Thursday, May 17, 2012

Book Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Title: Insurgent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Rating: 4/5

Cover Impressions:
I am a big fan of the covers for this series.  The first featured the Dauntless flames and this one shows the tree of Amity.  The colors are muted but effective and the misty city (with train this time!) adds to the mysterious tone.  The raised letters adds texture to the hardcover copies and makes it feel that much more luxurious.   

The Gist:
Insurgent picks up exactly where Divergent left off, with the train ride away from the Dauntless compound after Tris and Tobias destroyed the simulation.  The factions are on the brink of war and Tris must decide where her allegiances lie, in defeating Erudite and punishing them for their discretions or in searching for the truth at all costs.

Insurgent is considerably slower than it's predecessor.  However, I thoroughly enjoyed getting a look at how the other factions lived and learning that, despite appearances, they all have some deep dark secrets.  In this book, the characters begin to reveal how their faction upbringing continues to influence their actions (though even they will not admit it) and how each person can be seen as a little bit divergent.  We also have to deal with some personal issues and emotional setbacks as Tris deals with the guilt of killing one of her friends and Tobias struggles to trust Tris' instincts. 

Urgh - this is starting to sound like a plot summery.  Ok, reboot.  This book is good.  Very good.  It concentrates more on character development than action.  There is still plenty of fighting and lots of secrets.  As with Divergent, Roth writes good action sequences; snappy and exciting without the "he hit me, then I hit him, then he hit me again" drain that makes me steer away from many adult fantasy novels.

At about the halfway point, I found myself lying awake at night wondering if my predictions for "The Big Reveal" would be correct.  In the end, it was well done and left us in great suspense for the next novel (though I am not quite sure why Marcus felt he couldn't explain this without showing them the information itself).  I did find the ending a little unsatisfying, but that is pretty typical when I read the middle novel in a trilogy, so I forgive it.

Teaching/Parental Notes:

15 and up
Gender: Both
Sex: Kissing
Violence: Gunplay, Knifeplay, Hand to Hand combat, Execution-Style Murder
Inappropriate Language: None
Substance Abuse:  None

Closing Thoughts: I am not quite happy with the way this review turned out but that is due to my own writing failure rather than the books.  Basically it boils down to this: If you like Divergent, Insurgent makes a solid addition to the series.  If you didn't like Divergent, Insurgent is probably not going to change your mind and you might want to consider moving on to something else.


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