May 20, 2012
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
First of all, I want to point out that this is book two in the Divergent Trilogy. If you haven't yet read Divergent, you should check out the review I wrote a year ago. Actually, no. I've gone ahead and googled "Divergent Review" for you. Pick any of those and read them. The one I wrote was terrible. Or just go ahead and skip the review reading and just get your hands on a copy and read that sucker. It rocks. That's all you really need to know about it.
Back to Insurgent.
One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.
Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.
New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.
Generally speaking, sequels are rarely as good as the original. There are exceptions, but Insurgent wasn't one of them. To be fair though, Divergent is one of my top five favourite books ever (Although that list would now have The Hunger Games in spot four, pushing out The Zombie Survival Guide), and it's a little hard to live up to that.
That isn't to say Insurgent wasn't incredible.
The character development in this novel is excellent. Tris is pretty broken after the events at the end of the first book. The right amount of broken though. All of the strength she gained is still there, but she's also dealing with a lot of grief and guilt. She makes some pretty questionable decisions. We get to see a lot more into the real Four, who is now mostly refereed to by his given name Tobias - which I am not really a fan of. The name itself is fine, It just doesn't suit him. When Beatrice Prior joined her new faction, she became Tris. And, sure, she is still Beatice, but the name just feels wrong on her now. Just as Tobias feels wrong on Four. I got used to it, but I didn't like it.
Lets talk about the Tris/Four relationship for a minute. In Divergent, it was HOT and STEAMY. It was also sweet and innocent. Four is all broody and mysterious. Tris is a little clueless about boys. I loved everything about it. In Insurgent...man. Several times you wanted to sit one or the other (or often times both) down and say, "WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!" It's secrets and lies and arguments and...just really frustrating. I get it though. Tris is, as I said, broken. And, also, still a bit clueless about boys. Only sixteen, and grew up in a faction that barely held hands let alone anything else...yeah, I guess she has every reason to be clueless. And Four...well, he has his own set of issues, not the least of which a pretty terrible childhood. Add to that the stress of all of the THINGS that are happening in their world. Big, scary, horrible things. Contrary to some of the less positive reviews I've read, their relationship makes sense at this stage. That being said, I saw what I hope was a glimmer of things turning around for them in book three. I really hope that's the case - that their relationship grows into something deeper and less frustrating.
The ending is what really pulled things together for me. Not the just-before-the-ending part. The part just before the big cliff-hanger-plot-twit reveal was expected and a little more than cliché. But the final bit, the cliff-hanger-plot-twist - excellent. Just exactly the kind of thing that makes you not want to wait until Fall 2013 for book three. Even if you end up hating the sequel, you will still want to read the next one because of this ending. So fantastic.
On a scale from Totally Awesome to Horrifically Awful, I'd give it a Quite Awesome. Not as good as it's predecessor, but worth reading if you've read the first one.
But, seriously, you can buy Divergent from Amazon by clicking here. Yes, that is an affiliate link, but even if it wasn't I'd still be telling you to go there to buy it. It's incredible, and the paperback is just 10 bucks. If you have 10 bucks, like YA literature and dystopian futures, I am ordering you to buy this book and read it. If you haven't already. Because otherwise that would just be silly.