Friday, September 28, 2012

Insurgent (Veronica Roth)

I liked but did not love Divergent, the book to which Veronica Roth's Insurgent is a sequel. I feel exactly the same about book two, which is frustrating. I was hoping that Insurgent would be higher quality, which is not to say that either of the books are low-quality; they aren't. They could just be better.

This book picks up right where Divergent ends: Erudite exerts some mind control technology on Dauntless, and unable to control their actions, Beatrice's new clan wipes out a good many of the Abnegation. Of course, Tris is immune to this simulation because she's Divergent. Her parents both die in the struggle, and when confronted by a mind-controlled Will, Tris kills him.

This is the cliffhanger that becomes the most obnoxious at the beginning of the book. Yes, I've never killed anyone, so it's impossible for me to imagine how I would deal with the information that a person's nonexistence is a consequence of one of my actions. I understand that. But I do not understand why we must rehash over and over that Tris killed her friend in a life-or-death situation. I don't want Tris to be remorseless, but it felt like every action that our heroine performs was prefaced by how killing her friend makes this action more difficult, in a way almost identical to the way she must contemplate how old, Abnegation Beatrice would do things in Divergent.

The book bounces the characters from place to place, which is interesting because it allows us to see more of this dystopian Chicago but occasionally boring because it feels like padding. When Tris goes to Erudite headquarters, I feel like we don't get enough detail, but when she returns to the Abnegation sector, I feel like we get too much. However, moving from location to location keeps the book from getting weighed down in the middle like its predecessor, so I'll let it slide.

Tris, as I mentioned, battles with guilt and grief and lies, but it's done pretty annoyingly because it's so repetitive and unvaried. Her relationship with Tobias gets rough, and that's annoying, too--I know that Tris has a fear of intimacy (or something like that; I can't remember exactly what it is), but forcing her and Tobias to fight frequently is an irksome way of showing it.

Much of the action in this book is driven by Tris's desire to find out the secret that "will change everything", the one that Erudite has gone crazy to protect, but it's kind of a letdown--the plot twist at the end (which includes why being Divergent matters) is meant to feel like a revelation, but it isn't. I was disappointed by the ending.

Insurgent, which could be improved, was better than Divergent. But only a little. I still plan on reading book three, whatever it's called.

My rating: 3/5
Insurgent on Goodreads
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