Tuesday, May 8, 2012

[Review] Insurgent (#2) by Veronica Roth

(#2, Divergent trilogy)
Divergent | Insurgent | Untitled
Author: Veronica Roth
Publication (dd/mm/yyyy): 01/05/2012
Publisher: HarperCollins (Katherine Tegan Books)
Pages: 530
Source: Bought
Violence | Sexual Content | Profanity

My Rating:
The Review:

Ah, Insurgent, how I have waited so very long to read you. Considering Veronica Roth’s debut novel, Divergent, was one of the most anticipated 2011 releases and has had notorious popularity since, there was no way to avoid the constant barrage of Insurgent-related hubbub, which DROVE ME CRAZY! Luckily I received my pre-order just 3 days after its release date.

Anyway, let’s get to it. Obviously, if you have not read Divergent, I have to ask you: What are you doing here reading this here review? Get out there and crack that spine! Since this is a really long review (by my standards anyway), the coloured text has returned! I might use this for future reviews from now on, since I personally love seeing reviews like this. :P

What is this book about?

Insurgent takes place directly after Divergent. (If you want my notes on Divergent, feel free to comment below and I’ll email it to you. I would have been lost had I not made those when I read Divergent!)

After the Dauntless-under-simulation have attacked the Abnegation faction (we learn that Jeanine, an Erudite leader, was behind it), Tris, Caleb (her brother), Four/Tobias, Marcus (Tobias’ abusive and domineering Abnegation father) and Peter (Dauntless initiate who bullied Tris among others)—have escaped and are on their way to seek refuge in the Amity faction. They need to find a way to set things right, to destroy Jeanine, and her plans, for good.

What we begin to see is a world that is crumbling in a relentless power struggle against the factions. What Tris wants above all else is the truth—what did her mother and father die for?—and she is convinced Marcus can help her find out. Tris also deals with the repercussions of killing Will, her parents’ deaths, and she must sort out how she feels for Tobias now that their world is changing.


As I said, I’ve been waiting a very long time, as have many of you I’m sure. Did Insurgent live up to my expectations? For the most part, yes, I’m glad to say. There were a few things that bothered me, but I was captivated by the plot throughout and I loved familiarising myself with the characters and seeing how those relationships have change from Book 1.

At 500+ pages, Insurgent is kind of a long book. But in these 500+ pages we get descriptive passages in exploration of the different factions that we didn't see much of in Divergent, namely Amity and Candor.
The doors to the building are wide open. Around the edge of the circular greenhouse, plants and trees grow in troughs of water or small pools. Dozens of fans positioned around the room serve only to blow the hot air around, so I am already sweating. But that fades from my mind when the crowd around me thins and I see the rest of the room.
        In its centre grows a huge tree. Its branches are spread over most of the greenhouse, and its roots bubble up from the ground, forming a dense web of bark.
(p. 18, on Amity)
I just absolutely loved that Veronica Roth allowed us more information on the other factions, especially Amity. It is definitely now my second favourite faction (besides Dauntless). I was able to feel like I was right there, so vivid were the sights and smells in the descriptions (sample: above quote).

If you found yourself unable to tear away from the pages in Divergent, you’ll be having the exact same problem in Insurgent! The writing style was generally the same: quick, to the point, but also brimming with energy and emotion. Once again, it is written in Tris’ perspective. Tris’ character—and voice—changes as she loses herself to grief, oppression, a sense of helplessness, among other things. She is not the same girl we met in Book 1, that’s for sure! Despite that, I loved following her thought processes, especially as she unravels.

Tris is not, by any means, weak, even if what I just said seems to indicate that. She shot people, and even killed one of her friends in a moment of panic! She narrowly escaped death by drowning in Divergent. Obviously, she’s got a lot to think about. Rather than confide in her Tobias, she retreats into herself and assumes two ‘modes’—Recklessly Dauntless Tris and Lost-The-Will-To-Fight, Can’t-Hold-a-Gun Tris. Despite the fact that she makes some bad decisions and makes trouble, I couldn't help but empathise with her. We were there when she went through those traumatic events, so that only makes sense that I was able to understand what she was going through.
I finally look at him.
“I just don’t want to lose you.”
We stand there for a few minutes. I don’t say what I’m thinking, which is that he might be right. There is a part of me that wants to be lost, that struggles to join my parents and Will so that I don’t have to ache for them anymore. A part of me that wants to see whatever comes next. (p. 212)
Speaking of Tobias, he proves to still be pretty cool. Unlike many fangirls, I was more invested in how his relationship with Tris, as well as his father, Marcus, was headed. For a short while, Fourtris seem to be getting along swimmingly as they divulge in some gloriously heated moments, but then they hit turbulence—disagreement, as is expected when two strong personalities collide in the face of political shift. Yes, I shed tears—some of their scenes were that emotional!

I adore unexpected and untraditional heroes and we see a little of that idea shine through in this book. For example, the characters we saw only as the bad guys in Divergent. Tris is more determined to find out the truth, than just shooting down those who should be shot down. By the end we finally, FINALLY find out why Jeanine orchestrated the attacks, and while her actions were morally bankrupt, she also had very logical reasons in doing those things. She is only one such example of the exploration of the greys in characters we only saw as having blackness.

Emotionally draining at times, emotionally uplifting at others, I felt that Insurgent explored the effects of war and civil unrest really well. We see how it changes people, and how it tests relationships. There are so many unexpected twists, but I also love that Tris is so perceptive (remember she had aptitude for Erudite!) and isn’t like those typical, clueless heroines.

Some things that bothered me ... (highlight with cursor to read—spoilers ahead)
  • - Yes, people died. Some of them affected me somewhat while others didn’t faze me at all. They mostly died for dumb/non reasons and I just felt it was so that Roth could show that no one is safe.
  • - The easy and quick resolution with Tris and Tobias’ relationship, which had been rocky for a good chunk of this book.
  • - For a faction that bases its whole being in logical reasoning, I found it too convenient that Tobias always had a gun on hand while he was IMPRISONED in Erudite HQ.
The heart-pounding journey of self-discovery and the uncovering of explosive secrets continues into Insurgent! I just could not get enough! If you found yourself enjoying Divergent, this is a no-brainer: READ IT!


First lines: "I wake with his name in my mouth. Will. Before I open my eyes, I watch him crumple to the pavement again. My doing."

...I close the scissors over the hair by my chin.
How can I look the same, when she's gone and everything is different? I can't.
(p. 16)
"Sometimes...people just want to be happy, even if it's not real."
(p. 68)
My eyes are too blurry to see her, but I feel her when she wraps her arms around me and squeezes so hard it hurts. She smells like coconut oil and she feels strong, exactly like she was during initiation into Dauntless.... Back then—which was not so long ago—she made me feel weak, but now her strength makes me feel like I could be stronger too.
(p. 304)
My absolute favourite one is kind of long, so I haven't included it. For those who have a copy of the book (US HB), pp. 156-158 (Hon. mention to p. 409).




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Leave your Divergent/Insurgent reviews in your comments! I can finally read them. :)

I have received this review copy in return for an honest review.

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