Book Review: Insurgent

Title/Author:  Insurgent by Veronica Roth
(Divergent #2)

Genre:  Young Adult, Dystopia, Science Fiction

Published:  May 1st, 2012 by HarperTeen

Hardcover, 525 pages

How I Got This Book:  My hubby stopped by the bookstore on his way to work on May 1st so that we could guarantee ourselves a copy.  He is so nice!

Why I Picked It Up?:  Because I am SUPER EXCITED!  I need more FOUR!  =)
Book Jacket Blurb:  “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.”

My Review of This Work:

**Warning:  Though I will keep out spoilers of Insurgent, if you have yet to read Divergent I would recommend skipping this review.**

If you are interested, you can read my review of Divergent here.

~*~*~
Note to readers:  I am trying my hardest to both wrap my head around this novel and give you a review without spoilers.  Both of which are difficult at the moment.
~*~*~

So, as this novel was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, along with a majority of bookish world, I really had some high expectations.  I must admit though, I really didn’t know specifically what those expectations were.  Which is why I was EXTREMELY impressed and surprised and in love with this second installment of the Divergent Trilogy!  It’s action-packed and full of life and excitement, and allows us to really be a part of the Divergent world!

From the very first sentence, we are immediately thrust back into the dystopian world of Divergent.  Insurgent literally picks up an hour after the end of Divergent, pushing readers and characters alike right back into the action–and horror–of the Erudite/Dauntless attack against Abnegation that resulted in a lot of death.  The events of Divergent are ever-present in Tris’ mind as she, Four, and company head toward refuge with the Amity faction.
I am happy to report that Veronica Roth does an impeccable job of developing the world even more in this novel! I feel like many of my questions/wonders have been addressed in some way, and that is due to the world building!  Insurgent really explores the other two factions that we don’t get much exposure to in the first novel–Amity and Candor.  As Tris and Four try and rally the factions as well as find safety, they travel first to Amity, where the red-and-yellow filled farm-life reminds them of the peace they are striving for.  However, even among this faction, who focuses so much on unity and agreement, some interesting things come to light.  For one, their faction decisions are ruled by the majority vote, and their “leader” is really more of a spokesperson, but nothing more.  For two, they would rather negotiate peace than pick a side in this upcoming war, which really puts a target on their backs by the other factions.  Candor, on the other hand, is the complete opposite.  They are forward and direct and are not afraid to torture you for the truth.  But they also teeter about if they want to pick a side–they would rather stay out of it until it’s over.

What Ms. Roth has done with her dystopian world is brilliant.  When I first started Divergent, I remember thinking that this whole 5 faction thing is a little too simple–“Okay, let’s all pick the one quality that is best to have and create 5 groups within one community.”  I just wasn’t convinced.  But then the more I read Divergent, the more that I understood what Roth was trying to convey–weakness in the system.  Seeing the differences in Dauntless mentality (Four vs. Eric, or bravery vs. brutality) as well as seeing the corruption in the intelligence-focused faction of Erudite convinced me that there was something deeper to this division system.  And now, Insurgent really showcases the deeper problems to this faction system.  Though the faction system began as a focus on the good of each of the five qualities–bravery, honesty, selflessness, harmony, and intelligence–each and every faction has turned their mentality to that of brutality.  We see the Dauntless brutality through the initiation process focusing so much on combat and less about teamwork.  Erudite’s brutality leads to the mind-controlling simulation that starts this war.  Abnegation is accused of trying to “selflessly” take over the government, which leads to the Erudite/Dauntless attack at the end of Divergent.  Insurgent showcases the brutalities of Amity and Candor.  Amity, who loves peace and harmony, drugs their citizens through the bread in order to make sure each citizen keeps a peaceful demeanor.  And Candor uses the search for the truth to embarrass and torture individuals.  Such a simplistic and easy world is actually really dark and twisty.  The flawless flow between the two can only be attributed to Roth’s skill in world-building.  I applaud you, Ms. Roth, you have convinced me.  =)

Along with the exceptional world-building, Insurgent also builds each character (who is still alive after Divergent), allowing for realistic growth in such a dismal situation.  What I really enjoyed was seeing some minor characters take on a bigger role in this novel.  Caleb, Tris’ brother, becomes a keynote player in this story.  Uriah, Marlene, and Lynn (Dauntless initiates whom we met in a couple of scenes in the last book) also become more prominent in the war plans.  And then there are Marcus and Peter, two villains from Divergent, who keep the mystery of good vs. bad alive.  These characters, whom Four and Tris each respectively hate, twist and turn the plot so many times it’s really hard to keep track!  As much as I really hate them, I kind of love the fact that I can hate them so much.  That, to me, shows great character writing.

Tris, who was such a strong and confident character in Divergent, really grows in this novel.  Killing one of her best friends really pays its toll on her (as it should), and we see how this event haunts her and affects her (and consequently her relationship with the people around her) from the first sentence to the last.  As I was reading, I really gained a new-found respect for Tris as a character.  She struggles with being “okay” again, and she is dealing with these deep-rooted identity questions that really push her to grow even more.  Acceptance is a hard thing to grasp, and Tris’s struggle throughout this novel is incredibly realistic.  At some points, almost too realistic.  Because yes, some of Tris’ inner dialogue–as well as dialogue with Four–becomes a little angsty and whiny, and that is on the brink of being annoying.  But at the same time, that is exactly how a mature 16 year old–who essentially just went through hell–would act and sound like.  I respect Tris for her struggles and her fears.  It really shows that she is a multi-dimensional character full of depth and insight, which is not always the case with MC narrators.

Tris and Four’s relationship is probably the YA relationship that I respect the most.  Yes, it is precious and sweet and swoon-worthy, but most of all it is REAL!  Relationships are not perfect, and things do not always run smoothly.  Insurgent is full of Tris and Four fighting, disagreeing, and being angry with each other.  And that is why I love it!  Because it shows the imperfections of a great relationship, and it shows them both working together to get through the bumps in their road.  Both of them have just been through–and are still going through–a lot of horrible situations.  Things are bound to get ugly, especially when both of them are trying to figure out their own personal identities.  But to see two teenagers in love actually approach their relationship with maturity and respect for the other party is truly refreshing.

And well……Four is just so super attractive.  😉

**A comment about the ending, without spoilers, but still about the end**
Whether or not you expect where this trilogy is going, the ending has the shock value and leaves you craving for more.

Divergence is key.  Divergence is explained in a lot more detail.  Divergence becomes Insurgence.  And it is done so beautifully.  =)

This novel is full of surprises and twists that will keep you engaged and wanting more until the last page.  And then you are left wanting more, and no more is to be had until 2013.  But man, what a fantastic novel.  I cannot really express how COOL and AWESOME it truly is.  Totally lives up to the hype!

My Bookshelf Rating:

A Top Shelf Book!

This novel is non-stop!  From the very first sentence, we are thrust back into the intensity of the Divergent trilogy.  Insurgent has a thrilling and addicting plotline that drives straight through this book!  At 525 pages, it is long but it definitely does not drag!  Great character development and growth, and of course, more Four!  This book definitely lives up to–and surpasses–its release hype!  Move this one up on your to read lists, kids.  It’s just that good.

Love and May Releases!,
Jennifer

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