Insurgent is the second book in the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth. The trilogy will complete with an as-yet-untitled third book in fall 2013, followed by a movie of the first book, Divergent, due out in 2014.
The world as we know it is gone, replaced by a strictly caste-based society in the ruins of Chicago. Tris Prior was born into Abnegation, a faction that believed that the old world fell due to unending selfish acts. She has now survived to be initiated into the Dauntless faction, which believes in courageous action and a military lifestyle. But even before the ceremony and ensuing celebration, Tris Prior’s new world is torn asunder as the factions fracture into civil war. In order to save her friends, Tris has to embrace the things that make her different from everyone else she’s ever known, as well as answer questions about why her society was built the way it was.
Twisting, turning action
As in Divergent, Roth’s mastery at action scenes is apparent. There are a lot of tightly written action scenes that really drive the book, and they start almost immediately. Tris is not given any time to recover from the last of her trials as a prospective member of the Dauntless faction before the civil war breaks out. This moves action from the stronghold of Dauntless into several different parts of this dystopian Chicago and allows both Tris and the reader to get an inside look at the factions that have remained a mystery thus far (Amity, Candor, Erudite), including a group of Factionless living in the ruins between the faction strongholds. Everything is very tightly plotted, with lots of details to keep track of and a lot of decisions for Tris to make.
My major issue with this book was the sheer speed at which the action happened. Tris was given very little time to stop and think about what was happening around her. She has people dying around her, sometimes as a result of her actions. She receives a lot of new information about not only what it means to be Divergent, but about her own family. And the action never lets up, almost forcing her into making the typical decisions of a sixteen year old rather than allowing her to grow to meet her challenges more fully. Tris is personally targeted by the Erudite faction and has trouble dealing with the incredible stress she is under, which causes her relationships with other characters take a huge hit as the book goes on.
Why should you read this book?
Second installments in trilogies tend to be the darkest, and Insurgent certainly follows that pattern. The momentum from Divergent is increased, with an edge of your seat cliffhanger at the end of Insurgent. If you enjoyed Divergent, or like dystopian literature in general, Insurgent is a good bet. However, if young adult literature leaves you feeling annoyed, you may want to pass this by; both books are filled with YA tropes. If you don’t like to be left hanging at the darkest moment in the story, I might advise waiting to pick up this book until the final volume in the trilogy is published.