Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: YA, dystopian, sci-fi
Series? Yes, Divergent #2
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Synopsis from Goodreads: One choice can transform you, or destroy you.
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.
First of all, I loved Divergent. Loved it! But this time Insurgent didn’t quite live up to the standards of its predecessor. I still enjoyed it, thoroughly, but it didn’t have that same sparkle. It had that sense of an interim novel – the setup for Allegiant, not a continuation of a novel that can also stand alone.
So I didn’t like the characters – well – Tris, as much as in Divergent. But I still loved Tobias, and Uriah became a new favorite as well.
Tris – This is where I saw a lot of parallels to Katniss (Catching Fire version). She’s still Tris, but with the trauma from the end of Divergent, she’s different. She’s a bit more skittish, but at the same time she’s wildly reckless. And while she deals with her post-traumatic stress, she makes a lot of ridiculous decisions that don’t even make sense other than to cause drama. And she has this hell-bent focus on self-sacrifice: so much so that it no longer becomes sacrifice, but rather suicide disguised as altruism.
Tobias/Four – I still love this boy. Sometimes he’s really harsh to Tris, but I think that’s what makes him so human and keeps him so interesting. He’s vulnerable, but not childish or whiny. And he takes everything that scares or haunts him and channels it into moving forward. I just really can’t express fully how much I love the multi-dimensional aspects of Four.
Other characters – Some of my favorite characters were actually the secondary characters. They didn’t have a huge presence in the novel, but I always enjoyed their page time. Notable examples include Caleb (even if he screwed up), Uriah (I love his humor, and his relationship with his brother), and Lynne – she’s just badass.
As with Divergent, I still love the whole idea of everything with the factions and what was going on. And in Insurgent, Amity, Candor, and Erudite are explored more in depth – definitely the world-building I was searching for! Veronica defined all of the factions very well, and it was even more interesting to find out that the boundaries aren’t as clear as everyone said they were. Not only that, but even having some of the factions admitting to drugging their citizens to maintain a line of thinking was a surprising twist.
The plot this time was a bit too weighty for me. There was so much going on, and sometimes I didn’t know what really happened. It was like whiplash a bit – Tris was back in Abnegation, then all of a sudden she’s storming Erudite. She says she’s with Tobias, but then all of a sudden she’s on Marcus’s side. If a few scenes had been cut out, I think it would have flowed a lot better. And that cliffhanger was fantastic!
One thing I noticed when I was reading: Veronica uses a strange lack of contractions. I’m not sure if it’s supposed to be a mark of the society, or if it’s just her writing style, but sometimes it reads more like an academic paper rather than a novel. Despite my few nitpicks, I really did enjoy Insurgent. I just feel that it didn’t quite live up to the standard Divergent set. I’m really looking forward to seeing how everything resolves in Allegiant. I know some of the generalities, but I want to see the details for myself rather than hear it through everyone else. I’ll see you all on the other side – you better have a trauma kit prepared for me.
My Final Rating: (Technically a 4.7)
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Food For Thought (sound off in the comments!):
If you’ve read the book:
- What did you think of Tris’s insistence on sacrificing herself? Was it motivated by altruism or do you think she had a death wish?
- Now that we know more about the factions, which is your favorite? Which do you identify the most with?
If you haven’t:
- Do you think self-sacrifice, no matter the motivation, is still honorable?
- How do you feel about the trend emerging in YA lit that the protagonists show symptoms of PTSD after traumatic events? Do you think it makes the book more realistic, or do you think it just results in unnecessary angst?