Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Insurgent



Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Dystopian, YA
Type: Kindle ebook
Series: 2nd book in the Divergent series
First Published: May 2012
First Line: "I wake with his name in my mouth."

SPOILER ALERTS: In order to effectively review this book I've had to include spoilers from the first book in this series, Divergent, as well as Insurgent.  If you haven't read either book already you may want to skip this review. 


Synopsis: 'Insurgent' picks up immediately where 'Divergent' left off where the balance of power has suddenly shifted in Tris' world.  Now the Erudite and Dauntless factions have banded together to rid the world of the Abnegation.

Tris, Four and their friends have fled their Dauntless residence and have found brief safety with both the Amity and Candor factions.  Unfortunately, it has become known that both Tris and Four are Divergent (possessing more than one trait) which puts large targets on their backs since it's known that Divergents are immune to the Erudite's mind controlling serum.  It's this serum which the Erudite are determined to use to take over the world. 

Before they can complete their plan the Erudite must capture some Divergents to work out a new serum that will be effective on all of the population, including the Divergent.  The Erudite have set their sights on capturing Tris.  If the Erudite are successful it would ensure the Erudite's ultimate control.  Armed with their small group of friends, as well as some people from their pasts, Tris and Four attempt to stop the Erudite's plan.

My Thoughts:  In a word, Insurgent was frustrating.  I hate saying it but that's how I felt while reading it.  After reading and enjoying Divergent I was excited to see where Roth would take the story and see what would happen to Tris and Four. Unfortunately Insurgent was much more lackluster and, at times, just plain confusing. 

This book picks up right where Divergent left off -- there is absolutely no recap to remind the reader so you may, like me, be a little lost as you try to remember what happened.  It had only been about 4 months since I had read Divergent but even so I had a hard time remembering the storyline and some of the secondary characters.  Lucky for me I have two other people in my house who had also read Divergent -- two lads who have a much better memory than their dear old mom.

Here's a list of reasons why I didn't jump on the proverbial Insurgent bandwagon: 

1. Tris quickly became my least favourite character in the book -- Not a good sign when you don't like the main character.  In Insurgent she becomes too vulnerable to be a good protagonist.  She's lost her spark and the fight in her is long gone ... as well as her basic common sense apparently.  The girl makes a bunch of rash, stupid decisions without thinking of their consequences and that just didn't jive with the Tris I knew from Divergent.  

In Divergent, Tris goes from being this meek, young woman who becomes a strong, 'hold her own' kinda gal.  In Insurgent, Tris seems to regress and 'rewuss'.  She forgets her strengths, gives up and pretty much just has a death wish.  Some of her decisions made me just shake my head.  Plus she has a 'suck attack' (my Dad's term for a pouty meltdown) for a good portion of the book.  Not ideal protagonist behaviour. 

Personally, I couldn't muster enough energy to get behind this sudden change in her character.  Yes, she's lost a lot but she broods for so long and gives up that you just want to give her a 'brain duster' and say 'Put your big girl panties on and smarten up! You've got a war to win!'.  If she doesn't have any fight left in her how is the reader supposed to muster up enough interest to care what happens to her?

Something else that bugged me about Tris is that she is supposed to be Divergent so why, in this book, is she so focused on only her Dauntless characteristics? She keeps making stupid decisions (which, for some reason, keep turning out in her favour) and she doesn't stop for a minute to think things through. Where is the Erudite side of Tris??

2. Other more interesting characters weren't used to their full potential -- I was actually hoping that Tris' parents (particularly her Mom) would be brought into the story more.  I was very disheartened when they were eliminated from the story so early on.  I think adding her Mom to the storyline and giving the reader a chance to learn why she changed factions could have added a whole other dimension to understanding this world that Roth has created.

3. Tris and Four's relationship -- In Divergent I could see that they were attracted to each other.  You saw their relationship emerge and grow and it made sense.  But in Insurgent it feels contrived.  They've gone from young love to crusty old married couple who just bicker at each other.  Picture Archie and Edith Bunker in a dystopian society.  Ya, not cool.  I just don't see why Tris and Four (or Tobias as he's now called) are together.  They've lost their spark and I quickly lost interest. 

I think the main thing that bothered me with their relationship was that the angst between them went on WAAAY too long and seemed to take centre stage in this book as opposed to the action or suspense.  This angst usually stemmed from Tris having a different standard for herself and Four.  Why is she allowed to keep secrets from him but he can't keep any from her?  It just felt too junior high for me.  I would have preferred more action scenes.

4. Things that make you go 'hmmm' -- There were some inconsistencies in Insurgent that tended to bug me.  

First, how could Tris, the person most wanted by the evil Jeanine, just waltz into enemy territory with only Erudite clothing to disguise her? Pardon? It only takes a new outfit to sneak past a powerful group of people who are known to have been smart enough to develop a mind-controlling serum?  Um, no.

Also, why, when Tris is captured, is she not frisked and found to have a knife on her?  Isn't patting down a prisoner the first step in the How to Capture a Prisoner handbook?  Even I know that from watching Law and Order (but maybe Tris didn't watch that show?).  Having her whip out a weapon to save herself felt too convenient and contrived.

Another thing that made me go 'say what?' was how distraught Tris was over Will's death.  Yes, it was extremely unfortunate but she keep referring to how close she and Will were during their Dauntless training.  Sure, they were friends and part of the same group of friends but I wouldn't have said that they were uber close which makes her angst over his death a little odd and over the top.

If you haven't noticed by now I didn't enjoy Insurgent.  Roth started her series with Divergent on a high note with her alternate world where people are divided into different factions based on one part of a person's nature.  Kind of cool, right?  Unfortunately her sophmoric book lacked the energy and edge of Divergent.  Divergent made the reader want to keep reading to find out what would happen to Tris.  In this book, that desire for me to keep reading and find out more wasn't there.  At all.  In fact, I had to force myself to finish reading this book.

My Rating: 1.5/5 stars

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