Saturday, 27 July 2013

Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)

Goodreads description: 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.

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The divided society in which Tris never truly belonged has now become scattered. Insurgent picks up where Divergent left off, after Tris and Four narrowly escaped with their lives when the leader of the Erudite faction used mind-control serum to trick the Dauntless into launching an attack on the defenceless Abnegation. As a Divergent, someone who does not conform to any of the five factions into which society is divided (Amity, Abnegation, Dauntless, Candor and Erudite), Tris was one of the few Dauntless who was immune to the simulation serum which turned her friends into brainwashed killers. Haunted by the deaths of her parents, and her own actions during the attack, Tris struggles to forgive herself and to decide where she stands in the upcoming conflict.

I didn’t enjoy the book as much as Divergent, and felt that the constant switching around locations only served for filler rather than necessarily advancing the plot. That said, like in Divergent, the action really ramps up during the final quarter of the book, with plenty of shocking twists and betrayals. As before, Veronica Roth writes in gripping prose, the high suspense and fast pace keeping me turning the pages. On the other hand, there’s a lot more scope for character exploration here. In Divergent couldn’t make my mind up about Tris. I understand that it’s in her character to act in her own self-interest – that’s why she never truly belonged in Abnegation. But some of the risks she took were idiotic, and I thought she behaved quite heartlessly throughout. In Insurgent, however, she struggles with guilt and grief as well as identity problems, and I found her character to be a lot more sympathetic. And an absence of whining about love triangles gains a thumbs-up from me! The romance between Tris and Tobias is believable, with misunderstandings resulting from their decisions to lie to one another, but thankfully this doesn’t get in the way of the storyline.

We also learn more about Tris’s abilities as a Divergent, which fascinate both her allies and her enemies. And my suspicions that the factionless would have an important role to play proved not to be unfounded, as those cast out from society plot a rebellion. It’s no longer clear who is right, and the author presents the positives and negatives of each faction’s way of life. What I like about this series is that the characters aren’t cardboard cut-outs, even those that belong to a particular faction, and their behaviour is as unpredictable as real people’s. This series maintains its thought-provoking look at human nature and conformity, and after a killer cliffhanger ending, I can’t wait for Book 3!
 Rating: ****


  1. You know, I have to agree I didn't enjoy this one as much as the first but still thought it was great. I can't wait until Allegiant and the movie! Great review :-)

    My Friends Are Fiction

  2. I also agree with your review. I loved Divergent and couldn't wait to read Insurgent. The last 50 pages of Insurgent were slow going. But will definitely read Allegiant.

  3. I finished INSURGENT recently too. It had been a few months since I finished DIVERGENT before I started INSURGENT so it took me a teeny bit of time to become re-acquainted with the characters and the story lines, but once the story clicked inside my head again, I was glued to my chair with the book in my hand. Veronica Roth is such a talented writer. The cliffhanger ending definitely left me wanting more.

  4. Great review! I liked Insurgent less than Divergent as well. The cliffhanger is indeed killing! Can't wait for book 3 and the movie of course.

  5. I've enjoyed this series as well; it isn't perfect, but it's been a fun read and I'm looking forward to book 3.

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