Review of “Insurgent” by Veronica Roth

Note: This review necessarily contains spoilers for Book One in this series, Divergent. It does not, however, contain spoilers for this book, Book Two.

Explanation: In order not to cause too much confusion, I will refer to Divergent and Insurgent as Book One and Book Two, respectively, because the titles sound too much alike. [Prediction for Book 3: Tris, the intrepid protagonist, will wash her man right out of her hair and the book will be called: Detergent.]

In this book, Tris is far less likeable than she is in Book One. In Book One, Tris is pretty fearless. But in Book Two, she is psychologically paralyzed by one particular (and necessary!) killing she did at the end of Book One. Whereas in Book One she got over everything quickly, including the smidgeon of guilt she felt for a suicide she may have caused, in Book Two, she is the embodiment of Angst Without End. Coupled with this, she is now abrasive and negative, secretive and suspicious, mulish and even more reckless than in Book One. Oddly, this only increases the love for her felt by Tobias (the boy previously known as Four), who is now her boyfriend. One could invoke Freud and speculate that Tobias is trying to recreate the bond he shared with his abusive parents, but that is probably reading too much into the story. Nevertheless, it fits.

When Tris and Tobias aren’t snarling and reconciling, they are going back and forth among the five factions, which are each now each divided into two halves: traitors and good guys. The problem is, no one can ever figure out for sure which is which, or who within each group is a mole and who is sincere. The only one we know who is Bad For Sure is the totally evil head of the Erudite faction, Jeanine, who is described as having rolls of fat and dyed hair, sure signifiers of badness if ever I read any. Furthermore, everyone now has to contend with “the Factionless” as well, who have come to operate essentially as a sixth faction.

Each of the groups seeks power, but a few people within them seek something else: some sort of secret information thought to be known only to the Abnegation leaders (all but one of whom are now dead). Unfortunately, Jeanine found out the secret too, and wants to keep anyone from getting to a video that tells what it’s all about. (And no! It’s not the Hokey Pokey!) Tris feels she MUST know what it is, because her parents apparently died to protect this secret. And, since it’s a secret, she keeps her activities to find out about it a secret too. Never mind that she resents every little thing Tobias doesn’t share with her; the Book Two Tris is big time into double standards. But will she find it in time, when she doesn’t even know what it is she seeks?

Evaluation: As quickly as I went through this book, I still didn’t like it as much as Book One. But middle books of trilogies are often disappointments. Thankfully, however, they are not bridges to nowhere, but with good luck will lead us, along with the characters, to a better place in Book Three.

Rating: 3.5/5

Published by Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2012

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10 Responses to Review of “Insurgent” by Veronica Roth

  1. sandynawrot says:

    Oy vey. This is sorta how I felt about Pandemonium. I loved Divergent because Tris had such a great attitude about everything. She just went for it, embraced life. I did bring this book with me to my parents but I’m not sure if I will get to it. I’ve been distracted by Gillian Flynn.

  2. BermudaOnion says:

    I’m not sure this series is for me but you cracked me up with your prediction of the title of book 3 in the series. If it is titled Detergent, I’ll buy a copy!

  3. zibilee says:

    I am eager to get started with these books, and have the first, but not the second. I need to have them both and get reading, but things are slow going here. Hopefully Gone Girl will be the read that brings back my reading mojo.

  4. Athira says:

    Before I comment on the review, Detergent – Hahahahaha! Oh goodness, that is one of the best predictions I’ve seen, lol! I actually found this book way too nagging for the reasons you mentioned – too much arguing and reconciling between Tris and Tobias. And then Tris’ moodiness is a bit tiring. I liked the twist on the ending, so I’m curious about where this will go.

  5. I have yet to read the first book so I just quickly skimmed your review. Your comment about the possible title for Book Three cracked me up!

  6. Bookworm1858 says:

    I really struggled to get into Insurgent whereas I flew through Divergent. Tris just wasn’t as appealing to me. I am still eager to finish the trilogy though thanks to the ending.

  7. Staci@LifeintheThumb says:

    Can’t read it because I have to read Divergent!!!

  8. Jenners says:

    If nothing else, this was an amusing post … and I suspect one of the few reviews of this book that mentions particles.

  9. bookingmama says:

    So many people have loved the book 1. It must be so difficult for book 2s to live up to people’s expectations.

  10. CuriousSue says:

    Genius. I laughed out loud 4 or 5 times while reading this review.

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