I liked the first book Divergent, so I was eager to read the next book in the series, Insurgent. Seems like quite a lot of people enjoyed it, but for me personally … I was rather disappointed.
Insurgent picks up immediately after the events of Divergent. It actually is just a straight continuation, and this wouldn’t be a problem except for the fact that the first book was published a year ago, and many people forgot names and events. Insurgent does nothing to help the reader remember the previous book, no flashbacks, no references, no recap. It was really hard to sympathize with Tris because of this — she would be lamenting the death of so-and-so and all I could think of was, “Who was that again? Why do I care?” Or if I did remember the character, I couldn’t remember how they died, etc. I know, I know, the author said she intentionally did not want to recap, and has written up a lovely chart to help readers with this issue (clearly, this was a problem and I’m not the only one experiencing it), but I don’t think I should have to look up a chart on the Internet to help my understanding of the story. I think it was a mistake on the author’s part to have no recapping. With a little help from the Internet, I did eventually remember everything I needed to know but the beginning was unnecessarily difficult to engage with.
Insurgent is about the war that occurs as a result of the final events of Divergent. Tris and her friends try to find out just what the Erudite and traitor Dauntless want, and prepare for a fight against them. This means trying to gain allies with the other factions, and even the factionless. While this all occurs, Tris tries to grapple with the guilt of having killed one of her good friends (from last book), and also has to deal with her slowly deteriorating relationship with Tobias/Four.
As I already mentioned, the beginning of the story was tough for the first hundred pages or so. Even if I remembered everything crystal clear from the previous book, it just felt like nothing much was happening and it wasn’t very exciting. Things didn’t seem to get much better as I approached the middle of the book either. The story just didn’t seem to have the same spark, the same excitement, that I felt when I read Divergent.
In the first book, I already mentioned how I found the world of the story — the factions segregating the population by human virtues — hard to believe and unrealistic. However, since I liked the plot a lot, I was willing to overlook it for the most part. In this second book, however, Tris is no longer hanging around only one faction; rather, she is interacting a lot more with people from other factions, so the differences between the factions was brought to the forefront. I had to tell myself that these people must be some futuristic type of human breed, because it’s just so difficult to imagine humans that live by one and only one virtue, to the extreme. And the idea of a human having more than one virtue is crazy to them! Someone who is selfless and honest? Or brave and logical? Impossible! I found it difficult to swallow, and difficult to overlook this time around.
Tris and Four’s relationship was rather exasperating. In many ways, it is your typical YA relationship of a middle book in a series — problems are popping up between them, and there’s lots of angst and stuff like that. The problem I had was that the two of them kept fighting over the exact same problem. All they argued about was “You don’t trust me!” and “No, you don’t trust me!” It got old fast, never went anywhere, and I found myself wanting them to just break up.
It sounds like I didn’t like this book at all, but in truth, I think this book wasn’t bad, though it was only okay. The very end of the book saved it a little bit. It was exciting and action-packed, the kind of oomph I was expecting from the story. And I rather liked the cliffhanger, even if it was kind of predictable as to what was outside the wall (I didn’t know the exact details, but it wasn’t hard to generalize). I will be reading the next book though, because hey, I’ve already read the first two. And I find myself actually do wanting to find out what happens next, and I have optimistic hopes for book three.