*Contains spoilers for Divergent (Book 1).
I can’t review a Divergent series book without mentioning the excellent Honest Trailers version of Divergent. Check it out. It makes a lot of hilarious observations, which would both irk and amuse Veronica Roth, I would imagine, though the comparisons to other blockbusting series were always inevitable.
Insurgent continues the story of the very bad-ass Tris Prior in dystopian Chicago. In Divergent, she deviated from the faction she was born into, Abnegation (the selfless one), to join the inherently fun-loving, Evil Knievel faction Dauntless. The big bad Jeanine of Erudite (the clever one) used a mind-control serum to turn Dauntless soldiers into killing machines. Tris was unaffected as she displays traits of three factions, making her divergent, and in this city, dangerous. She ended up losing a mother and killing a best friend, Will, so at the beginning of Insurgent, she is a little miffed, but also more than a bit broken.
There’s a lot to this I like, and a lot that irritated. Tris is a strong central character for one, and her determination to be herself shone through in Divergent. Here, however, she has a tendency towards headlessness when making decisions. She is the perennial martyr, seemingly determined to sacrifice herself, often in situations where martyrdom would be fruitless. Despite all this, I do enjoy her arc as a strong-willed character. Just…think before you act Tris. Ok?
The other main issue is her divergent compatriate and boyfriend, Tobias. He sulks when Tris doesn’t obey him and is all over her when she complains. Maybe he just rubs me up the wrong way.
Plotwise, it’s standard enough fare. Try to get to the bad guys in their ivory tower. Roth excels in writing action scenes well, and when Tris and Tobias are in full flow, it’s exciting and enthralling. The only problem here is sometimes there’s just not much happening. Tris and Tobias spend a lot of time going somewhere in the city to meet someone, discussing alliances, then go somewhere else, and repeat.
There are enough twists and suspense to just about sustain the reader, but Roth does test the old patience, particularly in the first half of the book.
I will read Allegiant, the third and final book, but mainly because I’m stubborn and I like reading and finishing series.
My name is Derek, and I have a thing for books.