Thursday, April 19, 2012

INSURGENT by Veronica Roth review

Title: INSURGENT (sequel to DIVERGENT)
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: May 1, 2012 (not too far away!)
Number of Pages: 544
Source of Book: ARC from Editor of Awesome, Molly O'Neill, Thank you!
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.

I feel the need to release a deep breath after reading INSURGENT. The whole time I felt breathless and nervous and anxious and tense and completely engrossed from start to finish. INSURGENT moves at a breakneck pace with constant twists and turns from the very beginning, starting mere hours after the first book ended (which I loved!) and with a sense of urgency to the writing and plotting that makes absolute sense for the literal life and death situations these characters find themselves in. This book is just as fast-paced and action-packed as the first, with moments of comedic relief and sass, but then the next page smacked me across the face with an unexpected twist. Veronica Roth is a creative and talented writer in the ways she keeps the reader guessing, and I think this book was stronger than the first. It was also interesting because of the look we get inside the other factions that we didn't see as much of in the first book. The events at the end of DIVERGENT changed their world completely, and now they all have to figure out how they will deal with it (and by the way, I did reread DIVERGENT right before I read this one, and I was glad I did). And we are again taken back to landmarks in Chicago that we know, but are seen through a slightly different lens of this dystopic future. We still don't totally know how it became this way, but there are more clues in this second book, and I can only imagine the third will be even more eye-opening.

I do really like the characters in this series. Tris is so strong and so determined, but she's still a 16-year-old girl who has just lost both of her parents and saw a lot of hard to process events. INSURGENT is about her trying to find her strength again, and who she wants to be as a Divergent, and what's really important to her integrity, and how to deal with everything that happened to her in the first book, and she does it all with a determinedness that matches and meshes her three factions qualities together, making her stronger in the end. I really like the relationship between Tris and Four and the way they look out for and support each other, but there are some struggles for each of them to be true to the other. That doesn't mean it's easy though because there is quite a bit going on. Tris has a lot of focus on their relationship as it factors into all of the decisions she makes, but when you've lost everything else, you have to worry about holding on to one thing that can keep you together and it makes sense for her to want to have some constant in her life, but to be worried about being able to trust herself with all the deception going on around her. I care about these characters, and I really want things to work out for Tris and Tobias, and I want them to figure things out because they seem so made for each other - they're so brave on their own, but they still really need each other, and I appreciate the strength they find in each other. Some of the secondary characters really stepped into the spotlight more in this book too, along with some new characters, and I really enjoyed that and getting to know them better; although, their actions weren't always what I expected. It's really hard in this book to know who or what to trust, even from characters we thought we knew - and they don't all stay consistent throughout - adding to the intensity of the book.

INSURGENT was an incredibly strong second book. It did not at all fall into the dip that some second books in trilogies do with too much exposition or explanation or not enough happening and seeming to just set up the third book. There is an intelligence (thanks Erudite) to this book and the political upheaval that is going on, and it's interesting to see how the factions play into the behaviors of the people. This book never stops, and just enough information is released as we need to know it, and it definitely feels like a strong book in it's own right. There were so many moments where I couldn't put it down or stop reading because I had to know what was going to happen next. The ending is a game changer-what is revealed in the last few pages is going to affect this entire world, and I, for one, am really excited to have that little clue to what is coming in book three, and can't wait to see how Veronica Roth writes the rest of Tris and Four's strength and story in this world. Although it is shocking and unexpected, it is done in such a masterful way because of Veronica Roth's deft hand at giving us a sense of closure to the major questions for this book, but leaving us with a hint of what is to come in the next one, and yet everyone is at a place that I feel that I can leave them while I wait for the next one to come out (although I wish I didn't have to!). I feel a sense of a progression happening with the DIVERGENT being about Tris figuring herself out, INSURGENT being about Tris figuring her society out, and I'm guessing the third will be about Tris figuring the larger world out - all within the context of her place within them and who is important and trustworthy to her. I will be eagerly anticipating news of the last book in this trilogy, as I'm sure so many of you will be as well. Enjoy the ride with INSURGENT on May 1st!

For another perspective (that I completely agree with), that basically says exactly what I felt, but more coherently and eloquently, check out Anna Reads' spoiler-free review.


  1. I'm so glad you loved it! I'm relly excited to read this one. And I'm glad that it starts right after the first one... when they don't, half the time I'm like "I don't believe there was THAT much downtime".

  2. AH! I read the bit that's included in the back of the Divergent paperback and combined with your review, I just know that this is going to be a nail-biting sequel. It's nice to know that this doesn't fall into the middle book slump that is so frequent. :)

    Great review!

  3. Can't wait. What are the chances my Amazon pre-order will actually arrive early? Thanks for amping up the excitement!

  4. I cannot wait for this book. I pre-ordered it from Amazon!