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Insurgent

Insurgent  - Veronica Roth

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so. (source)

 

 

It's very clear that this is an interim novel. Divergent set the stage, establishing the world of Tris Prior and the role that she will play in it. I assume that Allegiant is going to be about righting the wrongs in the dystopia that she lives in and will end with her and Tobias living happily ever after. And that leaves Insurgent to sort of tie both ends together, nothing more than a pathway from point A to point B. 

 

There were parts that I liked about it. I was happy to get some more information on Tobias - a bit of the  mystery is gone and, as expected, he has quite an interesting background. It was also good to watch Tris as she learned more about who she is and what being Divergent really means. In this book, we watch her struggle to be Dauntless, and accept that even if she's initiated, she'll  never be a true part of that faction. And we also get to see her accept this fact and accept its consequences. 

 

But for all of that, there were still flaws present. I think that Roth's writing has matured a touch since Divergent, but it's still not quite enough to get it to the level that I believe that, as a YA novel, it should be. The story was incredibly slow-moving at parts, probably a consequence of this being a transition novel. Tris & Co. were constantly in limbo:

Are they safe with Amity? How about Candor? Can they trust the factionless? Oh, heck, maybe Dauntless is safe after all. Just kidding, to Abnegation we go! Oh shoot, that didn't work either - back to Amity again! You get the picture.

(show spoiler)

There was too much unsteadiness and, in my opinion, not enough real progress being made. 

 

The utter lack of communication between Tris and Tobias in this novel was infuriating. In Divergent, I could accept it - you know, the whole I'm-in-love-with-my-mentor/mentee thing; it's not really super professional to just pour your heart out and even after stuff happens, it makes sense for everything to not be completely out in the open. But now, they're officially a couple and everyone knows it, so that isn't a valid reason for them to not be communicating. Instead of seeing their relationship grow and develop in this book, we watch it crumble and frankly, given everything they've been through, it should've fallen apart at the end of this book. They've both gone behind each other's backs, they've lied to each other, they've betrayed each other - and what's more, they both know it. They'll accuse each other of not being completely honest, yet they each hold their own secrets and guard them with their lives. Relationships thrive on trust. It's something that Tris and Tobias have yet to learn, and if things were to smooth out at the end of this, we should have seen them have a long conversation, complete with apologies and everything. Instead, we get a quick "you were right all along" from Tobias followed by a nice, big, public smooch, and we're expected to believe that everything's all fine and dandy, at least until Allegiant. And after everything they've been through, I'm just not buying it. 

 

And finally, the BIG SECRET PLOT TWIST at the end, like many other plot twists in the first book, was SO obvious. It was so obvious that I was actually questioning at various points why it hadn't been addressed yet. And then about 75% through the book, I was like "OH. This is supposed to be a surprise, I guess?" And then, it was. But it actually wasn't, because apparently we don't do surprises well in this series. *sigh*

 

So, I don't know. Remember how with DivergentI said it basically wasn't worth the hype and hopefully it would get better? Well, thus far, it hasn't. So, sorry, Veronica Roth, I took half a star captive. And if things don't improve in Allegiant, I'm going to take another half a star, maybe even a whole one. Yes, this book is enjoyable and the story has captured my attention, and I absolutely will read Allegiant, because I do want to see how this story ends (even though I'm like 99% sure I already know the answer to that). But thus far, more than anything else, I've been unimpressed. This book hasn't been a waste of time, because, again, I did like it - but frankly, it's nothing special. Hopefully, the next book will be.