Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Type: Hardcover, bought
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.
Since I'm often that sourpuss who dislikes the well-loved novels, I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this novel, despite the negative reviews.
I think your opinion of this novel and its predecessor will depend on your type of read. If the main reason you enjoyed Divergent was the crazy action and non-stop badassery on the part of the protagonist, then Insurgent may not be for you. But if you can enjoy a slower, more thoughtful sort of read than the whirlwind that was Divergent, I think you'll be a fan of this novel.
That's not to say there isn't action. There is, and plenty of it. But this novel is much more introspective, and spends a fair amount of time on its characters--not only Tris, or Four, but numerous side characters. While I enjoy a fast pace, I think I enjoyed it even more that Insurgent took the time to add a new layer of depth to the characters we came to know in Divergent. In some dystopians, so much time is spent on developing the plot and the world that the characters sort of . . . fall to the wayside. It was wonderful to see such a painfully realistic cast of characters, even in such an unreal setting.
I know many were irritated with Tobias's treatment of Tris, and their relationship as a whole, but personally . . . I loved it. I really, really loved it. I love that he was willing to call her out on being an idiot. I love that he refuses to treat her like she's made of glass. So many love interests nowadays seem to think it's their job to protect the heroine from the world, to shield her, and they end up treating her like more of a valuable than a human being. Tobias treats Tris like a person; a person with faults and mistakes and a mind of their own.
Also, despite acknowledging that Tobias was right to call Tris out on being an idiot--despite acknowledging that yes, she was acting very foolishly at times--I didn't hate her. In fact, I wasn't even bothered by her. Not the slightest bit. Many reviewers were sad that the kick-ass Tris of Divergent seemed to be somewhat missing, but . . . I feel like that's to be expected. Sure, it's wonderful to have a heroine who can take care of herself, rescue those around her, save the world, etc. But after everything she experienced in Divergent, her reaction was completely, 100% realistic. Every bit of it. I think that in many action- and death-heavy novels, authors fail to acknowledge the impact these events would have on the protagonist. The protagonists just carry on. Tris doesn't. Tris is haunted. Tris is reckless. Tris is very, very lonely. And that's exactly how I'd expect her to be.
While I absolutely adored the character development and surprising depth to this novel, I can't bring myself to give it five stars. The plot occasionally seemed rather confusing and haphazard; certain stereotypes near the end were incredibly grating; and the ending, while certainly a shocker, verges on nonsensical. Also, I wanted a bit more complexity to the villains of the piece. Roth does explain their motivations to a certain extent, and I appreciate that, and there are very few who are so awful it's cheesy, but some antagonists were so flatly evil that I had some difficulty really believing in them, or fearing them.
Overall, though, I was very impressed with this novel. It was powerful and captivating and just genuinely enjoyable. It's safe to say I'm excited for the conclusion to this trilogy.
4 stars. Or, well, more like 4.25 stars, if we're getting very technical.