Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Review: Insurgent

Insurgent (Divergent #2)
by Veronica Roth
Published May 1st, 2012 by HarperTeen

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.


Rating: 4.25 stars
I wonder if it’s possible to for a book to be too dystopian…
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not this dystopian world that I didn’t like—in fact, this 5 faction world is one of the most memorable and unique dystopian societies that I’ve read about. 
It’s the overall tone that rubbed me the wrong way.

I have somewhat of a love-hate relationship with this series, so this review might be kind of confusing and/or scattered, but it’s really hard to describe how I feel about this book!
I completely understand that Divergent ended horribly and traumatically. And since Insurgent pretty much picks up right where Divergent left off, all the characters—especially Tris—would be dealing with the trauma. And considering the things she did to survive, I’m not surprised that she pretty torn up throughout most of Insurgent.
But here’s the thing: reading an entire 500+ page book where the overall tone is bleak, morbid, angsty, and somewhat depressed can get really…. Unpleasant. To say the least.
There’s really only so much PTSD and angst I can take in a book!

While Tris is undoubtedly a pretty ballsy and admirable character, I just couldn’t really relate to her. (Might be due to some of that angst I talked about.)  Sometimes, when she talks about her emotions, her inner turmoils, I can’t help but feel that her voice, while speaking of deep, devastating emotion, comes off as somewhat…robotic. She talks about all the overwhelming emotions warring inside of her, but I just don’t really connect with her emotionally. I couldn’t really empathize because of her tone. And when it comes to her line of logic…sometimes I understand it, but sometimes I don’t. In multiple instances in this book, she figured out a plan that was supposed to be absolutely brilliant because it would outsmart everyone else, but I just couldn’t help but think, really? It made me feel like some of the other characters were maybe dumbed down a bit so Tris could seem so much smarter when she figured out the solution. I mean, come on, just because someone isn’t Erudite doesn’t mean they can’t be logical.
(well, apparently in this book, they can’t…)

At the same time, I can’t honestly say that I hate Tris as a main character. Sometimes, I'm so impressed by her acts of dauntlessness and I love her for her bravery and selflessness! She’s also tough as nails and not afraid to challenge what she believes is wrong. She exhibits a kind of behavior that a lot of people admire and aspire to. In fact, I can totally see why some people really love her as a heroine. I just happen to have a rather bipolar relationship with her.

But here’s the super weird thing: I’m not crazy about Tris, but I think Four is just about the hottest boy in Dystopia.
And he’s kind of like a male version of Tris… but, you know, more leader-like and not so traumatized. And possibly tougher. And I’m kind of in love with the dude.
Tris and Four’s relationship takes a more prominent role in this book and I really liked them together.  I wasn’t totally crazy about the fact that Four NEVER “coddled” Tris—not that I think coddling is a good thing in a relationship, but come on. It’s also not cool to expect a girl to be superman all the time—but I supposed that given the way Four is and what he’s gone through, it’s understandable.
And he more than redeems himself by the end of the book. Trust me.

ALSO. Since this books takes place literally right after Divergent, I feel like Veronica Roth might’ve expected me to either go back and reread book 1 before starting or just remember every single character and their interrelationships.
 But I’M SORRY MS. ROTH (MRS. ROTH?), I read a lot of books in the time it takes for a sequel to come out, and I really can’t be held responsible for remembering all those little details. The fact that there was absolutely no backstory, no reminder whatsoever about previous characters left me to be majorly confused for a big part of the book. At most, I remembered two or three characters. The rest, I… I wish I could say I later refigured out who they were and what their previous relationships were with other characters…but no. Not really.

As for the plot of the book, the pacing was fabulous, there was a lot of action (me gusta!) and running-from-bad-guys goodness, as well as butt-kicking awesomeness, and I really liked the fact that we got to see more of the other factions. And the Factionless. All the stakes are upped in the book and it. Is . Intense. But if anything, this book has given me way more questions than answers!  New revelations are made. New secrets are uncovered. And the ending…  Oh. My. Gosh. That ending will leave you feeling unsure of everything you thought you knew about this series. Well done, Veronica Roth, well done indeed. 


  1. I am sooooo exctied to read this book. I bought it but have yet to read it. Though now I am nervious about the sad tone throughout. I hate being sad when reading.

  2. Good point on forgetting a bit of the first book upon the sequel's release :/

    I really loved your review for this one! I've yet to read the oh-so-AMAZING!!!! Divergent, but I think you've raised some good points for this one that I haven't seen elsewhere ;) Interesting...

    Vivian @ Vivaciously, Vivian

  3. Great review!! I haven't read this book yet but I understand exactly how you feel about Tris. That's the same way i felt about her when reading Divergent.

  4. I had mixed feelings about INSURGENT, and some of that lines up with what you've written here. I found Tris hard to relate to and a bit irksome at times (sneaking around behind Four's back drove me a little bonkers). I also wanted a little less bickering between those two, but I suppose it was realistic. All in all, I didn't love it as much as DIVERGENT, but it was a good book. Really looking forward to Book 3! :D

    I think Veronica Roth knew that there wasn't any backstory in Book 2, so she did a review of details on her blog before its launch. Not everyone would have seen that, though.

  5. I have heard so many good things about the series.
    I haven't read it yet but I going to pick it up real soon.

    Great review!


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