Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent, #2
Release date: May 1st, 2012
by HarperTeen

Goodreads / Purchase
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.

There is no denying that this was one of the most anticipated titles of the year. I, like many others, quickly became enthralled inside Veronica Roth's dystopian world where factions decide our values, and fitting in is of the upmost importance. This sequel, although still exciting, is a much somber book centering on Tris' grief and self discovery, rather than on the plot itself.

"Grief is not as heavy as guilt, but it takes more away from you." 
-Quoted from finished copy of Insurgent.

Divergent's ending undoubtedly left most of us inside a bubble of emotion. Every war has casualties - this one is no different. In Insurgent, we see the aftermath of this grief. Tris struggles with regret, guilt, and depression; she is quite different from the tough, resilient character we got to know. I understand completely why these changes in her personality occurred. I really do. Her life has been blown to smithereens. It still didn't stop me from eventually getting annoyed by her constant self pity. The moodiness and bitchiness seemed to go on endlessly. Consequently, Four gets fed up with her self-destructive attitude and becomes kind of a jerk. On one hand, I value Tris' moments of clarity that stem from her reflections of her own character. She comes to truly honorable decisions, proving her Divergent state further. But it doesn't erase the fact that this is a very long book filled with a lot of angst. Let's just say I will be happy to (hopefully) get the old Tris back again in the third book.

With Tris' PTSD, and Four's frustrations, we get a very confusing, emotional romance. Their connection was built in Divergent and now they're struggling. I applaud at how the relationship is handled in a situation where there's so much interference. Their extreme circumstances forces them to work through endless disagreements and unimaginable obstacles. What we get is a very distressing, perilous relationship, but genuinely realistic. Where most people would have given up, these two stubborn beings keep fighting for each other, picking up the other's broken pieces. It's believable and touching, however it's not easygoing on our emotions.

You're going to have to keep your head in gear during this story. There is a lot of back and forth between the faction compounds; if you don't read it in one sitting it's easy to lose track of where they are, or what their intentions are in any particular moment. I wasn't confused more than I wanted to get to the point; the shuffling around can make the plot feel like it's dragging at times. What we learned about these factions in the first book gets a bit more complicated in this one when everyone seems to band together to fight the war. Factions are divided among themselves, and now we have the factionless who we learn aren't the dismal, society degrading derelicts they've been portrayed as. This is only one tidbit of the expanding world building that we attain in this sequel. We get a better glimpse inside the factions at a more personal level. We also broaden our knowledge of the past which makes us understand how we resulted in this post apocalyptic state. In turn, this awakens us to the world beyond the fence. Although most of this information is only dispersed at the very end - promising an extremely intriguing third installment.

A solid addition to the series, Insurgent dishes out enough world development to give a good momentum to the story, in addition to great character and relationship building. The characters especially go through drastic changes which may get different reactions from some, but in the end I found it important for Tris to have searched out who she is, besides being a natural progression to where we were left off in Divergent.

4 Hot Espressos

The Divergent series so far:

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