Book Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Posted April 9, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

Book Review: Insurgent by Veronica RothInsurgent by Veronica Roth
Genres: Dystopian, YA
Published by Harper Collins on May 1, 2012
Pages: 525
Format: Hardcover
Source: the library


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.

Second in the Divergent dystopian Young Adult series and revolving around Tris and her friends.

My Take
This story is a weird combination of good storytelling and stupidity. I don’t know if I’ve been too long a “mature” adult and so far removed from my teens that I can no longer relate or if Tris’ actions are simply part of that annoying trope of the gormless but stubborn “child” who leaps into danger without telling anyone anything — because, sob, no one will believe her or, sob, she’s suicidal or, sob… I got dizzy with all the eye-rolling going on. Although I can also understand Tris’ thinking that no one will believe her if the action/answer is not what they want to hear. But still, I’d’ve appreciated some effort to make this more believable. It’s so shallow in so many areas, and I refuse to believe that this is acceptable simply because its target audience is young adults. Harry Potter managed it. So have other stories.

Sure, I get that soldiers have to react, but generally they at least are thinking, being practical. Not Tris. She’s simply reacting with a little girl’s feelings. And, yes, I’m using little girl on purpose. She hates being called that, and she’ll be called that until she stops acting like one. Such a great idea she has *eye roll*. Delivering the greatest amount of information to the enemy. What a dope.

Okay, if Amity has chosen to be a Safe House for all faction members, how come they give up the others when Erudite and traitor Dauntless show up? I don’t get that. Why doesn’t Tris question why Johanna knows that Erudite had been planning something? And just who did Marcus trust with this big secret? Why aren’t “our” Dauntless more on their guard? What is it with authors and the word psychopath? Does anyone know what the term means????

I’m shocked, shocked I tell you. If all these people chose Amity, why would they need serum to keep them calm? Seems wrong somehow.

Ooh, we find out the importance of the Divergent. We also discover the plans of the factionless. It’s got to be better than what currently exists in this world. I have to wonder if this was the plan all along, from the very beginning…bwa-ha-ha…

That whole scene with Dauntless taunting about cowardice? How dare they! He’s under truth serum for godsakes. He still carried on in spite of that fear, and that makes him brave in my book! I’d like to see them work through that. Then the way he “fixes” it? *Eye roll* How stupid was that? Oh. Yeah. That would make me pull back *more eye rolls*. Doesn’t Candor have any idea how answers under truth serum can be misinterpreted by people outside their faction? I gotta say, I haven’t much respect for Candor.

How true…
“—who doesn’t understand the value of a sacrifice lies in its necessity, not in throwing your life away!”

Still, I do have to appreciate a twist on the dystopian genre. And Roth still leaves us wondering what is going on with so many questions left unanswered.

The Story
Her killing Will is preying on Tris’ mind. Surely she could have figured out another way. A thought that will haunt her throughout as she and her small band of escapees plot, plan, and twist, trying to find a way to take back their faction, their city.

To find revenge for those who died.

The Characters
Sixteen-year-old Tris, formerly Beatrice Prior, is Dauntless and Divergent, able to fit in to any one of three factions. An anomaly. A dangerous one who could put all at risk.

Tobias Eaton, a.k.a., Four, is Dauntless and Divergent, a trainer of initiates who are not Dauntless-born, and in love with Tris; another defector from Abnegation where his father is one of the leaders.

There are five societies within this world, and each conforms to a particular quality: Abnegation values selflessness, and they had governed this world before Jeanine killed most of them; Amity believes in peace and friendship, and they are the growers; Erudite is all about knowledge and curiosity for the sake of doing good — now though, they’re more interested in taking Dauntless down; Dauntless is fearless, and they are the warriors; Candor worships honesty; and, Divergent is just plain wrong, the boogeyman of this society.

Other Dauntless members include:
Christina had hooked up with Will, but Tris had to kill him in the uprising in Divergent, 1. Rita; Uriah; Marlene; Shauna is Lauren’s younger sister; Lauren taught Dauntless-born initiates; Lynn; Lynn’s little brother Hector, who fears Tris; Zeke; Helena is a nurse; and, Kee. Tori is one of the initial testers and a tattooist; she’s determined to get revenge for her brother, Jonathan Wu. Harrison, Tori, and Tobias are elected the Dauntless leaders.

Dauntless traitors include:
Max is one of the original five leaders of Dauntless along with Eric (he’s executed) and Peter, who are traitors and go over to Erudite.

Erudite members include:
Jeanine Matthews is the representative for Erudite, and she refused to allow Abnegation to reveal the truth. Now she wants the Divergent. Cara is Will’s younger sister, who had believed the lies that Jeanine is promoting. Caleb Prior is Tris’ slightly older brother who also chose a faction different from the one in which he was raised. He’s fascinated with how things work. Fernando.

Amity members include:
Johanna Reyes is focal point for relating the decisions the Amity members come to. Robert is Susan’s brother and was Abnegation before he chose to transfer to Amity.

Abnegation members include:
Tris’ parents were Abnegation and proved it with their lives in Divergent. (Seems Dad had left Erudite for Abnegation; Mom had been Dauntless.) Marcus Eaton, Tobias’ father, is one of the leaders, one with a secret he refuses to tell. Susan is Robert’s sister.

Candor members include:
Jack Kang represents Candor, and what a total loss he is. Niles administers the truth serum.

The Factionless
…are those who couldn’t cut it or were tossed out of their Faction. To be factionless is to be at-risk. Edward lost an eye when the jealous Peter stabbed his eye. Myra leaves Dauntless when Edward does. Evelyn Eaton, Tobias’ supposedly dead mother, is the leader for whom Therese seems to be her second-in-command. Interesting to learn why Evelyn “died” and why Tobias is so angry with her.

Amanda Ritter is also Edith Prior with a message.

The Cover
The cover is soft. A swirl of greens with darks at the top and bottom although the bottom is a harder-edged collection of greens of the silhouette of buildings of Chicago with a train speeding out of the city across a bridge that spans a barren wasteland. The top is more of a storm, the storm that Tris and her friends are bringing. I love the tree “medallion” in the center of that turbulent sky. Set in its own swirl of life, a changing of the seasons in its leaves. Even the hard-edged, metallic title is in greens, a gradient of dark to light from bottom to top with a shine through the upper third.

The title is Tris, her true state is to be Insurgent, the key to release.

Reviewed by Kathy Davie, who is fast gaining followers in Goodreads and Amazon for her honest book reviews. Passionate about reading, writing, and editing, she searches the Internet for tips, tricks, and warnings with a keen interest in ideas that will foster reading in children as well as adults while aiding writers in their craft. Kathy blogs daily at KD Did It Takes on Books.

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