May 31, 2012

Book Discussion: Insurgent

This month's YA Book Club book up for discussion is Veronica Roth's Insurgent. For those of you who have never heard of this book (haha...right) here's the Goodreads summary:

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.

I've said this before, but it bears repeating: Divergent (the first in the series) is the only book that I've ever reread within a matter of months of reading it the first time. That's how good it was. Needless to say, I had really high expectations for Book 2. And I was (mostly) not disappointed. I'm going to try my hardest not to include spoilers, so this could be fun. Plus, I should probably add a bit of a disclaimer: I read the majority of this book on a 7-hour flight to Scotland, so my excitement over that may have taken away from my excitement over this just a touch. So bear that in mind.

Faction Road Trip
As much as Dauntless was the main faction that interested me in Divergent, I was still a little curious about everyday life in Candor, Erudite, and Amity (we already know a decent amount about Abnegation from the outset). Insurgent gives us a really good taste of each faction, albeit under more stressful circumstances following the events of Divergent. It was great to get these glimpses, though I started getting a little tired of it by the end of the book. After a while I felt like I was bouncing around like a ball in one of those Fisher Price corn popper push toys. Plus, I really felt the absence of the Dauntless headquarters in this book. Even though there were some pretty awful things that happened there, it really set the mood for Divergent. I wanted to be there again.

Tris + Four
I'm one of those girls who likes a good romance in the books she reads. The relationship between Tris and Four was one of my favourite things about Divergent. I looked forward to it in Insurgent, and while there were some steamy scenes, I found myself wishing for more Four when he wasn't on the pages. And I don't just mean more smoochy scenes, I mean more interaction between Tris and Four. At times it felt like Tris was sabotaging their relationship, and it drove me batty that she felt the need to sneak around and lie to Four about what she was up to. It made me dislike her a little bit. That being said, I think Roth created a real relationship here with all of its warts and flaws, which is commendable. None of this My special guy is so perfect and so dreamy he poops rainbows crapola. Although, I do take issue with the addition of further description of Four's appearance that included sticky-outy ears and a hooked nose. What!? Ewww! It gave him a Sloth Love Chunk or Dear God What Is That Thing kind of feel, which is Just. Not. Good.

Characters Old and New
Most of the characters who survived and returned in Insurgent were developed really well—Peter, Johanna, Marcus, Christina, Uriah... And, of course, there was (as Tracey Neithercott has dubbed him) You Know Who (not Voldie) and the shock at what he does. Yowza! Did not see that coming. Insurgent does a great job of showing different groups of people trying to cope and survive in this new landscape.

Action and Reaction
This book seemed like it was always go go go—there was always something going on. And that's a good thing. There was never really a dull moment. I thought it was very realistic to show Tris in the aftermath of the events of Divergent, and the effect that would have on a person. Not only did she survive when others didn't, she also has to deal with things she was forced to do. Very few people would bounce back and move on unscathed. I did start to wish she'd snap out of it, though.

Surprise!!!
Without giving anything away, I will say that the big reveal answered a number of questions while (obviously) raising a multitude of others. There were things about it that I thought were pretty cool, but there were also aspects that I found somewhat hard to believe. Of course, I'm hoping this will all become clearer and will be explained further in a way that I can buy into when Book 3 comes out.

Final Thoughts
Despite how it may come across, I really enjoyed Insurgent. Not quite as much as Divergent, but then my expectations were high and I was a little distracted as I've already mentioned. I think I need to read this book again soon to see if some of my negative reactions change at all. Even with some of my quibbles with certain aspects of the book, there is still no disputing the awesomeness that is Veronica Roth and her writing. Seriously, that woman puts me to shame while giving me something to aspire to. Well done! I can't wait for Detergent, and to see where she takes this story.

If you'd like to read what others thought about Insurgent, follow this link to Tracey Neithercott's Words on Paper blog for links to other Insurgent reviews.

Have you read Insurgent yet? What did you think? Feel free to share (w/o spoilers) in a comment.


P. S. I would almost lay money on Book 3 being titled Convergent. I think the idea of all the factions finally coming together from their different corners makes sense. What do you think?


24 comments:

  1. I actually thought INSURGENT was slightly better than DIVERGENT--though we're talking fractions of fractions because they are both supremely awesome books. A good review, Jaime--and congrats for keeping away from INSURGENT spoilers!! DETERGENT can't come soon enough... :)

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    1. I felt like certain things that I really loved about DIVERGENT were missing in INSURGENT, and that's why it ranks a little lower for me. I wasn't sure if I wanted to post my thoughts on the book, because everyone seemed to love it so much. Nobody wants to be the Debbie Downer, you know? Overall, I really liked it, but there were things I didn't love.

      And I agree: DETERGENT can't come out soon enough. :)

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  2. Man, I haven't read ANY of them! Of course I've seen them around everywhere. I must get on that. :)

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    1. You should definitely read them. They're such great books, and I feel like I learned a lot from Veronica Roth's writing style. :)

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  3. I need to go pick this one up for my daughter. She read Divergent and said it's better than her favorite series, Hunger Games. Yeah. I was shocked. I need to get around to reading it too, but just have a ton going on right now. I plan to read it though...eventually.

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    1. I'm sure you'll love them, but you definitely want to tackle them when you have time because they're pretty unputdownable. :)

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  4. Fab (and spoiler-less) review, Jaime! And one in which I completely agree...

    Same as you, I devoured DIVERGENT last year, then re-read it immediately again - I've never done that before! But it was because I loved everything about the factions - loved Dauntless and what it stood for...and of course, more than loved Tris and Four. And unfortunately, much of all that was missing for me, from INSURGENT.

    While it was good, I didn't find it great - maybe the newness of the idea had worn off, I don't know. Whatever it was, I really hope she brings it all home (with much more Four!) in DETERGENT!!!

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    1. I keep trying to comment on your post about the book, but for some reason it's not working. :( Anyway, I agree 100% with what you had to say in your review. I really wanted more Four, and not just so they'd smooch more. :)

      I'm hoping that everything that I loved about DIVERGENT that I felt was absent in INSURGENT with have a resurgence in DETERGENT. Hahaha! :D

      P.S. I think Book 3 will be entitled CONVERGENT, but that's just a guess. I like the idea of everything and everyone coming back together again.

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  5. I am re-reading Divergent right now to prepare. I think it would so hard to write a second and third book in a series (you know?!?)!

    Oh and hey, hope your kitty story is the same outcome for us. *fingers crossed*

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    1. I agree with you! I think Veronica Roth did a great job of overcoming problems of the dreaded middle book in a series. This book did not feel like a middle book at all, which was great.

      I'm rooting for your kitties! :D

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  6. I just laughed so hard over the Sloth comparison. I wasn't too thrilled by the hooked nose reference, either :)

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    1. I guess I just feel that less is more when it comes to descriptions of characters, you know? I really could have done without that little tidbit about Four. :)

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  7. Haha! You know I was perfectly fine with Four's appearance. I like that he's not a pretty boy like LI all seem to be now. But now I'm gonna have a hard time not picturing Sloth lol! Tris is supposed to have a bit of a beak on her as well. They're children are screwed.

    I literally zoomed through Insurgent because of the fast-paced plot. I like the constant action. Sounded like a true war. I preferred Tris and Four's relationship in Divergent. I don't want a perfect relationship but at least in Divergent there was only a little drama and they'd get through it. Insurgent had them both at each other's throats constantly I was like 'seriously, take a break. It worked for Ross and Rachel'. The drama there was a little too much for me to the point where I'm even wondering if it could work out.

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    1. The funny thing is that I never pictured Four as being totally hot. What I found attractive about him was how he acted with Tris. Hard to erase the image of sticky outy ears and a hooked nose, though.

      You're right about it feeling like they were always at each other's throats. It did get a little irritating after a while.

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  8. Great review! Like you, I probably enjoyed reading DIVERGENT more than INSURGENT, but I still enjoyed this second book. Sloth-like appearances and all! (That was a hilarious comment.)

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    1. I enjoyed it too, I just missed certain things from DIVERGENT. That being said, this did not feel like a middle book at all, which is really great! :)

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  9. I'm a huge Four fan, so I would have loved more and more of him. That said, this relationship feel real to me, and part of that was the way in which both Four and Tris kept secrets. (Though Tris did hide some huge things, remember that Four barely told her anything relating to his mother...) Anyhow, I also loved how she didn't view Four as this can't-do-wrong hero. It felt like a realistic progression of a relationship, especially one occurring under those circumstances.

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    1. You're right, the relationship did feel more real than a lot of relationships I encounter in books that I read. I just have a hard time with people lying to one another and a breakdown of communication between two people. Totally frustrating. The sad thing is, that's realistic. I'm just kind of a sucker for a good smoochy romance, I guess. :)

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  10. You're so right about how it seemed like Tris was sabotaging the relationship many times. I really felt that way and that led me to like/relate to Four even MORE and miss seeing him when Tris would go rogue. :-) I also liked the road trip (and hope that in book three we see even more of what's going outside of Chicago--it seems like we will) and the many supporting characters. Great post!

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    1. It's hard to watch/read about people making really crummy decisions, isn't it? Not that Four was blameless, but I often found myself groaning at yet another dumb thing Tris would do without telling him or lying about it.

      I'm definitely looking forward to Book 3 and getting a glimpse of the world outside Chicago! :)

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  11. I definitely need to read this one! And re-read Divergent again. And I'm sorry, but I'm just not going to picture Four with a hooked nose. :)

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    1. I tried to erase the words from memory, believe me. Fortunately for me, author descriptions of characters tend to fade into the background, and a picture just forms itself in my mind regardless of how the character was described. In this case, that's a good thing. :)

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  12. Many great things you mention here that are relevant and accurate.
    The hooked nose description also gave me pause, just because I don't remember that sort of a description from book one. It made me think, wait-- what does Four look like again?, because I'm imagining this medium height intense dark-haired guy without a hooked nose for some reason.
    I did want to see more of Four and Tris, and it was frustrating to watch her causing what at times felt like unnecessary problems in the relationship... but then every time they would mention she was sixteen I would think, Oh, that's RIGHT, she's SIXTEEN. It's like with all the action and stunts and adrenaline I forgot that she's only sixteen. And sixteen year olds thwart good relationships all the time for what seems like illogical reasons.
    I liked her style and the fast pace, though sometimes the logic confused me-- but I read it over a month picking it up here and there while I was doing other things, and that was stupid on my part. I could have easily missed something.

    Interesting idea for the third title. I thought Insurgent as a title was just. SO. GOOD. It has such a layered connotation because of the US's appropriation of it in the recent wars. Convergent? Resurgent? Emergent? Can't wait to see what they pick next.

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  13. I don't care for romance in books/movies much because it usually seems unreal. I don't usually feel like the two really like each other. This one was okay; it didn't grate my nerves anyway. The whole book zipped along, no real lags in the pace. It didn't bore me, which is my number one rule of entertainment: I don't want it to have wasted my time, and this didn't.

    After reading the last chapter, my theory is that the third book will be called "Emergent" with the tagline "One choice can free you."

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