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 bought this during a holiday sale at Audible, and had never purchased an audiobook before. I was hooked. I later read the book in print, and I find that Tris's voice will forever be that of Emma Galvin in my mind. I was surprised to find listening to an audiobook SO enjoyable; it was very easy to stay invested in the story and in the characters, and as a bonus, I could do other things like drive, exercise, or clean while listening.
Divergent features a lot of action, a lot of difficult choices, and flawed heroes that are very human and relatable. The story is gripping, and the main character is brave and intelligent, yet makes some very human mistakes. The moment I finished this one I downloaded the second book in the series.
Emma Galvin's performance really made the book come alive. She portrays Tris (main character) with a full range of human emotion, and even portrays the male characters with emotionally layered and gruff voices that really add to the story.
Make no mistake: We're all mammals here.
I was unfamiliar with this author, and found this book to be quite entertaining. I have to admit to being slightly dissatisfied with the way she brushed over certain aspects of the story or gave them an explanation which was disappointing or not quite credible. For example, her very brief explanation of the training for Abnegation as simply a few weeks of community service was far from satisfying. Since this lifestyle would have been one of the most difficult to maintain with integrity, a more rigorous training period would have been necessary.
This is a specific example of one of the book's shortcomings I feel I can write about without it being a spoiler. There are a few others.
These plot problems notwithstanding, I still recommend this book, and am looking forward to reading the next in the series.
Audiophile since the days I had to check 'em out on rickety cassette tapes at the local library. Currently working the other side of production as an author of romance and scifi/fantasy.
It took me a little while to get into this, but it ended solid. I'm looking forward to book 2.
Yes. Great story and the detail and thought behind every action really gives you great insight. Pulls you in
Tris is the obvious answer, but Tobias has become my other favorite. He's a complicated guy and smart.
Zipline from the tower. here coming down and being accepted by the group was riveting.
The sacrifice of her Mom and more so her Dad really hit me hard.
Although this is a book for teens, just like Harry Potter, it has adult appeal. The story teller was fantastic. I have never made a point of listening to a story at every chance I had.
I enjoyed this dystopian YA - it wasn't a great love but it was an enjoyable read. My husband, however, did not share my opinion and was very frustrated with the world building (or lack thereof) and characterization.
I think this is a novel that you enjoy like a teen-oriented movie. Lots of hormones, uncertainty in self, action, and trials of the main characters. In the very least for me, I always enjoy a novel where the main female character is strong but not stupidly 'spirited' to the point where she needs rescuing often. As with so many of the recent slate of YA dystopian, she'll take her knocks as she proves herself.
For once, the relationship between the male and female makes sense (they share a common background) but where this book really lets down is in the 'villains'. Perhaps a bit too moustache twirling evil with no redeeming qualities.
The lack of world building makes sense by the end of the second book for me - but for my husband, he still felt it was just too silly.
The narration is good.
I give it a 4. My husband a 2. So I round to 3.
I really liked The Hunger Games series, but this was much more satisfying as an adult reader. I was hesitant to give this a try, but I am so glad I did. The narrator and the story were amazing, and I was quickly hooked.
I had heard that this book and series was as good or better than the Hunger Games books. So I had high hopes for this book; however, I found it to be slow developing and not vary engaging.
I doubt I will listen to any other Veronica Roth books. I was not impressed with Divergent. That was disappointing because I had high hopes for this book.
No but at least it was short. I kept hoping things would get better but frankly it never did.
I love books! All kinds... classics, mysteries, Christian fiction, suspense and action! I'm also a sucker for anything romantic. ;) And just recently started getting into some non-fiction, philosophical books.
I was recommended this book by a teenage boy, and I was more than skeptical. I wasn't sure about the concept, and frankly, after The Hunger Games, I didn't really want to get involved in another YA series. I'm 29, and I like meat in my stories.
I had some extra credits and was going on a road trip so I downloaded it.
It's compared too much to The Hunger Games (which is why I was so reluctant to read it at first tbh) but it's really nothing like. The only similarities really are the fact that a girl is the main character, it's a dystopian society, and I guess the 5 factions COULD be compared to the 12 districts. But other than that, it's completely different.
I fell right in and found the character of Triss to be quite believable. Four also became a favorite character. Sometimes Triss seemed incredibly naive, especially for someone who was supposed to be Divergent, but it's ok. I didn't mind so much. It was fun, sad, sweet, infuriating, mysterious and full of action. I highly recommend it.
warning: there is some lovey dovey stuff that got a bit tiresome. Other than that, great. :)
When Beatrice made her decision to jump from the building into the net.
When the mother was killed.
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