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Friday, April 27, 2012

ARC Review: INSURGENT by Veronica Roth

TITLE: Insurgent                          SERIES: Divergent #2
AUTHOR: Veronica Roth             PUB DATE: 5/1/12
PUB: Harper Collins                       FORMAT: ARC, 525 pgs
SOURCE: from the pub in exchange for my honest review

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. 

BEWARE: there are Divergent spoilers in this review

THREE WORDS: Twists and Turns…three more words: Trust No One

MY REVIEW: It’s safe to say that Insurgent is one of the (if not THE) most highly anticipated YA releases this year, so I was giddy with excitement when I received my ARC and gobbled it up quickly. In Divergent Veronica Roth offered readers such an explosive and thrilling story that it’s hard to imagine a sequel that would be able to capture the enthralling essence of the first book. Yet, Insurgent does just this; as a sequel it definitely does not disappoint.

The story picks up right where Divergent stops, with Tris, Four, Marcus, Caleb and the other survivors of the Erudite attack headed for Amity. In the aftermath of the attack, tensions between factions continue to intensify and war is imminent. Tris and Four find themselves traveling to each faction and even among the factionless to look for support against Jeanine. Tris finds herself faced with crippling grief, guilt, doubt, betrayals, and startling revelations, and she must find a way to embrace and accept her Divergence in order to save the ones she loves.

 Insurgent is a very busy book. A lot happens. A lot has to happen. And Veronica Roth continues to weave a complex, grand, thought-provoking and well developed story.

Roth’s world building is even more phenomenal and vivid in this book than in the first. I really loved getting a long and insightful look into each of the different factions and the world of the factionless as well. As characters and readers alike explore the different factions, Roth’s world is beautifully expanded and made that much more layered and easy to immerse oneself in completely. We really get to see just how impressive Roth’s world-building is as she introduces both Tris and readers to the very different cultures, religions and societal norms found within each faction.

One of the things I love best is not just the complexity of the story as a whole, but the complexity of each individual faction, then the even deeper complexity of each individual character. Each faction clearly has its own ideologies and rules, but Roth does a superb job of showing that there is no “wrong” faction or “more right” faction. There exist bad and good within each faction and perhaps within each character. I love that readers aren’t forced to choose a side or root for one particular faction; Roth makes it okay (integral even) for readers to find a little bit of each faction within themselves…perhaps we are all Divergent *stares off into the distance with my thinking smarticle thoughts look* 

Like the first book, Insurgent is very character driven, which is a good thing since Roth has created very compelling characters. I’ll admit that I have a very love/hate relationship with Tris. Don’t get me wrong, I love and admire her strength, compassion and feistiness. But she can be quite the arrogant person as well, something she admits, and there are times when this greatly annoys me. I do like that we get to see a more vulnerable, fragile Tris in this book. Her struggle with her grief, guilt and self-doubt is breathtakingly powerful and tangible. Four, who goes more by Tobias in this book, continues to be an incredibly intriguing and frustrating character, simply because it seems that for every one thing we learn about him there’s another mystery to uncover. Their relationship continues to evolve and take shape. I love that there is no love triangle…but this doesn’t mean they don’t have their obstacles to overcome. I’m very impressed with how realistic their relationship feels; there’s an understandable dependency between the two, but their feelings for one another do not consume their every thought or action.

There are many Twists and Turns that come in the form of character reappearances, deaths, betrayals, interesting character developments, and revelations. To be honest, there are so many twists and turns that they left me a bit dizzy, especially when it comes to betrayals and character twists. I love a character that keeps me guessing, but there are a few character betrayals/actions/developments that either left me reeling or wondering if they were included for pure shock value.  All the action, fighting, pain and mystery lead up to a big twisty revelation at the end (plus a heck of a cliff hanger). I think readers will either see this twist coming or not expect it all. Either way, it is a very clever and fascinating twist that opens up all kinds of possibilities…things are seriously about to get cray-cray!

MY FINAL THOUGHTS: Insurgent definitely does not suffer from the dreaded Sophomore Slump. Instead, the captivating story that began in Divergent continues to engross, intrigue and impress in this exciting sequel.


4.5 / 5 Cupcakes

Find the author: Website / Goodreads / Twitter / Facebook
Purchase: Amazon / B&N / Book Depository
Veronica Roth is only 23, so her bio will be short. She’s from a Chicago suburb. She studied creative writing at Northwestern University, and wrote DIVERGENT (Katherine Tegen Books, May 2011). The second book in The Divergent Trilogy, INSURGENT, will come out in May 2012. In the meantime she will spend endless hours browsing Wikipedia in her pajamas as she eats corn flakes. (Or some other kind of bland breakfast cereal.)


Kelly said...

Wow, this is such a thorough review! I wasn't as impressed with Divergent as most other people seemed to be, but I am still anticipating the release of Insurgent. I'm excited to see more world-building, as I remember that being an issue for me in Divergent.

And I completely agree about the love/hate relationship with Tris! I admire her courage and bravery, but I don't think she and I would be friends.

Great review!

Radiant Shadows

Kathryne (Paperback Fantasies) said...

I am gobbling up all of the Insurgent reviews until I get my copy next week. This is such a helpful review. Or maybe not so helpful, as now I'm simply itching to read it.

I also admire Tris, but I think we are polar opposites! I'd definitely like to take a leaf from her book, though.


Kari Po-Ku ▲ said...

I can't wait to have a copy of Insurgent! GREAT REVIEW! :D