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.
Although I didn’t post a review on this particular blog about Divergent, Veronica Roth’s first book in this series, I did read and rate it on Twitter (I gave it 4/5 worms), and I did particularly enjoy it. I was able to identify with Tris because I saw a bit of myself in this main protagonist. See, Tris lives in a dystopian society in which everybody lives with a faction of their choosing when they reach what the society deems adulthood–which, of course, is still the teenage years in our society. The factions are based upon personality traits: Abnegation for the selfless, Candor for the honest, Amity for the peaceful, Erudite for the intelligent, and Dauntless for the brave. Most people fit into these categories easily, and when they take a test it tells them which one they should choose. However, every once in a while there’s a person who doesn’t fit neatly into a mold, and they’re known as Divergent. Tris, of course, is Divergent. She has traits of Abnegation, Erudite, and Dauntless. But being Divergent is dangerous because it’s harder to control divergents, so, of course, people want them eliminated.
Like I said before, I found Divergent to be everything you’d want in a dystopian novel. There was action, an amazing and strong female protagonist… I absolutely loved it. Even things that were usually used to put a woman down–like small stature–were used to a realistic advantage through Tris. In essence, there were moments where Divergent was a feminist reader’s dream book.
Unfortunately, Insurgent fell short, which is incredibly disappointing. There was still action, and the story still kept me interested for the most part–we’re now in full-out war amongst the factions, and there’s a secret about the “outside world” that we will learn–but Tris is no longer this strong and independent girl we saw during Divergent. While much of Tris’s journey in Divergent was about herself and her own independence and choices, Insurgent revolved so heavily around Tris’s relationship with Four that I felt like it often overshadowed much more important aspects of the story. When she should have been worrying about the battles she was fighting and what it meant for everybody, she was worrying about whether or not Four really loved her. To me, that was incredibly annoying, especially when it was paired with character moments that shouldn’t have been resolved as easily as they were.
See, there are many moments in which Four and Tris lie to and betray each other for “their own good” so to speak, and we’ve been shown that both are incredibly stubborn and easy to anger. And yet, when Tris betrays Four in a huge way–however necessary to the plot and the war it was–how quickly he forgives her is far too unbelievable for me to be able to stay in the story without going “seriously?” I just wasn’t as impressed with the world of this sequel as I was with its original.
- The action is still incredible. Roth doesn’t hold back on the violence and the pain; war means death and grieving, and we absolutely get that here.
- The supporting characters. I love that Christina doesn’t forgive Tris right away for Will’s death. I love the love triangle that happens between some of the less-focused on fighters.
- The suspense. Your enemy is not always cut and dry. People betray you, and your friends are used against you against their will. It’s fantastic.
- Tris. She’s not as relatable in this book and she loses herself in her relationship with Four.
- Four. Tobias. Whatever you wish to call him. He feels more like filler than a fleshed-out character.