Sunday, May 6, 2012

Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)Book: Insurgent
Series: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publishing Date: May 1st, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
My rating: 4 Stars

Actual Rating: 4.5 Stars Also, spoilers from the first book.
My face after I finished:

Wat, Shocked Face Pictures, Images and Photos

Roth, way to make me sob for the next book.

How will I start this review? I'll start it with a quote from the book itself, because this book deserves to be quoted:

People, I have discovered, are layers and layers of secrets. You believe you know them, that you understand them, but their motives are always hidden from you, buried in their own hearts. You will never know them, but sometimes you decide to trust them.

I loved this book, despite some of its inconsistencies, because of the strength of its characters and because of what it says about human nature and the world. I know some don't like Insurgent as much as Divergent, and that's understandable. Insurgent takes things to a darker, grittier level. This is the aftermath of the first book, where Tris has already seen family die and killed a friend with her own hands. For much of the beginning, I felt hopeless, just as I'm sure she did, too. That doesn't make up for the fact that Tris makes some pretty stupid decisions. For example, turning herself in when it wouldn't have done much good in the first place. I mean, all that happened was that they would run tests on her and try to control everyone, so I didn't see how she thought self-execution would help. But I can't hope to understand someone who has basically had all of her family torn away, who doesn't know whom to trust, and who's consumed by grief and rage. I felt that this book was better than the first because it dealt more with the characters themselves, especially Tris, and how they were shaped by their choices.

Once again, Roth brings back a whole bunch of action sequences that are clear-cut and narrated in her usual, clinical style. I finished this book (500+ pages!) all today, so I count it as a grand accomplishment. It was hard to read, not because of pacing, but because it was difficult to see all the hurt and deaths due to cruelty. That's why I loved this book more than the first. The emotions are expounded upon, and good and evil aren't black and white. Nobody was as he/she first appeared, and because of this, Roth does an excellent job in making each character more memorable and standalone. I liked what she did with Peter, Marcus, Christina, and Jeanine. It was just one guy double crossing the other guy's double cross all over the place, but I enjoyed the twists. They kept me guessing, unlike the first book. Also, I adored Tobias. I'm pretty sure he's my favorite fictional male protagonist because he's strong, honest, has his own past and suspicions. It made him seem real, not just some other attractive dude thrown into the main character's path so they can kiss and sacrifice the entire world for each other. The romance is some of the plot, but it never gets overbearing or gag-inducing.

"I don't..." I sound like I am being strangled. "My family is all dead, or traitors; how can I..." 

I am not making any sense. The sobs take over my body, my mind, everything. He gathers me to him, and bathwater soaks my legs. His hold is tight. I listen to his heartbeat and, after a while, find a way to let the rhythm calm me.

"I'll be your family now," he says.


Besides the character, Roth says a lot about the world itself in her books. She brings up topics of bravery, sacrifice, the strength of love and loyalty, and what exactly the right choice is. I'm so sick of all the YA novels talking about the importance of love or how it can ruin a person forever, and I'm glad that someone has the sense enough to speculate more into topics that will come of a shattered world, maybe even the future we're all destined for. I'll probably get condemned for this comparison, but I'm just going to say that these books remind me the most of The Hunger Games because it's not love-centric, and it definitely does what a good dystopian novel should.

The ending definitely wasn't as anticlimactic as the one I got in Divergent, though it still didn't seem that earth-shattering because of all the crappy stuff that happens throughout the book, and I can't say it was wholly unexpected. But it riled me up for the next book, and I'm like a cheerleader with pompoms right now, I'm so excited for the third. There were a couple discrepancies, and sometimes I felt that it was sort of difficult to keep up with what was happening with all the groaning and screaming through teeth, but I made it through okay. There was this part where Tris shoots a window with her gun when just a couple minutes before she refused to take one because of the whole shooting-Will-PTSD, and that made me a bit confused. But other than that, everything was spectacular.

I'm expecting a lot from Ms. Roth now.

And ugh, I'm going to go read a romance novel or something. All of this angst and world destruction has made me feel icky.

(Also, apologies if this review was not as succinct/sensible as my others. I find it difficult to talk about books I love. It's definitely easier to insult books than to really capture all the things that make them great.)

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