The next volume of Veronica Roth’s Divergent series, Insurgent, begins right where Divergent ends. Tris and Four have just thwarted the plans of Erudite to make mindless minions out of Dauntless soldiers, and now they are running for their lives. They and their friends make their way to Amity to regroup, where they learn some history and face some betrayal. Tris makes her way to Candor, is subjected to experiments, learns shocking secrets, and experiences more betrayal—all while trying to lead a rebellion to stop Erudite’s plans once and for all.
Insurgent was a gripping tale that kept me turning pages. Tris had her hands full atoning for the death of Will, rebuilding trust, nurturing a budding romance with Four, and all while carrying the weight of the world. It seemed she was constantly finding reasons to sacrifice herself for others—much to the annoyance of Four, but well within her upbringing in Abnegation.
With the collapsing of the faction system, many groups began to jockey for power. Thanks to its sycophantic leaders, Dauntless has been reduced to a security force for Erudite. Candor leadership believes they can negotiate their way towards stability. We also find out what Four’s mother has been up to as the factionless begin to flex their political muscle as well.
The politics were intense in Insurgent and added to the world Roth has been crafting since the first book. Fortunately, Roth’s strong characters still take center stage in her world, especially Tris, who has become a compelling character. I often find it puzzling that Tris has not resonated with readers the way Katniss Everdeen did in Collins’ novels. Tris affects change in the story as heroes are supposed to do.
Although all secrets are not revealed in this book, enough backstory details are revealed to make the story more plausible than before. As I covered in my last review, the deepest secrets are being withheld until the third book. This isn’t usually a detriment—most books save their mysteries for the big reveal at the end—but in Divergent, secrets and explanations tended to feel artificially avoided. Conversation would lead up to them, then dance around them, leaving an invisible presence in the story. Fortunately, withheld information was handled much better in this volume.
Towards the middle of the book, however, the story felt like the characters were going through the motions. This is a typical problem with three volume stories where the middle book keeps the story afloat, but doesn’t really go anywhere. I felt the middle events in Insurgent lacked spark. In addition, Four irritated me to no end. I found his character wishy washy, likely because he had changed from dangerous lover to protective lover. However, I enjoyed the scenes where he dealt with his mother, although I didn’t like her character. Guiltily, I liked Four’s father much more. His motivations seemed more real than the mother’s.
There is so much intrigue and excitement in this book, that readers of the first book will not be disappointed, especially when a message from one of the original founders of the Chicago experiment is discovered. The pieces that make Tris’ dystopian world make sense start to fall into place as the purpose of the Divergent is revealed. Insurgent was a good read.
Release Date: May 1, 2012 (USA)
ISBNs: 0062024043 (9780062024046)
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Alcohol/Drugs: 2 (hallucinogenics, nightmare simulations)
Language: 1 (H-word)
Sexuality: 2 (mucho smoocho, cuddling and sleeping together, but no sex)
Violence: 4 (executions, gunplay, forced suicide, fisticuffs)