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)
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.
I love the strength of the female character!
Insurgent because that's the next book in the series.
She is crazy talented! My favorite of all time!
Yes! Love when she jumps first!
Must buy this!
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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