Review: Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth

A single choice can transform you. One choice can destroy you. On Choosing Day, the people of five different factions make a choice that will change their lives. You can choose to leave your old faction behind in favor of a new one, but you will forever be bound to your new faction so it is not a choice one makes rashly. If you fail to meet the initiation for each faction, you become Factionless.

Tris Prior is different. She is Divergent and her choices destroy her.

Tris is in a dark place. Shas witnessed unspeakable horrors and is struggling to cope with the destruction and choices she has made. She needs to find forgiveness in others and learn to forgive herself. To find forgiveness, Tris must find the truth.

Tris is not used to sharing her secrets and her pain with others. She wears her secrets, choices, and experiences like armor. Her inner struggle is one of the things that makes this book great. She starts acting selfish and makes poor decisions in regards to her life simply to numb the pain she is feeling. Her boyfriend, Tobias (Four) desperately tries to reach her and help her, but he can’t save her from her own self destruction.

The five factions are at war. Erudite has brain washed a large portion of the Dauntless faction and plans a complete take over of the other factions. Erudite is rounding up the Divergent and running creepy science experiments on them in order to gain complete control over the masses. Tris, her boyfriend Tobias (Four), and their friends must find a way to stop them before the execute all the Divergent and take over the factions. Their only hope is to utilize the Factionless.

The Factionless are the social outcasts who failed their faction initiation and are now abandoned by their families, friends, and old factions…it is a seedy underground world with it’s own hierarchy. For some, death is preferable to being Factionless, but those who choose to live as Factionless there is safety in numbers.

The plan is to aline the remaining factions with the Factionless and overthrow the Erudite, replacing the Erudite with the Factionless. Tris feels like this would simply be trading one dictatorship for another. She doesn’t like it. She knows there is something else out there, something the Factionless leaders and the Erudite leaders fear. She overhears two leaders talking about in and knows there is a missing piece to the puzzle. She must know the truth.

Another choice to be made. Aline with the Factionless or abandon the fight and search for the truth? Tris and Tobias disagree on their paths, but at the end of the day, Tris must make a choice, but her choice could deprive her of the person she loves most: Tobias. She is Divergent, her choice is never easy.

Tris and Tobias are both Divergent, but Tobias only showed aptitude for two factions: Abnegation and Dauntless–selflessness and courage. While Tris showed aptitude for three factions: Abnegation, Dauntless, and Erudite—selflessness, courage, and intelligence. Pursuit of knowledge and truth wins.

The thing that shines in this novel is Tris. In this book we get a lot of insight into the human psyche and spirit. The characters are put in intense situations where they need to choose and the choice is not always easy. This book is about living with regret, guilt, and your choices. Tris is easy for a broad audience to identify with. Every time that she thinks you can’t go on, or  wishes someone else would pick up the torch so she can have a moment of weakness…..she can’t. Tris doesn’t know how to fail. This is the true mark of strength. Even if the reader isn’t like Tris in that way, they admire her for it and wish they could be like her.

I also liked that Roth pointed out that each faction had its good points as well as its bad. Even though the Erudite are clearly the enemy, the characters point out the good qualifies of Erudite…they are the teachers, the doctors, the scientists:

Not all of them are power hungry and devoid of consciousness….but fascinated by everything, dissatisfied until they find out how it works (34)

I thought it was important to remember that in the story. It is easy to forget the good when the bad is so dominant.

This book was full of action from beginning to end and I liked that the romance part didn’t overpower the story. I especially liked that there was no teenage love triangle that is so popular in YA fiction, that was a relief in of it self. I think Tobias and Tris are perfectly suited for each other….a good balance between the characters. Usually the second book in a series is the ‘necessary’ book, filling in the gaps and questions from the previous book. It is rare that I find a sequel which rivals the original book, but with Insurgent, it matches Divergent page for page.

They say the road to hell is paved with the best of intentions. Tris must rally back from her personal hell and learn to forgiveness. The people need her. She must find her inner strength and rise above the tragedy. Tris must make a choice.

Tris is no longer just Divergent, she is Insurgent.

Challenge/Book Summary:

Book: Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth

  • Hardcover, 544 pages
  • Published May 1st 2012 by HarperCollins Children’s Books
  • ISBN 0062024043 (ISBN13: 9780062024046)

This book counts toward: The Dystopia Reading Challenge

Recommendation: 5 out of 5 (first in a riveting, unputdownable dystopian series)

Genre: YA, dystopian literature, post-apocalyptic literature, speculative fiction

Memorable lines/quotes:

I didn’t realize that I wore my secrets as armor until they were gone and now everyone sees me as I really am (151)

I can’t for you…I can’t make you want to survive this…but you will do it. It doesn’t matter if you believe you can or not. You will, because that’s who you are (365)
People, I have discovered, are layers and layers of secrets. You believe you know them, that you understand them, but their motives are always hidden from you, buried in their own hearts. You will never know them but sometimes you decide to trust them (510)

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