Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Review - Insurgent

Review – Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent, the highly anticipated sequel to Veronica’s Roth successful Divergent dystopian YA novel, was released last week to a very excited audience.  We were part of that audience and even luckier, we had an advance review copy as part of Harper Collins’ promotion for the novel. Thank you, Rosi! I was placed in team Candor….so, from that perspective here is my review.

First off, if you haven’t read Divergent, do that now.  Don’t bother reading the rest of this review.  Not because there are spoilers but because Insurgent doesn’t work very well as a standalone novel. It’s part of a trilogy and really needs to be read that way to get full enjoyment from it. It starts off exactly where Divergent left off – and no doubt it ends where the third book will start. Also, I really, really liked Divergent.

So, if you’re still reading this review it’s probably because you’ve read Divergent so introductions to it aren’t really necessary. If you do need a reminder, go here for my review of it.

Insurgent is a battlefield.  A battlefield of guns and serum weaponry, of wills and political power, of factions and ways of life, of conscience and of hearts.

For me, the focus in Divergent was on choice, and this continues in Insurgent but is enveloped far more in questions of trust. Far more so than in Divergent, the characters find that they cannot reliably trust anyone – or even anything – anymore.  Life is no longer how they knew it and they’re all uncertain as to what it will become – and they’re frightened (yes, even some of the Dauntless) about what the consequences of their battle action will bring. It really moves the action into the world of Divergent rather than focussing on Dauntless HQ and training. I enjoyed this aspect of the novel a lot – the more philosophical elements that for me are an essential characteristic of dystopian fiction for any audience. I also enjoyed exploring who and what the Divergent and Factionless are. But, for me, the focus in this book is on action. What you take away most from this book will depend on who you are as a reader.

I did find the middle of the book a bit messy.  I found that many of the secondary (or even tertiary) characters were blurred for me and I often got confused as to who they were. For me, Tobias and Four don’t fit together very well as a single character and that disappointed me.  I missed the Four from Divergent. And I still have that niggle over Tris as a strong female character.  Yes, she is strong and her strength and character does grow – but again, as in Divergent, if it wasn’t for Tobias/Four, where would she be?

Insurgent is high-octane action from beginning to end – with a frequent dose of snogging (and tears from the characters) too. If you enjoyed Divergent, you’ll most likely enjoy Insurgent.  If you’re anything like me, you’ll enjoy it a bit less though.  But, of course, all credit to Roth, I want to know how the trilogy ends!!! Convergent? Emergent?
For me as a reader, the baton has been handed back to Veronica Roth and Harper Collins – you guys really need to smash it next time.

Publication details:
Harper Collins, 2012, London, paperback
This copy: received as a review copy from Harper Collins


  1. You're definitely right - there is a lot of pressure on the final book to be absolutely outstanding. But I trust Veronica Roth to make it a good ending to the series!

  2. Great review M, I enjoyed Insurgent even more because of the action but I can see what you mean about how Four / Tobias was so different this time. I can't wait to see how Veronica Roth manages to finish this trilogy - I have a feeling it'll be in a way I never saw coming but I love your convergent / emergent comment lol

    1. I love how readers latch on to different aspects of a book. Yes, I wonder where exactly Roth'll take it. I bet the ending isn't written in stone yet. And for me, Four is Four :)

  3. great review (sorry I'm a bit late to the party here!) I kinda have to agree with the Tris from this book, she didnt seem anywhere near as strong as I thought she was in the first book and I thought she relied upon others - particularly guys - too much in this.

    1. Better late than never, Raimy! And you had that late arrvial to deal with anyway. I'm glad someone agrees with me on this. I think it's so easy to get caught up in the hype and hold onto a romanticised image of characters.


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