Friday, August 31, 2012
** Spoilers ahead for Divergent **
Tris's world is torn apart. Her old faction, Abnegation, is completely shattered and its leaders murdered thanks to the Erudite mind-controlling the entire Dauntless faction into slaughtering them. Dauntless is split into two factions: those against the Erudite and those with them. She and her friends have no place to call home and don't know which faction to turn to, if any. Each faction has to choose a side in this war. The Erudite seem so powerful while Tris's group is just a few ragtag members of Erudite and Dauntless. She also has to work through her own guilt and conflicted feelings in addition to trying to save all the members of her society from being turned into brainwashed automatons. Can Tris and her band of misfits overthrow this powerful and unscrupulous faction? How will their society change in the aftermath of the war?
After I read Divergent, I had to start reading Insurgent right away. Insurgent wasn't as good as Divergent, but it was still a good, enjoyable book. My favorite parts were the development of the factionless, the bad guys, and the well written action scenes. The factionless played a large part of the novel and weren't as destitute and scattered as they seemed in Divergent. They were rather organized and had numbers that rivaled some of the factions. Of course they didn't access to all resources a conventional faction did, but they were armed and ready to join Tris's group against the Erudite. They also made Tris realize that companionship and friendship can exist without factions to hold people together. In this installment, we get a little more insight into the bady guys' point of view, particularly the head of Erudite Jeanine and Peter. Jeanine was willing to anything in the pursuit of knowledge. Tris's experience in Erudite headquarters showed that even when committing the most heinous crimes against humanity that at it's core, it's a school that studies and learns without emotion. Peter, the sociopath from Dauntless, was shown to have his own code of conduct, not really recognizing right from wrong. He wasn't just out to do evil, but didn't do good just for the sake of being good. The insight into these characters was important to see how the opposite side views themselves.
There were some things I didn't like. Tris was borderline suicidal for much of the novel, which undermined a lot of the development she had in the last book. This took up a lot of pages and could have been cut down. She also constantly lied to Tobias, which was incredibly frustrating. Just tell the truth and try to develop a healthy relationship! I just wanted to shake her. There seemed to be a serum for absolutely everything and Tris was constantly getting injected with something. It got a little old and after a while, it lost its effect on me. My other criticism was that until the end, not a lot really happened. I think this book suffered from second book syndrome and worked to set up the next book without feeling like a complete book on its own.
Although Divergent was much better, Insurgent was an interesting read. The ending was especially earth-shattering and made me overlook many of the flaws. I will definitely be eagerly awaiting the last book.
My rating: 4/5 fishmuffins
Read as part of Dystopian August at Presenting Lenore.