Book Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Synopsis: 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.

Number of pages: 525

Rating: 9/10

Overall Impression: A great sequel to Divergent. The action is relentless, and the constant feeling of not knowing who to trust or who is speaking the truth is ever present. I found myself not liking Tris as much this time around, but liking Four more and more.
Insurgent (Divergent, #2)

Divergent was the book that set out the framework of Tris' world. Insurgent is the book where everything falls apart and the real truth about this society starts to trickle through. I imagine 'Detergent', the as yet not-properly-named third book will be the rebellion and fall of this current society, and possibly an escape into the outside world.

It leaves off exactly where it finished in Divergent. Tris has broken the simulation that was controlling the Dauntless, which had been making them kill the Abnegation. They are now essentially on the run from the Erudite (the power-hungry bad guys) and the Dauntless traitors. As the story progresses, it becomes clear that the Divergent are more numerous than alluded to in the first book, and that the Erudite think they pose a threat to the order of things.

While Tris, Four and various others are on the run, we get to see the other factions that were essentially only mentioned in the last book: Amity, Candor and Erudite. Or at least, we get a glimpse of what they were like before the events that are unfolding started happening.

Amity, the friendly faction, reminded me of how Hufflepuff is usually (but not always rightly) viewed: pushovers, accepting of anyone, not overly useful in a fight. This faction was bright, colourful and democratic, almost to a fault.

Candor, the truthful faction, wielded veritaserum Truth Serum like it could solve anything. To them, everything was black and white, and why wouldn't it be when everyone in your faction told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. While it can be said that the truth can set you free, Tris is a firm believer of keeping some things close to the chest.

Erudite, the smart faction, is definitely painted as the Big Bad. Jeanine, the leader of Erudite, is power-hungry, looking to eliminate the Divergent and take over the whole city, and I should think, rule with an iron fist, backed by Dauntless soldiers.

We also get to meet the factionless. The factionless are people who didn't make it through initiation in their chosen factions, or left their factions. A lot of them are Divergent. They are led by Four's mother. They made me think of the sewer mutants in Futurama... Anyway, they are spearheading the rebellion against Erudite and the faction system overall. The very idea of a factionless society is shocking to Tris, which I thought was quite ironic, her being Divergent and all.
No factions? A world in which no one knows who they are or where they fit? I can't even fathom it. I imagine only chaos and isolation.
Surely, a factionless society would suit someone like her better. She wouldn't have to choose just one side of herself, but embrace them all. But of course this is one of the themes of the book. Tris has to accept that while she may have chosen to become Dauntless, she also has traits from Erudite and Abnegation that influence her decision making.

I said in my review of Divergent that I quite liked Tris, that she was a strong character, and a likeable protaganist. Well, I've changed my mind. I found her rather wet this time. I don't know exactly what changed but she got on my nerves sometimes. I mean, I know there was a lot of stuff she was dealing with, like the death of her parents and the consequences of her actions, but it seemed to make her freeze up and cause her to put herself in unnecessary dangerous situations. She redeemed herself a bit when she started to apply the Erudite part of herself to situations.

On the other hand, I was liking Four/Tobias more and more as the book went on. He is the voice of reason for Tris, a rock in the ever-changing world they are now living in. Four is harbouring some deep -seated issues from his past, with his father (Marcus) who abused him, and his mother (Evelyn) who he felt like had abandoned him. A lot of the emotional conflict in this book comes from whether Four could trust his own mother (the rumours of her death were greatly exaggerated) and whether Tris should go behind Four's back and trust his father. This storyline was very well done, with the politics and machinations causing building tension between Four and Tris. This was one of the times I actually felt really sympathetic to Tris, because you just know that Four is going to have a hard time forgiving her, if he ever does.

The cliffhanger at the end caught me by surprise. I did not see that coming! And it is most definitely a cliffhanger. There is something big being hidden from everyone, not just about why being Divergent is apparently dangerous, but about what is outside the fences at the city limits. I am intrigued! I really want to know why they locked away a city, and separated everyone in to factions. I mean, who decided that would be a good idea? Was it like a social experiment? Or was it more nefarious?

Is there a release date yet for Detergent??

1 comment on "Book Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth"

  1. Detergent! Hah! That's hilarious.

    It's scheduled for Autumn in the US btw. Still untitled.

    It's been a while since I read it, but yes, the cliff hanger was distinctive. Especially as I didn't realise it was going to be a trilogy.

    Incidentally, Divergent is being made into a movie. Filming to start in the Spring.

    Dystopian fiction really has taken off hasn't it?