June 9, 2012

Review: Insurgent

I read Insurgent the week it came out, but I needed to chew on it before reviewing it. It was one of the novels I was most anticipating this year, but sometimes when I finish a book I need to step away and really think about it. 

This is what happened with this novel because I was unsure of how I felt. I really needed to reflect and think about what Roth was trying to accomplish. It is the AP Language teacher in me.

I also wanted to wait because it seemed like everyone was reading and reviewing this novel. But now that the "newness" has worn off, and now that I've had time to reflect, I have finally come to a conclusion: I loved this novel.

Summary (from Goodreads):

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.

My thoughts:

I was so excited to finally have this book in my hands. I read Divergent the first week of June last year and loved it. I even want to do it for a school-wide read, if I ever find a librarian job. But the countdown to this sequel was making me squirm because I do not have a lot of patience when it comes to a series I adore—and I could not wait to dive into Insurgent.

If you’re looking for an action-packed read like the predecessor, you are going to be disappointed. Roth makes us earn it in this novel. The effect of making me wait for it caused my heart to beat that much faster when I finally got to it. And it was worth it.

Character development in this novel was slower than Divergent, but I feel it was necessary to allow readers to truly understand motive. We were on such a roller coaster with the first novel that we were not really given an opportunity to breathe. In this novel, we are allowed that much-needed breath, and the characters develop at a nice pace to allow us to truly savor who they really are instead of where we think Roth is taking them. This was a nice change of pace, especially in a series.

The one thing I was not prepared for in the novel was calling Four by his given name, Tobias. To me, he will always be Four, but in this novel Tobias fits because of the way Roth develops his character. We experience a different side of him, a more tender side, and we learn more of his family’s history.

As for Tris, well…she is Tris. I felt the first novel focused more on her character development than in this novel, but now we see how much more “reckless” she has become. I use the term “reckless” loosely here for a variety of reasons, none of which I will share because I do not want to spoil any of the major plot points.

As for the plot, I cannot say much without spoiling, but I believe the summary from Goodreads will give you a basic idea. I will say the highlight for me did not happen until the end of the book. A few weeks ago a friend of mine sent me a text and that read, “This novel is a lot slower than the other. Tell me it gets better.” I sent her a text that said, “The ending makes it worth every page.” I stick by that assessment.

If you loved Divergent, then you cannot miss this novel. I don’t know what Roth has in store for us with the third novel, but based on how she ended this one, I am convinced it will be awesome.

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