When I read Veronica Roth’s Divergent, I thought it was a good book that had the potential for a great sequel. Insurgent is that sequel, and it is even better than I’d predicted. Now that Roth has established how her world works in Divergent, she gives herself the freedom to rip it apart completely. The book started out really confusing for me, because I hadn’t read Divergent in a year and I was too lazy to read the Guide to Divergent that the author had very thoughtfully posted on her site. Tip: read that guide. That being said, even though, other than Tris and Four, I had no idea who the other characters were, I got to know them and quickly came to care for them, just from reading Insurgent.
Insurgent is just amazing. I love how real it felt — Tris has been scarred, literally and figuratively, from the events in Divergent. (Warning: Divergent spoilers ahead.) She has been through some horribly traumatic events, and I love that Roth never lets us forget it. We are constantly reminded that Tris doesn’t have time to heal — her shoulder, injured in Divergent, can be used against her in battle. Her shooting of her good friend Will traumatizes her so that she is unable to use a gun, and also too ashamed to explain why. These plot points figure prominently throughout Insurgent, and I love how they are more than just dramatic plot points; they have become integral parts of Tris’ character.
I’d never been a big fan of the physical “courage” of the Dauntless — as revealed in their training sessions, it seemed more reckless adrenaline hunts than actual courage. So I love that Tris reveals her Divergent side in this book. She still has a temper and a tendency to be reckless, but these are more because of her trauma than actual recklessness. She is tired, guilty over Will, and wanting to be with her parents, so a part of her seeks dangerous situations — this strikes me as a very understandable reaction to all she’s been through, and I love that even with this desire, she still has logical reasons for her actions. I’ve always been a fan of Erudite, even though the villain Jeanine is from that faction, so I love that Tris’ being a Divergent means she has a very strong Erudite side. Tris is just kick-ass, both physically and intellectually, and she really takes charge in this book.
The best part? We find out why Jeanine has acted as she did, and the reason sets us up for what could be a killer finale. It’s a risky revelation, and such a big twist that I wasn’t sure how I felt about it beyond that it reminded me of a plot point from The Hunger Games. (Given how many plot twists there are in The Hunger Games, I think it’s safe to make that comparison without risking any spoilers.) I do know that while Divergent is good, and Insurgent is amazing, the third book has the potential to be even better. After seeing how wonderfully Roth exceeded my expectations and raised the stakes in Insurgent, I can’t wait to see what she’ll come up with next!
Anyone have a betting pool as to what the title of book 3 will be? I’m putting it on record — I’d long predicted it’ll be Convergent, but after reading this book, I now think it’ll be Resurgent. Or, more likely, Roth will decide to surprise us all and choose a different title altogether for book 3, one that doesn’t end in “gent.”