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Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

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.

“Come on, Insurgent”, he says with a wink.

[…]“Insurgent,” he says. “Noun.  A person who acts in opposition to the established authority, who is not necessary regarded as belligerent.” ~ Insurgent

Warning: Here be spoilers for Divergent. There are minor spoilers within, but I will do my best not to spoil any of the main plot points of Insurgent. I’m going to go with the assumption that you’ve already read Divergent, so … consider yourself warned! Additionally, all quotes are from the ARC version, so may be different in the finished copy.

 Words cannot describe how excited I was to lay my hands on this book (thank you, Rachel!). To be absolutely honest, I actually held off and re-read Divergent first – and man, am I ever glad that I did.

Insurgent jumps right back into the rollercoaster of action that we left in Divergent. Tris, Four and the others have escaped the horrific scenario and have found refuge with the people of Amity. However, the people of Amity aren’t necessarily happy to have the peace of their faction disrupted, and it’s fascinating to see how they make decisions as a community. My controlling Type-A personality was as restless as Tris as I read how the Amnity Faction silently and calmly came to a consensus in a communal setting.

What I loved about this book was the development of Tris and Four as individuals. Thankfully, there is no woe-begotten love triangle to complicate issues, as their lives are complicated enough without such a trope. Tris holds her secrets from the first book close, and the resulting guilt guides her decisions throughout this story. Four, too, has secrets that are revealed, and their relationship is sorely tested, as they need to learn to trust each other. They have developed the ability to trust each other with their lives, but giving each other their hearts is a far more dangerous step for them to take. There is a point where they volunteer to take a truth serum; in doing so, they reveal so much of who they are as individuals and why they are such a good match.

Tris becomes much more self-aware in this book. As mentioned, she harbours tremendous guilt, and even during the events that follow, she makes all her decisions as a way to repent for her actions. It’s a great reminder that she’s still a young adult, and that she is still growing into who she is to become. She is very much an average teenage girl in this book, and her actions and emotions are completely in tune with what we expect from her. Her struggle between her Abnegation and Dauntless selves is very much the struggle of any teenager; it makes her very believable, and, as a result, she very quickly became one of my favourite characters.

Insurgent is a book about shades of grey. The rigid structure so routinely found in Divergent is beginning to fray in this book, and the resultant discord begins to affect everyone in different ways. When there is grey, then there are shadows, and secrets hide in these shadows. There is no defined “good” or “evil” in this book, as people are revealed to have motives that are not suspected until they choose to share them. Surprises are sprinkled throughout the book, so don’t let up your guard; just when you think you’ve made it through a rather harrowing experience, something else jumps out at you from the shadows to scare the bejesus out of you.

Ultimately, though, Insurgent is a book about families, both those by blood and by choice. Diversity becomes a necessity for survival in the world of Tris and Four, and the reader soon realizes that all of the qualities in each faction correspond to the qualities found within a family. By a family’s very nature, this means that some individuals may need to be Divergent, and individuals may take different roles as the needs arrive. What’s difficult for Tris and her group to accept, however, is giving a piece of yourself to others in trust; trusting in ‘the family’ to catch you when you fall, both metaphorically and literally.

This is a very complicated book for the second of a series. There is much to learn, and the story develops nicely. I’m not kidding about the pacing, though; there is so much that goes on that you really need to pay attention to the little things or you may need to go back to re-read. Having said that, the ending is a fabulous set up for the conclusion of the series, and I can’t wait to see what Roth does with our favourites in book three.

“People, I have discovered, are layers and layers of secrets. You believe you know them, that you understand them, but their motives are always hidden from you, buried in their own hearts. You will never know them, but sometimes you decide to trust them.” ~ Insurgent, page 510 (ARC)

Insurgent Trailer:

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2 Responses »

  1. Though I have a few things I liked less in Insurgent, overall it was such a great read. It really touched on some more important issues (which was something I thought was missing from Divergent) – like family and trust. Glad your review pointed them out!


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