Monday, September 8, 2014

Review: Insurgent (Divergent #2)

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Publisher: Harper Collins, 2012
525 pages, paperback
Source: Purchased through Kmart

One chance can transform you - or it can destroy you. Tris Prior's initiation day should have been marked by celebration; instead it ended with unspeakable horrors. Now unrest surges in the factions around her as conflict between their ideologies grows.

In times of war sides must be chosen and secrets will emerge. Tris has already paid a terrible price for survival and is wracked by haunting guilt. But radical new discoveries and shifting relationships mean that she must fully embrace her Divergence - even though she stands to lose everything.

My Review:
The stakes are even higher. Tris and a small group have escaped after the simulation that killed countless people, but their struggles are far from over. Possible war looms between the factions, and Tris and Tobias are among those most wanted by the different sides. Tris must grapple with grief, guilt, and deception as sides are declared and choices must be made, including ones that threaten her and those she loves.

Though I enjoyed the first book, INSURGENT was even better with clearer world building, stronger character development, and more intricate plots twists. Like DIVERGENT, the story reads quickly and easily, but this installment has a much quieter, somber tone. Tris, Tobias (Four), and all of the survivors are dealing with the emotional and political fallout after the simulation, and it shows. All of the characters, including those the reader loves and those who are despised, are fleshed out more and given added layers. Tris's struggle to move forward while burdened by grief and guilt is portrayed in a way that feels real and poignant. Tris and Tobias also continue to bring the swoon with simple words and small touches, despite having problems. Their relationship encounters major hurdles in this installment, but they are reasonable and justified given what's happening.

In addition to these strengths, the plot was unpredictable and gripping. The novel is full of unexpected alliances, betrayal, action, and rebellion on multiple fronts that keep the story moving. The world building also improved dramatically over that of the first book. I really enjoyed being immersed in the different factions, and the author's description of each group allowed me to imagine them clearly. I also understand now why some information was withheld in the first book, given some of the significant plot reveals.

Even though this book was great read, I still experienced a few bumps. The story starts immediately after the end of DIVERGENT with little to no recapping of events, so it took me a while to remember or figure out who certain people were or what had happened previously. A few typos and continuity errors pulled me out of the story, and some betrayals/alliances/connections seemed a little too convenient to allow certain parts of the plot to move forward. The book also suffers a bit from middle-book syndrome in that it can't stand on its own, and the ending leaves off in a dramatic place right after a big reveal.

Overall, though, INSURGENT is an impressive sequel that leaves me eager to see where the author will take the story next. Given what's revealed at the end of this novel, I can't imagine how Roth could wrap up the series with only one more book, but it's no matter to me, as I plan to keep reading whatever she offers.

My Rating:

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