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Editorial Reviews

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

Publisher's Summary

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

Critic Reviews

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Hunger Games knock-off (and not a good one)

Read from January 01 to 13, 2014

Story: 3 stars
Narrator: 3.5 stars


This book starts with a bang but, unfortunately, ends with a whimper. At first, I was captivated by this newish image of a future dystopia where castes are determined not by social standing but by personality type. Tris's journey from Abnegation (the ruling Amish-lite caste) into Dauntless (the daredevil/militaristic caste) was fascinating at first as she learned about life outside of the small world in which she'd been raised. The idea of a drug that could be injected and create hallucinations (simulations) that another person could observe---and that a computer could record---had the potential for great plot development.

And then . . . training started. And it went on and on and on and on ad nauseam until I got to the point about 2/3 of the way in that I wondered aloud if any of what had happened so far was going anywhere, or if the whole series would be one contrived "action" (a.k.a., training) scene after another.

This book didn't work for me as an action/adventure/suspense story the way The Hunger Games did, because the whole book was focused on the training exercises that got very repetitive very fast. And then there are Tris's Mary-Sue like tendencies. She's special. She's better than everyone else. But of course that means that the baddies must be out to get her. There were also aspects to her personality that emerge after she's in Dauntless that I didn't like: the thrill seeking, the self-centeredness, the way she lays blame on everyone else when her relationships get strained because of her own actions but she never reflects on how she might need to change or what she needs to do, beyond "pretending to be vulnerable" to fix those relationships. Up until the very end, after the initiation ceremony, everything that happens to her is contrived not to move a plot forward but merely to create conflict between Tris and the other initiates. And that got very old and annoying.

This book also did not work for me as a romance. There was no relationship building that happened between Tris and Four. Sure, he was described as enigmatic and HOT, but he has almost nothing redeeming to his characterization, especially with the way he treats her occasionally (bordering on abusive) and very little, if any, actual personality. The sexy-time scenes were awkward---but not in the way they were meant to be. There's no intellectual connection between them to lead me to believe there is long-term potential. It comes across as a very self-centered teen crush that will fizzle and die quickly.

The movie was just as bad as, if not worse than, the book. So at least now I can skip the rest of the series without worrying that I'm missing out. I'm just not that interested or invested in this world or the characters that inhabit it.

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I loved it!

If you could sum up Divergent in three words, what would they be?

Outstandingly fast-paced

What was one of the most memorable moments of Divergent?

The most memorable moment of Divergent was when Tris chose Dauntless as her faction. It was such a huge decision and I was on the edge of my seat leading up to it

Which scene was your favorite?

When Tris and Four were in his fear-scape. The way Tris took control and helped him out of it showed her Divergence perfectly. It was definitely her character's shining moment.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I teared up a lot throughout the book,

Any additional comments?

I originally wasn't going to read it because I saw the movie trailer and wasn't interested. I'm so glad I changed my mind and bought it.

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Where was the editor?

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

We listened to the Audible version of Divergent on a recent road trip and loved it. I haven’t seen the movie, so I can’t make any comparison. The novel was clearly a young adult fiction, and had all of the elements that you would expect: resistance to adult authority, peer bonding and teen romance. The science fiction and dystopia elements made the story engaging, even for adults. We immediately went on to, and are now listening to the next book, Insurgent. I can see how Divergent could make a good movie. It was definitely a great listen! I highly recommend the Audible version.

Would you be willing to try another book from Veronica Roth? Why or why not?

After listening to all three books in the Divergent series, I have to say that it wasn’t great. I’ve read and enjoyed a lot of exceptionally good young adult fiction. The Divergent series was average, at best. All three books could have had better editing. The passionate, romantic scenes between Tris and Tobias and the word “body” could have almost all been eliminated. There was a lot of repetition and scenes that added nothing to the development of the story. There was also too much graphic violence. The writing lacked depth and maturity. Maybe they will make great movies. However, none of the books were a great listen and I doubt that they would have been a better read.

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great book

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I tell everyone I know to read this book. I don't care how old or young you are this book has something for you.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Tris is my favorite she is strong even though she doesn't think she is

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normally this is not my type of reading but.......

Any additional comments?

found this book very good and different from the types of books i like. i cant wait to read all the series.

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The movie made me like it more

Any additional comments?

The main reason that i read it was because everyone else was. It was pretty good, but when I watched the movie, I really liked it because it interpreted it in a really good way.

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Surprised by its Characters and Force

In this book our 16-yr-old heroine is presented immediately with conflict and choices. We are quickly drawn into her world and her strange life in this place of 'factions', groups of people with common tendencies and goals (that's a simplistic explanation) but Tris is 'Divergent' meaning she doesn't fit into one of the factions, but must choose one anyway. This story is about a person striving to be who she is, and not who society says she should be. For that, it is fantastic. I am currently in book 3 of the trilogy, and I am still enthralled by the writing, the descriptions, the emotions, and the story. I highly recommend this. And as a bonus, there is nothing in here that would embarrass your grandmother (no cursing or blasphemy).

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Umm yeah.. It's Hunger games... Still good

Tris is in a dystopian society with 5 factions, whats-her-name from hunger games is in a dystopian society with several areas. There's tensions between the factions.. er.. Areas. They each fall in love. They each battle government. They each kick... Um... backside.
Okay, yes, too many similarities with just enough differences to keep it interesting. I actually still enjoyed the story. If you can keep yourself from thinking of Hunger Games you can enjoy the story for what it is. It's not bad. Not five star in my book but still okay. It was well performed, and overall worth it.
I really like for young readers which is it's original audience and anything that makes them read is a plus for me. So who cares if it's close to.. That other book?

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Worth listening to

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend it. Was a good book and am starting on the next in the trilogy. Not as good as Hunger Games trilogy but still good.

Which scene was your favorite?

Rooftop jump and zip line

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Are you 'dauntless' enough to be Divergent?

Any additional comments?

Narrator voice really fit the lead character's age and did a great job. Only complaint about the book was that it was a little bit too "young adult" read. Doesn't transcend all ages like Hunger Games trilogy and Harry Potter series.

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Inspiration!

What did you love best about Divergent?

you don't know how much I love this book. after I read it, it feels like I just went through an adventure with tris, and it makes me feel very good afterward. It was so real that I thought I was friended with the characters in the story. This book teaches you to be brave, kind, truthful, selfless and intelligent... I have never loved a book like this before.

What about Emma Galvin’s performance did you like?

Her voice indicates Tris so well and I really love her.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Alright just let me talk about the movie, even though it skipped lots of parts from the book but if you watch the movie after you read the whole book, I believe you will love that movie as well.

Any additional comments?

I brought the series afterward because I felt like they are those kind of books that you need to put in your book collection. Anyways enjoy emma galvin's voice, it definitely rises your reading experience on the book to a new level!