Veronica Roth’s Insurgent is the second book in the Divergent series and picks up where it’s predecessor, Divergent, left off; Tris, Tobias, Caleb, Marcus and Peter fleeing the aftermath of the Abnegation attack, on the train, out of the city. Along their journey they attempt to rejoin the remaining loyal Dauntless and seek safe haven with other factions, but with Erudite and the rebel Dauntless out for blood, allies are few and far between.
Tris’ guilt over her parents’ deaths and killing Will is pulling her into a darkness she has not known before and Tris finds herself having a bit of a death wish, placing extreme pressure on her relationship with Tobias.
|Shailene Woodley nails this heartbreaking scene in the film|
With major secrets and tension between them, and Tris and Tobias find their still fragile relationship on very shaky ground. While navigating troubles of their own, they must unravel the more important mystery of why Abnegation was attacked in the first place and why Jeanine Mason is dead-set on identifying all the divergents. Danger and mystery abound, friend and foe is indistinguishable. A surprise return, a shocking betrayal and an unexpected ally are just some of the things keeping the reader off balance, and the unpredictable journey Tris takes the reader on makes Insurgent a very satisfying continuation of the series.
Shortly after finishing Divergent, I innocently and accidentally came across a major Allegiant spoiler on Pinterest, which unfortunately doused my interest in continuing the series. My delay in continuing the series therefore had nothing to do with my enjoyment thereof, or the quality of Roth’s work. Time and distance has reawakened my curiosity and I am finally ready to see how Tris’ journey reaches its inevitable conclusion. I very much enjoyed the action and adventure Insurgent provides, and I think the series is playing out very cleverly. While in Divergent I admired Tris’ bravery, I found myself frustrated with her in Insurgent. I had a hard time understanding why she made some of the decisions she did. I absolutely respect the fact that she has lost both her parents and that the uncertainty of her current situation must be overwhelming, yet I found Tris making (in my opinion) very stupid choices in this book.
|Tris cuts her hair in mourning|
I believe Roth wanted to illustrate Tris’ death wish, in which she succeeded, but the problem is that Tris’ rash behaviour placed not only herself in danger, but those around her as well, and this disregard for the safety of others is very unlike Tris. Lying, keeping secrets and breaking promises also come much too easy. More than once I also felt that Tris had zero regard for her relationship with Tobias, and she continued to make choices she knew would hurt both Tobias and their relationship, without attempting to have a mature conversation with him first.
The thing I liked least about Insurgent is that I struggled to identify with Tris this time around. It was easy in Divergent, but I did not connect with Tris all that well in Insurgent. I do, however, commend Roth for her bravery in taking Tris on this emotional rollercoaster and not shying away from the darkness inside of Tris; it makes Tris’ ultimate epiphany that much more tangible and satisfying.
|Tobias with the Factionless|
We do discover why Abnegation was targeted, what Tris’ parents were willing to die for (besides Tris and Caleb), and a whole new world is opened to us, ready to be discovered in Allegiant. All in all Insurgent makes for a very satisfying read.
Series: Divergent (not standalone)
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books