Insurgent – Book Review

Hi everyone.

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)I finished reading Insurgent by Veronica Roth a couple of days ago and had to take some time to process what I read and try to decide what kind of review I wanted to write.

From Goodreads:  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.

My Review:

I have mixed emotions on this novel.  Don’t get me wrong.  Ms. Roth pulls off the story line without a hitch.  Her prose is admirable.  There were times I sat back and said “Man, I wish I wrote that.”  I got to see a side of Four I didn’t see in Divergent, and Tris takes us on an unstoppable roller coaster of guilt and pain throughout the entire novel.  While these were ‘likable’ to a certain extent, there was so much more I felt was lacking.

Insurgent starts exactly where Divergent left off and there is no recap.  If you haven’t read Divergent in a while, read it right before you read Insurgent so the story is fresh in your mind.  Otherwise you’ll be lost.

Sadly, I thought the plot was lacking a major Dystopian feel.  Everything that Divergent was, Insurgent wasn’t.  Four, now known primarily as Tobias, seemed too haughty.  He and Tris are always complaining about why the other kept some secret away from the other.  It got old after a while.    Tris is so wrapped up in her guilt (good insight into her character until you reach page 500 and she’s still moaning about it) that she does really stupid things she knows is going to anger  Tobias.  I understand the whole guilt thing, but by the end of the book, I thought Tris was acting a lot like Bella Swan, and Tobias was a wanna be Edward.  I am glad Ms. Roth gave us a ringside seat on Tris’ and Four’s relationship, but the action suffered and I tired of the bickering.  In Divergent we had ferris wheel scaling and train jumping and zip lining.  Insurgent traded all that with relationship reflections and the primary plot took a back seat.  It didn’t have the punch, the fast-paced plotting I was expecting.

If you are unfamiliar with the plot line:  the Erudite are trying to take over their world by injecting Divergent with a new serum that will kill the Divergent, while the Factionless are planning a revolution.  The sad thing is, the plot is lost on Tris’ and Tobias (rarely “Four”) relationship and back and forth angst.  It got really old for me being stuck in Tris’ cycle of guilt for 3/4 of the novel, which is a lot since the book is 525 pages long.

There is a lot of betrayal going on in this book between Tris and her brother, Tris and Four, Tris and Will and her parents, Tris and Marcus, Tris and Four.  Tris and Four.  Oh, did I say that already?  I felt like I was stuck in a groove on a broken record.  I also found Tris’ sudden ‘trust’ of Marcus unrealistic.  It’s almost like she does what she does just to make Tobias mad, not because she has an aptitude for Erudite as a Divergent.  She gets it in her head if she dies doing something noble, her guilt over Will’s death will vanish.  I wanted to slap her.

There was a cool little cliff-hanger at the end, but I think 525 pages to get there was way too long.  I felt cheated somehow.  I didn’t feel like the ending made up for the rest of the angst-filled book, which makes Insurgent, to me, a filler book.  I’m not quite sure what was to be accomplished with this book.  It could have easily been cut in half  and served the same purpose.

There were a few shining moments in Insurgent but they were too few and far between for me.  In fact, you could probably read Divergent (which was amazing), read the first 3 chapters and the last chapter of Insurgent and be caught up to date and ready for book 3.  Will I read the third book?  Yes.  I’m invested. I want to see how it all gets wrapped up in the end.  I only hope Ms. Roth gives us the action-packed dystopian in the final chapters as she did in Divergent. She’s a talented author. She has an incredible way with prose and drawing a picture in the reader’s mind.  Insurgent just didn’t hold up to Divergent in terms of action and plot.  She has one more chance to make the series shine.  I pray she pulls it off.

My score:  3.5 stars out of 5.