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)
Fun, quick read.
The pace of these books is fantastic. There is so much going on and it is never boring. What made the book for me was Emma's performance! Since losing my eyesight, I've listened to a dozen or so audiobooks. But this is the first time where I got really sucked in, and felt like listening to it was as good as reading it in print for myself!
I am a Hunger Games fan and this series may be even better than that one. Looking forward to the movie.
I like that these characters believe in something and are willing to work to make their world better. So many kids these days just expect to be given everything they want. They don't have any motivation. This story shows that no matter what age people are both good and bad and can make a difference in their world. I like that both Tris and Tobias believe in selflessness and that God was mentioned in the story.
The story will hook you and the narration is so perfectly suited it captures the reader completely. Very quickly into the reading, you will question what Faction YOU belong to.
Comparable to Hunger Games. Teenage girl against a corrupt government.
Emma Galvin is the perfect narrator for this book. Her voice is young, exactly what you expect for the heroine. Her emotions perfect - vulnerable, determined, brave, courageous, scared.
The story drew me in and kept me enthralled. Several chapters in, my son (13) walked in and got caught up in the story. I started it over and we listened together every evening after school and work. We both loved it, and waited anxiously for the second book to come out!
The characters we're believable and human, and well-described. The story line unfolded in a way that kept us waiting for more, and always wrapped up in the story. I love the dystopian city and the what-if feeling I got from it, as well as the what-happened?
Emma's voice annoyed me initially, and I continued listening in spite of her. However, as the story continued, she grew on me. Emma has a unique way of emphasizing words to make even the most boring sentence become interesting and full of life. I truly appreciate her nuanced reading now and will look for other books she narrates.
Absolutely! I had to force myself to sleep and anxiously waited for the next chance to listen!
I took a chance on this one, having never heard of the author or the book, and was ultimately rewarded with a fine performance and an engrossing book. I'm halfway through the third book in the series now, and can hardly wait for my next chance to listen!
Divergent is one of my Holiday pleasures and I enjoyed it! It allowed me to escape while I listened and I rank it as one of the better ones I listened to this year.
I do feel a similarity to the Hunger Games as it revolves around young people, is futuristic, and most the older people are evil or at least misinformed.
The reader was very interesting and had a clear concise voice that grabbed and kept my attention.
It was interesting enough to have listened to it in one sitting yet the length prevented that.
It was overall enjoyable for a fun and interesting Holiday read.
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.
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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