Monday, November 4, 2013

Rereading Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)I wake with his name in my mouth. Will. Before I open my eyes, I watch him crumple to the pavement again. Dead.

 Plot summary from Amazon: "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. New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature."

*Spoilers for Divergent*

I recently reread Divergent in preparation for Allegiant's release, even though it was really Insurgent I couldn't remember much about. Most people would agree that Insurgent is not quite as good as Divergent, but it's still a very suspenseful and absorbing sequel. It's just slightly less relatable, and perhaps a little less suspenseful, even though there's rapid-fire action, and the ending is one giant cliffhanger. It's also at least one hundred pages longer than Divergent, which might have something to do with it. Still, I really love Insurgent, and as second books go, it's a good one.

As well lots of action and storming of compound scenes, Veronica Roth also focuses on the complexity of human relationships. I really love how Tris and Four have a lot of conflicts and tension with one another throughout the book; they don't always agree with one another's choices, and I feel like that's a much more realistic portrayal of romance and love than we often get in young adult fiction, where it's all happily ever after. Roth also attempts to shade in the various aspects of the characters, and she talks very movingly about Tris's extreme guilt at having killed Will while he was being brainwashed. Another part of the book that I really enjoyed was the way Tris is seriously struggling with all of the violence that's going on around her, and the violence that she's perpetrated. Also, she's just lost both of her parents in one day, and her remaining friends are all in danger, so all in all, she's got a lot of issues and it's totally realistic that she's kind of going through some post traumatic stress disorder. As the summary so succinctly puts it, the book is full of "haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships".

Insurgent might be a bit intoxicating. It's certainly really, really fast-paced in terms of all the new developments. Roth does develop the characters very well, but somehow less so than in Divergent. Perhaps it's because here it's only the subtleties. But those are the little things that make the characters human and flawed and interesting.

 The action in this book is amazing, and there's certainly a lot more of the storming secure fortresses variety than in Divergent, in which Tris is trying to figure out what the heck Divergence is and her feelings about Abnegation and Dauntless. In Insurgent, she still has a lot of figuring out to do, but about different things. Also, a full-scale conflict has erupted, which ultimately, I think, is what really marks the difference between the two books. Just like Divergent though, Insurgent is really enthralling, and very tense.

There are some great scenes with Tobias and Tris; as I said earlier, their relationship is really developed more in Insurgent, and there are moments both fraught with conflict and swoon-worthy ones. This is one of my favorite secondary but still important aspects of the book, although of course the larger conflict is foremost. Several interesting new characters are introduced, and characters from the first book are more fully fleshed out, such as Peter and Edward.

Fans of books full of action might like Insurgent more than Divergent, but both books are amazing in terms of entertainment and how surprisingly smart they are. Rereading the first two books has gotten me super pumped for Allegiant's release; I can't wait to see how Roth finishes off the trilogy (and what is she going to work on next?). There's also a print edition of the novellas from Four's point of view coming out in February.

525 pages.

Rating: *****

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