Monday, May 14, 2012

Insurgent - Veronica Roth

Title: Insurgent (sequel to Divergent)
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (HarperCollins), 2012 (Hardcover)
Length: 525 pages
Genre: Young Adult; Dystopian Fiction
Started: May 6, 2012
Finished: May 13, 2012

From the inside cover:
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.

After falling in love with Divergent last year, I knew picking up Insurgent was a necessity. Insurgent picks up where Divergent left off, with Tris and Tobias in the aftermath of the Erudite attacks on Abnegation, trying to figure out how to stop Erudite from usurping everything. In the midst of escaping both Erudite forces and the traitors from Dauntless, Tris and Tobias must decide whether to save the information that Abnegation died trying to protect that is now in Erudite hands or to infiltrate Erudite and destroy it in hopes of stopping the war. Tris soon finds out that things aren't so black and white in times of conflict, that people aren't always who you think they are, and people you think you know sometimes surprise you; and decisions must be made based on personal morality rather than faction loyalty. 

One thing I wished I had done before reading Insurgent was to re-read Divergent. I usually don't need to do that when going on to the 2nd book in a series, but I probably should have for this. I got my bearings back eventually, but after reading the first book a year prior, I was a little rusty regarding all the little events that culminated to the end of Divergent that get brought up in Insurgent and all the non-major characters that reappear.

Insurgent doesn't have the same breakneck action-packed pace that Divergent had, at least in my opinion, but that's because you're dealing with a more focused plot with less tangents/backstories, Divergent had to introduce a lot of concepts that come to a head in Insurgent, so it felt like something was always going on, versus in Insurgent where it seems things go a little slower. Not that it wasn't any less enjoyable for me, but the difference in the pace was noticeable. 

Tris grows a lot as a character in Insurgent. She realizes that even people who aren't Divergent don't always act according to their factions, and that they shouldn't necessarily be so stuck in one mindset that defines their faction loyalty. She makes personal decisions that go against Tobias that she knows could jeopardize their relationship, but she does so anyway because she knows that its the right decision for her. We learn about Tobias and he gets a fair share of growth as well, especially regarding Tris' decision at the end of the book, it reinforced how much I like Tobias as a character. There's also a spotlight on all the factions, you get to see more of the interior workings of Amity, Candor, and Erudite, whereas in Divergent you only really saw inside Abnegation and Dauntless. 

This was very much a bridge book that deals with the aftermath of the Erudite attacks and spends the entire book getting to the 'why' behind them, which leads to a spectacular ending that I didn't see coming. I believe book 3 will be amazing due to the bombshell dropped at the end of Insurgent, so I will be waiting impatiently for Fall 2013 when the final book is due for release. 

Didn't blow me away like Divergent did, but still a very good installment that sets the stage for what's sure to be a mind-blowing finale. 

Thoughts on the cover:
I adore these covers, mostly because they feature symbols rather than cliched poses of human characters. Whereas on Divergent's cover we had the Dauntless fiery piece, Insurgent's cover has Amity's tree symbol. The cover takes it a little further by extending the branches and leaves to create a really cool swirl effect, plus with the shades of green this makes it a really impressive cover. 

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