Author: Veronica Roth
Published: May 1st 2012
By: Harper Collins
First line: I wake with his name in my mouth.
Last line: Then the shouting begins.
Fave line: “That’s why you like me!” I exclaim. “Because you’re not very nice either! It makes so much more sense now.”
OK, so Insurgent was one of my most anticipated books of 2012. I loved everything about the world that Veronica Roth created in Divergent. The rationale behind the plot was flawless, the characters easy to love and/or detest (delete as appropriate) and the flow of the story just kept me hooked from start to finish. My expectations for this sequel were therefore spectacularly high and to be honest I kind of thought I was setting myself up for a fall just a little bit. I re-read Divergent before Insurgent arrived and I am glad I did. I was surprised at how many of the smaller details had wiped themselves off the surface of my brain between then and now. As a final show of geekiness I, along with a friend, took the day off of work to just read. The end result? Veronica Roth took my expectations and blew them out of the water completely.
Insurgent begins where Divergent ends, that is, as those who have survived the simulation are heading for Amity. The flow between the two books is absolutely seamless. Where the huge step change takes place is within the characters themselves, most notably with Tris. Tris is not only grieving for those that she has loved and lost, she is also grieving and guilt-ridden for those that she herself has killed. For Tobias (Four) it is the arrival of his father that has left him balancing precariously on the edge. Both however do still have the same goal and that is to find some kind of resolution for the political crisis that threatens the safety of all the factions. For a good section of the book we travel from faction to faction as well as to the factionless as Tris and Four and their companions try to find a way out of their current situation. I enjoyed reading more about the individual factions, especially those that seem to be the ‘gentler’ of the factions at surface level. It’s strange how behaviour which might have seemed normal or appropriate in some factions seemed all the more sinister when carried out with a smile or in the name of truth. Even in the humour which exists through the plot there is an element of darkness to it.
There are plenty of twists and turns throughout Insurgent, many of which I just did not see coming at all. There are some wonderful new characters but we also see the return of some old favourites and it is sometimes the case that individuals we think we know are not always what they seem. It was interesting to see how the changes in society affects everyone’s perceptions of the factions they have chosen as well as forcing them to re-evaluate their friends and family, sometimes for the better sometimes for the worse. The relationship between Tris and Four doesn’t so much progress as stumble through this book. Both are lacking in honesty at times, communication seems to be at an all time low and there are times when you wonder if their relationship is strong enough to cope with what lies ahead of them. That said, through the course of the book there are some really beautiful moments between them, some humorous, some just downright sweet and it is these moments that bring a much needed lighter edge to the story.
For all that I love Tris in this book as much as I did in Divergent. Her experiences have in some ways made her weaker but it is her acknowledgement of those weaknesses that somehow make her stronger in the end. Her behaviour at times is self-destructive and irrational but underneath it all she is as principled as she ever was, so much so that she is prepared to betray those she loves most for the greater good. YA needs more characters like her. As for Four, he is the complex mix of emotions that he ever was. He is as determined as Tris, at times more vulnerable than he ever was and even though he sometimes gets it as wrong as Tris does he is as loyal to her and to his beliefs as he ever was. It’s just a shame that the two don’t always go hand in hand.
The ending of Insurgent bought about an amazing twist in the plot which creates all kinds of possibilities for book three and whilst it ends on a cliff-hanger there is also a certain amount of closure within this story itself. Of course that’s not to say that I won’t have chewed my nails down to my knuckles by the time the last part of the trilogy is released. I’m not sure I can actually wait another year!
N.B – for those of you that can’t wait to read Insurgent but feel the need to catch up on what has happened so far, Veronica Roth has put together this little guide to remembering stuff that you might find handy:
Rating: 5/5. Insurgent was everything I expected it to be and more! Loved it, loved it, loved it!!