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Emma Maree Reviews: Insurgent

US Cover

UK Cover

Book: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Series: The Divergent Trilogy, Book 2

Genre: Fiction/Young Adult/Sci-Fi/Dystopian

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.

This review will contain spoilers for Divergent. You can view my original spoiler-free Divergent review here.

Back when I reviewed Divergent I was quite unhappy with the book, and not for the normal reasons — the writing was flawless, and the action was gripping. I kept the review free of a lot of that annoyance, thankfully, but the issue still weighed on me…

It was about Al. Al’s this big, bullied Dauntless trainee from a troubled home who falls for our main girl Tris. Tris is happy being good friends with him, but his romantic feelings make her uncomfortable and she tries to avoid facing them. Then Al messes up and helps some of the more popular guys attack her in the middle of the night. He leaves when he realizes things are getting serious, but not before he’s smashed their friendship to smithereens.

Afterwards, Al tries to apologize. He’s clearly in a bad way, and Tris sees this, but she refuses to forgive him even when he shows that he’s really torn-up and desperate. At this point, I’m seeing all the warning signs and making a face a bit like NoNoNo cat.

Al kills himself. Tris doesn’t react to this with any kind of sympathy, in fact, she gets outright annoyed when they hold a service honoring him. And this angered me. I’m touchy about how mental illnesses and suicide is handled in fiction, and I felt like the book was deliberately taking an anti-suicide viewpoint completely opposed to my own feelings as a reader. It alienated me from Tris, it even made me uneasy about the author and hesitant to pick up the second book.

But I picked up Insurgent, and you know what? It made me feel so much better.

The two big issues I had with Divergent where Tris’ apathy over Al’s suicide and some confusion over the worldbuilding, and Insurgent really digs into both of these. Tris’ realizes she messed up by not forgiving Al when he begged for it, she regrets her actions, and we get to explore some of the deeper, more problematic elements of a world where everyone’s divided by their strengths.

Insurgent really is fantastic: the combat is well-researched, the injuries play out realistically, the politics and strategies are interesting without getting boring, and the main pair Tris and Four have this powerful argument-fueled relationship where they both have to try and balance out each other’s differences. This is the first book in the series where I’ve really, truly liked Tris as a character, and supported her actions, and it was great fun watching the story unfold.

Insurgent was a great example of how to improve on a first novel without slowing down the action. Now I’m really looking forward to the third book in the series.

Road Trip Wednesday: Which Divergent Faction Are You?

Today, for their Road Trip Wednesday question for bloggers, YA Highway asked: What Faction Are You? In honor of their Book of the Month, Veronica Roth’s INSURGENT, we want to know which of the five factions in the DIVERGENT series would you choose? Here’s a great breakdown of the five factions, and if you’re on the fence, you can even take the quiz for a hint!

This one was a clear-cut choice for me.

  • Back when I reviewed Divergent, I had trouble putting myself in the reckless, foolhardy Dauntless group’s shoes, so  clearly don’t have the balls (or the lacking brain cells ;P) for that.
  • I focus a lot on my own goals (WRITING WRITING WRITING) so I’m too self-centered for the selfless Abnegation.
  • The quiz gave me Candor, and while I do love small doses blunt honesty I think I’d hate their tactless methods of deploying it.
  • Erudite, land of the bookworms and intellects, is the one calling to my inner Ravenclaw self. But they focus on reading non-fiction, and my passion lies with fiction.
  • So it was a clear-cut choice: Amity, the soft touches who think friendship will solve everyone’s problems. They’re basically the hippy faction, but they’re also the only faction that encourages the creation of art. And without art, I’d go mad very fast.

Now I really want to go read Insurgent…

 

February Book of the Month

Today, for their Road Trip Wednesday question for bloggers, YA Highway asked: What was the best book you read in February?

This is, without a doubt, Veronica Roth’s “Divergent”.

I’ve actually been completely conflicted about this book–I got so immersed in the world that I over thinking elements, which meant I started over thinking my review, so I froze up and stalled and avoided hitting ‘publish’ on the review because I was blowing up everything out of proportion.

And that’s how I know I loved it. I got ridiculously, unconsciously invested in the world.

I’ll pop the review up tomorrow. 🙂

What did you choose for your response? Drop a link to your answer in the comments!