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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

Overall

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    16,088
  • 4 Stars
    9,196
  • 3 Stars
    3,504
  • 2 Stars
    887
  • 1 Stars
    466

Performance

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    15,483
  • 4 Stars
    7,928
  • 3 Stars
    2,696
  • 2 Stars
    533
  • 1 Stars
    275

Story

  • 4.3 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    14,372
  • 4 Stars
    7,951
  • 3 Stars
    3,354
  • 2 Stars
    930
  • 1 Stars
    505
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Debbie
  • Pleasant Garden, NC, United States
  • 03-13-14

Excellent series.

Would you listen to Divergent again? Why?

Yes, I enjoy getting new bits of the story the second time around.
I was upset with how unnecessary it was to kill off so many of the main
Characters. I was also let down by the end, I won't spoil it for those that
Haven't read it yet. However it could easily have ended differently and
Still been great.

What did you like best about this story?

That they took the time to develop all the characters, and I really
Did like the premise of the book.

What does Emma Galvin bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She did an excellent job as a narrator, I never got tired
Of her quirky voice, it gave it an honesty and emotional impact
That wouldn't have been in a regular book. I also appreciated that they
Didn't go overboard with the physical relationship between her n four.
For being a YA it was fairly clean.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No I wanted to stretch it out, instead of rushing thru it.

Any additional comments?

I'm very happy to see YA books w/o vampires or werewolves. Those
Plots have really been overdone n I'm not into those.

  • Overall
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  • Story
  • Klay
  • WICHITA, KS, United States
  • 03-13-14

NOT ANOTHER HUNGER GAMES

What made the experience of listening to Divergent the most enjoyable?

Emma Galvin does a wonderful job narrating, she has an enjoyable voice to listen to and tells the story nicely.

What did you like best about this story?

the overall plot, but mostly the setting. 5 Factions in the remains of the city of Chicago. Each of the 5 Factions symbolizing a different character traits. Veronica Roth has an imagination like none other that entices me in her story.

Which scene was your favorite?

Any of the scenes while Tris is in her fear landscape, or Tobias (Four) takes her in his

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

Learning to survive was never like this

Any additional comments?

If you've read the Hunger Games, you'll love this book. If you haven't read the Hunger Games....you'll still love this book.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Excellent start, poor finish

The concept of the 5 factions is rich and fascinating, if perhaps not fully developed in the first book. The first half of the book absolutely grabbed my attention, but then it started to turn into a sorry excuse of a teen romance novel, and it seemed that all attention to story line outside of the love interest took a backseat. The climactic events toward the end were completely unbelievable given the prior development and seemed to come from no where in particular.

I really wanted to like it, and I did at first, but ended up being sorely disappointed. Even so, I have to give at least 3 stars because the beginning was indeed very good.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Riveting except a bit too much teen romance

Would you listen to Divergent again? Why?

Yes. This story grabs you and has you constantly wondering what's next. It gets sappy in spots as the teen girl's internal romantic monologues last about 4 times too long. It would have been five stars without those. Even with those I enjoyed the book tremendously.

What did you like best about this story?

Reminded me a bit of Hunger Games with a dash of Ender's Game. Sprinkled in was some silly romance, like I imagine would be in those Twilight books. So, if you like those you'll probably love this.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Great

What made the experience of listening to Divergent the most enjoyable?

Reading a story about a way of life I know nothing about could be difficult to understand or relate to. However this story unfolds in a way that both visual and comprehending.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Divergent?

The character naturally coming into her own.

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  • Story
  • Sara
  • Indianapolis, In, United States
  • 03-03-14

Can't stop listening!

Any additional comments?

I'm always sad when I end an amazing series and I was looking for something new after finishing The Hunger Games. This series has totally brouight me out of my "I have no more Hunger Games books to read" slum. I liked both series equally, and I'm sure when I finish the last book I will be in a "I have no more Divergent books to read" slum as well.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Compelling read - story is relevant to today

Would you listen to Divergent again? Why?

No, but only because I very rarely listen/read the same book twice.

What other book might you compare Divergent to and why?

The flavor of Divergent reminds be a bit of the Dune series - full of life lessons and moral/ethical commentary, but in a futuristic setting.

Which character – as performed by Emma Galvin – was your favorite?

Tris - the star - is of course quite good. But I also liked Tris' mother, Evelyn.

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

No extreme reaction - but a very thought-provoking book.

Any additional comments?

Excellent book - slightly sic-fi, but not as futuristic as we might think. I am currently listening to Insurgent, the second book in the series; so far, just as good as Divergent.

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  • Story

interesting story line --- for teenagers

I found that Hunger Games and Divergent have a lot in common except that Hunger games can transcend generational interest much better. This story was meant for a more immature audience and devoted a lot of time to interactions particularly exchanges of insults and physical assault.
I grew weary of the teenage perspective and I lost interest.
narrator has a lot of bitchy sarcastic inflection - that grew tiresome too.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

I hated Hunger Games

Would you listen to Divergent again? Why?

I would listen to it again. Great story.

What did you like best about this story?

I like how real the relationships between the characters are. I liked how even Tris' friends got jealous of her.

What about Emma Galvin’s performance did you like?

I did enjoy her performance. I can't think of anything I would change.

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

Not Hunger Games!

Any additional comments?

When looking at reviews of this book all I wanted to read was I hated Hunger Games but love this. Well that is how I feel.

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  • Story
  • ibfrenchy
  • Meridian, ID, United States
  • 03-02-14

Excellent

This was a very engaging book. Emma Galvin did an excellent job reading it, and I felt I could connect with the characters. I enjoyed the book very much and can recommend it without hesitation.