Monday, May 07, 2012

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

UK copy to the left and US copy to the right - couldn't resist showing both covers.

War looms in sixteen-year-old Tris’s dark dystopian world as disputes between the factions grow. Tris must now fight against all odds to discover the truth that can save her and the people she loves. Sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge – and the choices she makes will have devastating and unexpected consequences.

Here is my rather short but embarrassingly gushy review of Divergent from last year.  I know some reviewers, mostly State-side I think, complained that Divergent was a set-up, a framework novel, setting the scene for the rest of the story to take place in subsequent books.   Show me a single first book in a series that doesn’t do that and I’ll make you a cake.

Insurgent takes us further into the lives of Tris and Four and the small group that go on the run with them after big reveal in Divergent. We see how it affects them, but also the other factions and we spend a bit of time away from the Dauntless and come to understand the other factions better.  Interestingly, although Tris’s character develops more emotionally, she still chooses to see things in black and white, preferring to not see the situation they find themselves in in shades of grey.  Having said that, Tris is still one of my favourite heroines.  She’s smart, sweet, messed up and she screws up.  She’s also brave, caring and selfless, proving that you can be all these things, thereby breaking the mould Society deemed to choose for you and by breaking it, Tris proves wholeheartedly that she is a true Divergent.

I apologise if I’m being oblique, but I’m doing my best not to give spoilers for either book.  And gaah, it’s difficult and driving me insane because I’m sitting here, moving my hands around, trying to find phrases that will appeal and yet not give away too much.  And it’s difficult, it really is.

As in Divergent, there is a movie quality to Insurgent.  You read it (or have it read to you, as Mark did for a few chapters to spoil me as my head hurt badly and my eyes were doing funny things) and you can see the action take place in your mind’s eye.  Ms Roth has become a dab hand at scene setting and world building, whilst effortlessly twisting and turning her characters and readers to her will.  We find some answers to the questions we were left with at the end of Divergent, but as is her wont, we are offered a smorgasbord of more questions and choices handed to her characters.

In the end this is what both Divergent and Insurgent is all about – choices.  When faced with options and choices larger than life, what will you choose?

Like most of the other reviews out there, I’ll warn you about the ending now.  It’s a big one and I actually regret having had to read Insurgent because I would have loved to have read books 2 and 3 in sequence, one after the other.  That’s the kind of reader I am.  However, if you can stand the anticipation, you’re far stronger than I am.  We’re talking about a girl who can’t wait to open Xmas or birthday presents and may or may not sneak into a dark room under the light of a watchful moon to shamelessly touch presents.  I have control issues. 

Insurgent delivers in spades – it just all depends on if you can roll with the punches…and then wait a full year for the third book in the sequence.  Good luck!

My Favourite Books is: Team Dauntless.


Elizabeth Fama said...

Show me a single first book in a series that doesn’t do that and I’ll make you a cake.

Megan Whalen Turner's The Thief, Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass...

German Chocolate or Boston Cream Pie, please.

Elizabeth Fama said...

Sorry, that's Philip Pullman's Northern Lights to you. :-)

Jenni said...

Great review though I think you may have just strengthened my resolve to wait now until all of the books are published and I can have one big blow out of a read ;)

Sverige said...

This book was simply amazing. Just as enthralling as the first one. Action packed and captivating from the first page to the last. I loved the way the Veronica Roth delved into the character's emotions and exposed them for us to see and feel. Really liked that the they all wore their humanity so plainly making the events even more plausible. She kept my attention raptly focused with all the surprises and revelations throughout with wonderful pacing. Never feeling like anything was rushed or unfinished while packing non-stop action, tear jerking heartbreak, heart-wrenching triumph, and unspeakable tragedy.

I think that what I enjoyed the most, and I really really liked it all, was the depth of character development in not only the two main characters Tris & Four in following along the natural procession of their relationship, but all of the characters' interaction and development in general. The way that Ms. Roth wrote their failures and self-doubts, their imperfections and redeeming qualities, their struggles in the face of adversities, their courageousness and weaknesses, their strength, love, selflessness, every range of human emotion possible was wrung bare within the pages of Insurgent.