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 entire thing is fascinating. Wonderful story. The only thing that made me want to move the speed of the narration up was the constant focus on the newly emerging feelings of a 16 girl. Ugh. I'm sure its accurate and all, but I don't need to read about her getting chills and cold sweats every time the 18 year old boy even accidentally brushed by her shoulder. Teenage love. Got it. Move on. Other then that. Awesome.
I drive truck and have alot of time to spend listening to books. I like zombie, vampire, and fantasy books.
I haven't read the print so I can't compair it to it but listening to it was great.
The realizing what was going on
Definitely. It's a story that almost anybody can relate to, and it holds together extremely well.
The ending isn't great...it kind of feels like it was cut off mid-chapter, which is fine considering it just made me want to immediately pick up the second book and begin listening to that.
Wife, mother, working girl, and book addict! Love a good fiction, series, romance, sci-fi, or mystery thriller!
I would and I am VREY interested to see what happens in the second book.
I think the most interesting is her evolution of self discovery and the well though out action that propels her story forward. Least interesting I guess are the moments when the story falls comfortable into the spaces occupied by Twilight, Hunger Games, Harry Potter and other similar youth fiction.
Her performance made you feel Tris' insecurities in a way that was not self indulgent, just factual. Emma also did a great job leading you through the changes that Tris makes to her core throughout the story. She didn't just flip a switch and say, ok Tris is a strong confident woman now. She SHOWED you instead of telling you.
I think they already have plans for it. Dakota Fanning would be phenomenal if she doesn't look too mature by then to play a 16 year old. Gweneth Paltrow for the Mom.
I had a had time getting into the story and the narrator's performance, but once I did, after 4 hours or so, I couldn't stop anymore! I really identified to the main character, that makes it easier I guess. Besides, as the story goes on, it became clearer to me what Roth's point was and how complicated the story arcs actually were. As simplistic as it may have seemed to me at the begining, it turned out to be breathtaking and pretty intense! Can't wait to hear the rest of it.
I have not read YA fantasy since a couple of years, but I am happy I gave it a try. I want to know what the rest of the trilogy holds in store for me!
Yes! As much as the book fits into the classics of the dystopian-genre, the "houses" (factions) are presented in an original way. Behind being trainees in a badass basement, it deals with the idea of community, society, peace and power. Cool themes!
I disliked it at first, and to be honest, I'm still not very fond of Emma Galvin's style. her reading tone is not very entertaining... After a while though, I managed to identify the main character to her voice, so the story eventually became enjoyable.
I love Audible!
I really did enjoy this book and the performance, but it wasn't something I could listen to all at once.
Divergent takes place in a dystopian future where society has been divided into "factions" based on different personality traits. To make the ubiquitous Hunger Games comparison, this separation is society's response to some devastating unknown past war. Each faction fulfills a specific role in this new society based on its inherent strengths, but this specialization also inhibits any one faction from gaining too much power or influence.
I found this to be a unique enough premise for a good story. Unfortunately the story itself just didn't cut it for me, and I'm sorry to say this is the first book in a long time that I couldn't get myself to finish. I've got about an hour left, and I figure that's enough of the book that I'm qualified to write a review. Mild spoilers following, but nothing you won't find in a standard synopsis.
The World -
The world is the strongest aspect of the book, and I wish we saw more of it. We get a peek at a few of the factions and how they interact together in the adult world, and it's chilling to see a world based around the brainwashing and indoctrination of each of the factions, most of all the society's insistence on "faction over blood." It also makes for some very straightforward characters, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. It was a little weird that half the story emphasizes chalkboards and cars and guns and bunk beds, while the other introduces all this crazy hand-wavy neuro-nano-technology. You'd think that some of that would spill out into the characters' daily futuristic lives...
The Characters -
I actually liked the various "transfer" characters we meet from the different factions. They obviously bring their different faction-enforced traits to the table, but they also each struggle with adapting to the new faction they've transferred into, and this gives them the depth they need to be unique, likable, and a good patchwork of classmates for our heroine Trice. The classic trio of cruel classmate bullies were a little stale, but it wouldn't be much of a YA novel without them!
The Heroine -
Trice, unfortunately, wasn't a very compelling lead in my opinion. She grapples with her place in the world, and having to choose between her faction and her family, but other than that she's either inexplicably good at everything, or her goals are changing at random and we end up losing site of her character development. Her steamy illicit relationship does NOT help the situation, and as much as I can respect and enjoy the butterflies of a teenage girl's first romance, it totally takes over the second half of the book, pushing aside any thinly enforced urgency the book had going at that point. It just lacks all the subtlety and conflict and dire context that made the love triangle in the Hunger Games so interesting.
The Writing -
I think more than anything it's the writing that got to me. The story is very much "told" rather than "shown," which made Roth's creative new world lack depth and imagery. The story itself also just didn't have much push behind it. We know there's this greater impending change happening, but the story, and our heroine, are so engrossed in their immediate stepping-stone conflicts, that they lose site of what their actions are for altogether.
The Narrator -
Emma Galvin is a definite redeeming factor in the audiobook version of this novel. Her voice is clear and convincing, she totally sounds the part of our 16 year old Trice, her character voices are distinct and believable, and she was just all around a pleasure to listen to. She did hit a couple pet peeves though - her "can"s come out as "ken", which just drives me up the walls, and I swear there's not a contraction in the entire freaking book, which makes all of Trice's inner dialogue sound forced and robotic, though I guess that's more Roth than Galvin.
The Take-Away -
I loved the first Hunger Games book. If you liked the entire series, you may find Divergent really enjoyable read - you get a lot of the action, romance, dystopia, rebellion, and friendship that Hunger Games had to offer. But I personally thought the second and third books of the Hunger Games books went spiraling uncontrollably downhill, and that's how I felt before I even finished Divergent. Then again, maybe I'm making a huge mistake and it's the opposite of the Hunger Games, and Trice's story really takes off after the first book. Sadly, if that's the case, there's just not enough in Divergent to keep me hooked. Maybe the movie will be better.
Will read (or in this case, listen) to just about anything.
I always find dystopias interesting. The plot was great for the most part though the ending was a bit too perfect - written more for a movie finish (it's due out March 2013, big surprise). Still, enjoyable overall.
Im a 39 year old self employed female who does a lot of driving and audiobooks make driving enjoyable for me. I enjoy conteporary and historical fiction as well as fun comedic romances.
yes my kids have listened several times , they enjoy the story
Tris or Four are favourite characters, it is a toss up. They are both memorable in their own way.
What would you choose?
Great listen. highly recommend if you have teens who like to listen in the car with you, we were all able to enjoy this with the exception of one borderline inappropriate scene.
I listened up to chapter 10. I just couldn't get into the story. The violence between the characters was bothersome. I figured it would just get worse as the story progressed so I opted to return it and move on to something more my style. The narration was pretty monotonous, but that could be related to the depressing back drop of the setting. However if you liked Hunger Games you may like this story as there are strong similarities between the two books.
Report Inappropriate Content