A have to listen to audiobook!"
I haven't listened to many but it would rank about 3rd or so..
SPOILER!! When she lets her blood drip onto the coal, the tension that is built up in that scene is amazing!
Was good, used different tone of voice for different people.
There many different parts where I smiled, laughed and have to admit cried! The book is written and spoken so well that you feel like you are with Tris on her journey, you experience what she experiences! That is one of the things I love about this book you feel involved!
I read the book before I bought the audiobook, and suggest that you read the book as well as you remember alot more, its more exciting, I think to read it and its just a totally different experience altogether when you read the book!
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