This book was way too long. I have made this review as un-spoilery as possible for those who haven’t read Divergent.
Insurgent by Veronica Roth, 525 Pages
Unlike many of the reviewers on Goodreads, I came to the Divergent party late and was able to launch right into Insurgent the day after I finished Divergent with the story fresh in my mind. This was helpful since the sequel picks up right where the first one left off, without any re-cap or synopsis. This bugged some people but I am fine with it, it’s not like Wheel of Time or something, this series will only have three books. It’s not that huge of an imposition to start with number one.
In this installment of the trilogy each faction must decide where they stand after the tragic genocide of one of the factions at the end of Divergent, and how they will proceed.Tris is at the forefront of the action throughout the novel thanks to her knowledge of what’s happening and her Divergent status. There will be war and all that remains to be determined is which side each faction (and the factionless) will fight on.
The novel’s strongest moments were in seeing the headquarters of each faction and getting a feel for their culture and priorities. The thought that went into each faction’s sociology shows without turning into an infodump.The author’s preferences seep through in places, but it’s interesting to see Tris’s reaction to ideologies other than the one she was raised in and the one she chose. Equally satisfying is seeing her grow enough to realize that each faction has something beautiful to offer.
Insurgent‘s weak point was directly related to its length. There were a lot of plotlines running in harmony through the first novel, which left a lot to address in the second. Tris was dealing with the emotional fallout of the things she was forced to do for the greater good at the end of Divergent, though she is not an overtly emotional person. This chewed up a lot of time and became frustrating as she made the same mistakes over and over, becoming reckless to avoid dealing with her feelings (though I guess that’s honest for a sixteen-year-old) She and Four had the same fight several times and neither one altered their behavior in any way…it felt like running in circles on a hamster wheel. Characters related to various side plots popped up between revolutions for a little variety and/or resolution.
Things do come together toward the end, action picking up and speeding the reader along as Tris embraces the gifts that come with her Divergence and takes charge (satisfying considering how much of the book she spent being either a numb robot or completely reckless). The novel is left on a note that could either be an ironic cliffhanger or a bittersweet conclusion, but the rumor is that there is another (as yet un-named and un-written) sequel in the works.
This novel still provides plenty to think about, but it was not nearly as well-paced or plotted as Divergent. Perhaps that is to be expected in this age of every publisher looking for the Next! Big! Series! and rushing installments to publication before the public loses interest. The Divergent trilogy still has mine, I’ll be back to read that third volume, I just hope that the author gets the time she needs to make it all it can be.