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Saturday 5 May 2012

Insurgent by Veronica Roth [Review]

WARNING!!!! Insurgent is a sequel, and I can't talk about it without talking about key points of the first book, Divergent, so if you haven't yet read it, please do not read this review or the spoilers contained within!! There may also be some spoilers for Insurgent, as it's so tightly woven it's hard not to... But I'll try my best!

Written by: Veronica Roth.
Published by: Harper Collins.
Format: Paperback.
Released: 1st May 2012.
Rating: 5/5.

Official synopsis: "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."

Flash back twelve months, and the bloggosphere was a-buzz with word of a début novel from some woman called Veronica Roth. It was called Divergent, and it came in riding the wave of distopian fiction that has been steadily increasing after the success of The Hunger Games. But... Divergent wasn't, and isn't, like those other books that just ride the wave. Divergent was the one that broke the wave and brought it crashing to shore with a smash.

Fast forward to today, and now it's time for Insurgent to crest the wave and smash into all of our lives.

I'm not going to beat around the bush here. You need to read this book. It's not a case of "you probably should... it's good you know," it's a case of you simply must! No two ways about it. 

Tris' life is in even more danger than before. She, along with Tobias (Four), her brother Caleb, and Tobias' estranged father Marcus, have barely escaped the city with their lives. Erudite are everywhere, with their mind-controlled Dauntless soldiers, they are on a mission to hunt down the Divergent rebels, and they will stop at nothing.

I really only have one grievance with Insurgent. For me, it's as near to perfection as a book can get, especially a sequel, a second book, the middle of the trilogy no doubt, which is always tricky territory. I had wondered whether Veronica would be able to do it again. And while she has, there is one part of the overall plot that's bugging me a little bit. It is quite spoilery... so I have changed the colour of the text, so if you've read the book you can just highlight it and read, otherwise, if you want to read it regardless, you can just highlight it anyway... So many Divergents! Yeah, I know there have been several over history within the world the books are set in. But it kind of annoys me that here's Tris, this girl who has to hide because of what she is, because the way in which her brain works, and then... ooh... here's another Divergent. And another. And another. And another. I just... I don't know. For me, it kind of detracts from the whole "we need a hero" feel. We need a leader, someone who leads us through the plot, into the pending mass revolution, the final battle and I don't really get that feel any more. I kind of feel like that aspect of the book, of having the protagonist has kind of been taken away. And while it may sound major, for me it's not. It's just annoying really!

Regardless of that though, Insurgent truly is a beauty of a book. The writing is taut and rich, the prose engaging, and the characters just as flawed and real as loveable as ever. Tobias is my favourite I think. He's so complex and you can never really get a true hold of him, which is something I like in a character. We all love a bit of mystery right? I love when authors have a true ability to make you care about the characters, and it's something that Roth seems to have down to a tee! I don't just care about these characters, I love them! So much so that at times I was nearly pulling out my hair in frustration (at their actions...), feeling for them in their grief (we're at war folks, and people are going to die...) and grieving for them. I actually liken reading this book in particular to my reading experience of Mockingjay. Both in terms of character and of plot. We are at war, and war is exhausting. Reading Mockingjay was an emotionally exhausting experience, one I have re-encountered with Insurgent. And while people may say "but Ryan, why read a book that makes you feel miserable?" Well... because while it does get me down a little, they are so well written and just so beautiful in the whole. A good book does leave a mark on you, regardless of what it's about, and boy does  Insugent hit the mark and stay there!

Plot wise, despite my earlier point, the book is incredibly strong. The whole faction aspect is even more ingenious when looked at now, after Insurgent. The way they all interact with one another, they way they think of one another. Erudite in particular. Whilst I am part of Team Erudite UK for the release of the book, I will say I would like a transfer! They really are not nice! Ha. 

Only downside apart from my earlier point is the cover. I'm not going to lie, I really do not like the new UK look for the books. I just don't. They're nice, but they're not right. To be honest, I'm glad I read Divergent before the cover was released. I'm not one for judging a book by its cover, I don't agree with it. But the new covers make it look chic-flic gone futuristic, and it just doesn't suit these books. The US covers though... Spot. On. Hence why I have ordered a copy from America which I cannot wait to have in my possession. Whilst the UK cover is better in person, I'll give it that, it's just still not right. I am hoping, and praying that Haper Collins might just change the cover back, I doubt they will but a guy can hope right?

I'm going to close this review off now, it's already over 920 words long... Oops! I, quite simply, cannot wait for the third and final book (which I want, for some odd reason, to be called Convergent!! Don't ask why... just seems like it'd fit). I get the feeling that bigger things are to come and I cannot begin to imagine what can happen after the events in Insurgent. A knowledge long hidden has been released, and the consequences may be dire. One thing is for sure, the next twelve months need to hurry up and fast forward!

My thanks to the lovely Rosi at Harper Collins for my review copy. You're a star for organising this whole thing. Team Erudite UK! Woop woop!


  1. Great review! I hadn't thought of it before but I do see what you mean about the spoilery thing now. It didn't detract from my enjoyment at the time but I wonder what sort of an impact it might have in the third book.

    1. I feel bad saying something negative about such a good book - just annoying more than anything. Yeah. Wonder what it will mean for book 3!