Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent by Veronica Roth(Cover picture courtesy of Veronica Roth’s blog.)

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.

Somehow I think I won’t be reading anything by Veronica Roth after reading Insurgent.  Tris, who was quite a strong character in Divergent, has turned into a damsel in distress and the explanation for why factions were created was half-assed at best.  (I know, I hate swearing too, but there is no other way to describe the ‘explanation’ we are given.)

Tris has, to put it quite plainly, has turned into a wimp.  She does not do many proactive things in the course of Insurgent, but seems to react to everything.  To be fair, there was not much action in the novel except near the end, so it was hard for her to actually showcase her strength, but still.  Tris lets Tobias (Four) boss her around, goes into the Erudite trap despite the fact that going there will kill even more people than if she didn’t and is just as judgmental, if not more, than in Divergent.  All Erudites are completely evil, cold, calculating pathetic excuses for human beings, we get it already!  At least she begins to change her attitude at the very end, but it’s too late for redemption.

Before I read Insurgent, some people had told me it explained and went more into depth about why the factions were created.  And there is an explanation: on the last two pages!  It’s a pathetic explanation as well, as if Veronica Roth just shoved it in the end to keep her fans from tearing her to shreds.  I still don’t buy the explanation that factions are great things to prevent the moral breakdown of society and that the Divergent are the key (because they’re oh-so-special) to bringing society back to normal.  Veronica Roth is completely wrong in assuming that most people can be conveniently placed into 5 basic categories.  If the faction system actually occurred, nearly everyone would be Divergent because our personalities are not as simple as Roth would like to pretend.

I wish there had been more reminders of what happened in Divergent because there are so many names and events to remember.  But Veronica Roth barely drops any hints and just assumes readers will be able to immediately jump back into the story.  There’s a fine line between too much backstory and not enough and Insurgent falls drastically on the latter side.  I only read Divergent in July, but had to actually look up the Wikipedia summary to find out who the heck half of the characters were.  Despite that, the writing itself was not bad and when there was actually action, there was a great balance between description and dialogue.  But a good writing style can’t make up for all the offenses Insurgent was guilty of.

I give this book 2/5 stars.

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  1. theairtwit

    Ah! I ended up enjoying Insurgent more than Divergent, and it mostly had to do with Tris’ character for me. I felt much too annoyed with her inner struggle between Abnegation and Dauntless qualities (however realistic) — that meeker side to her wass a huge frustration for me. Although I was (and still am) annoyed by the romance in book 2, I must say. I admit that I lost a liking for Tobias and found myself wishing Peter would stab his face… or something. And I do understand the annoyance with Tris’ ‘damsel-like’ role. She was more proactive before, but I ended up appreciating the PTSD symptoms and frightened emotions after what she experienced — it felt more grounded to reality for me, I guess.

    But in regards to the factions and how/why they were created… ugh. It feels sprung on to the reader like a dropped bomb with little time for the information to settle properly. I do plan to read the third book, so I hope Roth makes up for that ending.

    • Carrie Slager

      I understand that Tris had PTSD, but I don’t think Veronica Roth really handled it properly. Instead of it feeling awful and that sense of hopelessness, it just didn’t really seem like Tris had it. Maybe it’s because Roth tries to make her character do all kinds of different things so she doesn’t focus on a character arc.

      I hope the ending works out for you! I certainly won’t be reading it. Or if I do, I’ll be borrowing it from the library instead of buying it.

      • theairtwit

        I really do hope I enjoy the ending as well. It’s one of the better YA dystopian books I’ve personally read… In comparison, I guess I’ve encountered too many where the writing has left me extremely disappointed. I like Roth’s style for the most part.

        Oh, yes — I’ll be borrowing it from the library myself! I obviously enjoy the series, but I haven’t wanted to spend the cash on it. Ah.

  2. Thomas

    Aw, it’s unfortunate that you didn’t enjoy Insurgent. You’re right that Tris’s character kind of devolved and the world-building (at least in terms of practicality) isn’t that strong. I liked the sequel, though not as much as its predecessor, because of its addicting pace. However, I can see why others like yourself did not like it. Great detailed review!

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