Book Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Posted May 4, 2012 by Debby in Book Reviews

Book Review: Insurgent by Veronica RothInsurgent by Veronica Roth
Series: Divergent #2
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on May 1st, 2012
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 525
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased

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.

2 Stars

I just finished reading Insurgent yesterday… And I don’t really know what to think about it. SPOILER ALERT, because I honestly can’t review this without spoiling stuff.

It was just plain disappointing to me. Which is sad because I thought the first book was close to perfect. The world building, all the details and the analysis of the factions, the pros and cons of all the dominant personality traits… Action packed, with a romantic story that did not take the spotlight but was an absolutely a nice bonus. Most of all, it was a story that kept me interested the whole time, dying to figure out what was going to happen.

Insurgent however… was not like that. It just felt like especially the first 400 pages or so just kept going in circles. Especially the constant moves between safe houses… Okay, we got a glimpse of each of the factions (and the factionless) and their virtues, and how there’s logic to their thinking and everything. But maybe it would have been better to actually stay in one place a bit longer and skip one of the others? Because it all felt rushed and I didn’t really connect to any one place. It was also so routinized, and none of the moves really added anything to the story.

What happened to Tris? I understand that she had difficulty getting over killing Will, I do, but after the 2 millionth time, I just wanted to scream, “MOVE ON ALREADY”. Does that make me heartless? I don’t know. But what bothered me about it is that one of the primary reasons I liked the first book so much was that Tris was such a strong female character. And I loved that. And then here she’s just… moping, crying, wounded and it all hurts so bad.. On the one hand, I like the realism that there’s so many emotions involved, but on the other hand, there is such a thing as too much. It just didn’t fit the image that I had of Tris beforehand. And did it ultimately add to the story? I’m not quite sure.

The romance/arguing with Four was also just… constant circles… no progress… I feel like it added very little.  Way too much melodrama. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I don’t understand why Tris is still (kind of) with Four. I mean, he’s yelling at her all the time, they argue incessantly, and he gives her so many orders that it almost seems like he’s not really looking out for her best interests anymore, but that he’s just controlling her. And this again, doesn’t fit the image that I had of Tris being strong and capable of standing up for herself. It didn’t fit the image I had of Four either, for that matter. In the first book he was awesome and kind of dreamy. Here he’s a hypocritical, controlling guy with more mood swings than me during that time of the month.

Also, I was really disappointed by the lack of secondary characters. They’re barely even present, and when they are, they either get killed, have major emotional damage, or Tris completely avoids them. (I mean seriously, Fernando. Just as I think he’s pretty awesome and I think I like him, he gets shot. wtf.)

And then the “top secret information”, the twist at the end was just disappointing. It wasn’t that surprising. It wasn’t an “OH MY GODD!!!!” moment, which is what I was waiting for, it was more like “Oh… *shrug*… sure…” Maybe Roth rushed the ending, trying to make it more of an omg-i-need-more cliffhanger, so that I didn’t grasp the whole surprise and deeper implications or something but it was just a let down.

Summing Up:

I wasn’t impressed. It could definitely have been much better. In terms of actual story and content, this book could have been about 50 pages long instead of 500… That’s how I feel anyway. I’ll probably read the third book anyway, in hopes that it’ll improve immensely and this book was just an exceptional swing-and-miss for me.

Recommended To:

Hardcore Divergent fans, and fans of romantic melodrama (do those exist? *shrug*).

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7 responses to “Book Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

  1. Insurgent is one of those books I always wonder if I was too generous with in my review. The "going round in circles thing" YES – totally agree. I suppose maybe that's the problem with being contained in one city – there's nowhere physically to go. I think I might have enjoyed it more had I read Divergent more recently and I'd still like to go back and re-read them back to back to see how I feel about it then. I got them both from the library so I don't own copies to go back to. I still loved the writing and the ending which is why I gave it a positive review but I definitely had similar niggles throughout. You made some great points, thanks for sharing! 🙂
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  2. Jack

    I actually preferred this to Divergent. I thought we had a better understanding of the society they live in, and better developed characters. I think when you murder someone it's a pretty terrible thing to live with, imagine the guilt. So I understand why Tris was so upset with herself.

  3. Yeah, I know the guilt must have been horrible, but I just felt like it was a really weak way to tackle that idea. I never really felt like she grew from it, and it just was a lot of moping moping moping. But I suppose I should re-read it sometime soon and check if I still feel this way. I just know it frustrated me. There wasn't enough development in my mind.

  4. Jack

    But she was only 16 years old, so I felt that it was a very realistic way she tackled it. I think a 16 year old would be moping and moping if she murdered someone. It wouldn't have sunk in.
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  5. True, but while I do appreciate realism, I read a book for plot progression as well, and in that sense, I felt too much time was spent on Tris's inner monologues throughout a boring plot that rushed to a climax right at the end and then cut off. But that's just my opinion.