Review of Veronica Roth’s “Insurgent”

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Title: Insurgent

Author: Veronica Roth

Publisher: HarperCollins 

Published: 2012

ISBN: 9780062024046

As promised, I’m continuing on my venture into the land of YA. And it hasn’t been all sunshine and happiness. Prepare yourself because my thoughts on this novel are not as pleasant as I’d like them to be. I have never been so disappointed making my way through a book as I was while reading Insurgent. The first book in this trilogy, Divergent, was strong (although Tris was never the most likeable character) and promised an exciting and thrilling continuation in its sequels. Reading the second in the series, I found it to be completely needless. Eliminating this book could have save a lot of people a whole lot of time. The plot felt like filler and had little substance to it. I’m not going to bother giving you a plot summary because there really was not much plot to sum up. I felt as though while writing Insurgent, Roth was bidding her time, for what I don’t know. 

Tris was a badass chick in Book One. I wasn’t a fan of her personality, but she was a risk taker. She fought for what she wanted and was everything you’d want of a strong female protagonist in an intelligent and thoughtful YA. In Book Two, however, she falls to pieces. Not once do we see even a glimmer of the girl we as readers are introduced to previously. I found her to suddenly to recede into a weak, useless, dependent girl who relies on everyone else to save her. She becomes a lot of talk, but little effective action. 

The first thing that troubled me about this book was the never-healing wound in Tris’ shoulder. She is wounded–shot in the shoulder–and this wound remains throughout the second book. Her wound becomes her downfall in every fight. Each opponent she faces seems to conveniently know that her affliction is her and each takes advantage of this, making sure to squeeze, punch, or whack the affected area. Tris always, in response, blacks out or collapses, becoming completely ineffective in the many repetitive rebellions. I don’t know why, when she is waiting in safety at many point throughout the book, she doesn’t have it looked at or properly treated and dressed so it can heal. 

The next thing that got to me was Tris’ sudden and constant desire to act thoughtlessly and recklessly. She is often running off to give herself to the enemy or lashing out at the Dauntless rebels. As a result, she usually ends up captured and confined or injured even further. And no matter how many times she hands herself over to the enemy, her friends, and inevitably Four…ahem, Tobias (I can’t say his name without thinking of Arrested Development) comes to rescue this perpetual damsel in distress. 

And I, of course, have to address the relationship between Tris and Four (I’m going to continue to call him Four. I like it better). I know they’re young and their relationship has been put under a lot of strain with the constant battling and the ever-present danger, but communication deteriorates completely in this novel. They fight at the drop of a hat and their fights consist of silence and mind games. “I want to kiss him, but I don’t.” “He looks as if he wants to stroke my cheek, but he seems to think better of it and turns away.” (These are not verbatim quotes). They both clearly want to make up, but refuse to throughout the novel. 

One strong point in the novel that I will point out is the believability of Tris’ torment over killing Will and they way in which she is haunted by the loss of her family. I felt a lot of compassion for Tris in these moments throughout the book, and I really feel that it is her internal struggle that adds interest and carries the plot. It is here where she gained my sympathy. I wanted to see her succeed in overcoming her pain. 

Alas, after reading Insurgent, I am not scrambling to pick up my copy of the third instalment. I’ll most likely pick it up eventually because I cannot leave a trilogy two thirds completed. But it is begrudgingly that I’ll make my way to the third book. 

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