May 28th, 2012


by Veronica Roth

Ana's Rating

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(Warning: this review will contain spoilers for Divergent)

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.

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth’s much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

And you thought Divergent‘s ending was mysterious.

Insurgent kick-starts right where Divergent left off, giving readers a tour of a faction-based society in the midst of war. And that isn’t pretty. The peaceful become hurtfully un-involved; the honest become selfish in the name of sacrifice; the brave become divided into cowards; the intelligent become unable to tie up the loose ends of their knowledge; the selfless become few and far between. And the Divergent become hunted.

Tris’s character can be summed up in 3 words: she needs rehab. Intensive, intensive rehab. In Divergent she may have been a tough little cookie, but here in the face of war, she is made up of guilt and grief. She struggles to remain sane and stable in the aftermath of her parents’ deaths and the death of a friend by her pull of the trigger. Paranoia plays a dominant role in her character, and self-reflection has become a hobby. This, however, is not necessarily a good thing. Too much self-reflection involves self-pity, and Tris had every right to be depressed and angst-ridden– but she has no right to take those emotions and make stupid (in a badass-type way) decisions based on them (page 301 of the hardcover. Stupid, stupid, stupid. Stupid!) . And all of this while annoying the crap out of the people who are in her head? No. Just no.

Tobias (pronounced tuh-BYE-us. Who knew, right?)  remains the strong figure he was in Divergent (although he has more mood swings). He still supports and loves Tris. However, this love can come off as irritating. When Tris becomes reckless and begins to risk her life needlessly, Tobias evolves into somewhat of a jerk (while saving her life numerous times). This is completely understandable… but completely unneeded. Also, we discover that Tobias is ugly. Apparently, his ears stick out, his nose hooks at the end, and his eyes are extremely deep-set. Look Ms. Roth, when teenagers imagine book characters, they take great pleasure in imagining them as hot and sexy. Insistence on ugly descriptions isn’t really doing your readers any favours.

As a rule, I never like the second book in a trilogy as much as the first. Book 2’s always always involve complications in the relationships formed in Book 1. Unfortunately Insurgent is no exception to this rule.  The fighting between Tris and Tobias is, of course, necessary and genuine. Tris evolves so much as a person that there is no way that some of her new values couldn’t conflict with Tobias’. However, this is not to say that I enjoyed their disputes. Sometimes, they fought so much and for such stupid reasons that I just wanted to shove them together and say “Now, kiss.”

Whereas Divergent lead readers into the depths of Abnegation and Dauntless, Insurgent displayed the intricacies of all five (or should I say six?) factions. We are introduced to the remaining contingents (Amity, Candor, and Erudite) as well as their leaders, and therefore into a much more complex world. These factions aren’t wholly bad or wholly good, but rather one heap of gray. Even the uncorrupt become volatile in the face of war. Interaction with the different factions left Tris with the dawn of understanding them, and therefore some life lessons and seriously reflective one-liners.

Cruelty does not make a person dishonest, the same way bravery does not make a person kind.


The Candor sing the praises of the truth, but they never tell you how much it costs.


It reminds me why I chose Dauntless in the first place: not because they are perfect, but because they are alive. Because they are free.

Deep, right?

Well, Tris’ observations aren’t the only things that are deep; the ending of this book is. Sure, Divergent‘s ending involved war between factions. And that was intense and adrenaline-pumping. But Insurgent‘s ending involves more than the five factions, more than Chicago, more than the confines of the fence. Yes, you heard me: we discover what’s on the other side of the fence, beyond the Amity farms. That is one plot twist that I did not see coming. Dang. I am still not over it.

There is, however, one thing that I would change about this ending, and that’s a name. The woman who speaks in the video? Her name should not have been what it was. It may have given Tris confidence, it may have been symbolic of Tris’ inner purity,  it may have represented the meaning of her life– I don’t care. I didn’t appreciate it all. I was certainly not expecting Veronica Roth to get all chosen-one and destiny’s-course on me, because it completely defeats the purpose of Tris; what’s the point of having a character rise to strength and courage out of the sheer force of their will if they were predestined to be there in the first place? There is no point. That character’s journey becomes meaningless. Maybe I’m reading too much into that one name, but I feel terribly strongly about it.

Furthermore, I almost felt like this book should have been divided into 3 parts. The plot, though action-packed, was confusing at times, and the division might have given all the plot twists some solid ground. This is not to say that Insurgent‘s plot was too befuddling to follow. It wasn’t. In fact, it was so intense and addictive that I could not put it down. Literally. Like, staying-up-until-1:AM reading-this-book couldn’t put it down. The political intrigue was just too much for my undisciplined ability to put down an amazing book.

Because I really do feel that Insurgent was amazing. I know that I’ve been picking on it, but that’s a result of the sheer awesomeness of Divergent. Also, I really feel that Veronica Roth would appreciate my honesty.

So, to recap: Tris is a badass (she just whines sometimes). Tobias is a badass (he’s just a jerk sometimes). And Insurgent is badass beyond belief (no buts involved.) 4.9/5 stars.


I’ll keep you posted,

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