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157 of 172 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written, great secrets, solid second novel
I have been eagerly awaiting Insurgent by Veronica Roth along with many other people after the startling and thrilling first book, Divergent. That book introduced us to five factions of a dystopian society, and one brave girl named Tris, who decides to join the Dauntless. It's clear by the end of the book that she belongs to the group of Divergent, meaning that she could...
Published 23 months ago by Christina (Ensconced in Lit)

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95 of 113 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ms. Roth, Your Logic Is Flawed
I loved Divergent. It was everything a book should be: smart, philosophical, funny and sad in all the right places. Although the premise was a bit unlikely, the worldbuilding was first-rate, and I was able to willingly suspend my disbelief long enough to enjoy the book.

However, there was something wrong with the ending. While a war between the factions was...
Published 21 months ago by Hello Seattle


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157 of 172 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well written, great secrets, solid second novel, May 2, 2012
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This review is from: Insurgent (Divergent, Book 2) (Divergent Series) (Hardcover)
I have been eagerly awaiting Insurgent by Veronica Roth along with many other people after the startling and thrilling first book, Divergent. That book introduced us to five factions of a dystopian society, and one brave girl named Tris, who decides to join the Dauntless. It's clear by the end of the book that she belongs to the group of Divergent, meaning that she could have belonged to any one of these factions with her personality traits.

This book takes off immediately where the last one ended. At first it's a jumble of confusion, and I may have made more sense if I had reread the first one right before this one. The factionless have more of a story, and we get more fleshed out characters. I have to admit I was a little disheartened by the first half of the book. To me, it seemed like we were drifting around in Tris's bizzare guilt trip. I understood she was working through her issues but I was almost overwhelmed by the amount of pages dedicated to this. Overall, the story has a darker tone and almost gets too heavy.

However, things change when secrets start to be revealed. My absolute favorite part of the book was when we are introduced to some Erudite characters who end up being more three dimensional than Tris ever imagined. The last secret revealed made the whole book worth reading.

While I had some reservations, I thought overall this book was well written and ramped up heavily at the end. The last 25% of the book was really terrific. Just personally, I think that I liked the first book better because we are first introduced into this world that is so completely different than has been created before. However, the second book is a solid companion to the first, and I am excited to see how the story ends.
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290 of 323 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved Insurgent. Love Veronica Roth!, May 1, 2012
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This review is from: Insurgent (Divergent, Book 2) (Divergent Series) (Hardcover)
First Impressions: I had been looking forward to reading Insurgent ever since I finished reading Divergent (for the millionth time) last year. One morning I woke up and before I even had my morning coffee, I heard a nice thud outside of my front door. I kind of feel like there should have been fireworks and confetti when I opened up the package and laid my hands on my pretty proof of Insurgent. I hugged it. I stroked the cover, and it gained its place at the top of my review pile. My precious..... If you haven't already read Divergent, you need to go get a copy NOW! You are missing out on reading an amazing trilogy and trust me; you don't want to miss these books.

First 50 Pages: The beginning of Insurgent picks up right where Divergent left off, luckily. I was hoping there wouldn't be any gaps in time between the first book and the second, and there wasn't. I was also worried that Insurgent would suffer from Sophomore Slump, but it didn't. If fact, I think I enjoyed Insurgent more than I did Divergent because this book has a ton of action and more character development. However, the world-building in both books is phenomenal. I would love to know how Veronica Roth comes up with the things that she does, because even though this world she dreamed up is crazy (and awesome), it never seems too far-fetched. The Young Adult market is so flooded with dystopian novels right now that aren't plausible, with the exception of a select few, including the Divergent/Insurgent novels.

Characters & Plot: I'll do my best to keep this part as spoiler-free as possible so I don't ruin anything for anyone, but there might be some minor spoilers, so readers beware.

Like I stated above, Insurgent picks up right where Divergent left off. Tris is heading back to the Amity headquarters, not to mention being devastated from having to watch a good majority of her family murdered and from murdering one of her best friends, Will, while he was under a simulation. All of the consequences of the events that happened in Divergent begin to truly take its toll on Tris and she has a lot of feelings and emotions she has to work through.

Four, Caleb, and Marcus are also accompanying Tris as they travel to not only Amity, but Candor as well. They need to let everyone know about the war against Abnegation and that they have teamed up with Dauntless and Erudite. Unfortunately, they gain no support from either faction. A lot happens in Insurgent and it is easy to get confused on what exactly is going on. Jeanine Matthews is still on the loose and is collecting Divergent people for a purpose that isn't fully known. Four's mom also makes a comeback as the leader of the Factionless, and all sorts of other sub-plots and hell break loose. Veronica Roth makes it increasingly difficult to be able to choose sides and to be able to see which factions are the real villains, compared to the factions that have made bad choices. It is an incredibly complex story that somehow just works and I'm not sure any other author would have been able to put together so many different ideas that flow together so well.

Another relief of mine was the fact the Roth decided not to include a love triangle when it comes to Four and Tris' relationship. I was really worried that she would, because it seems like the thing to do in Young Adult novels, but she didn't. However, there are some personality issues that are going on in Insurgent that has changed from Divergent, and the couple endures their own struggles because of the varying feelings and emotions they are experiencing. Tris feels very helpless and is depressed for the majority of the story and it comes across in her recklessness. Four, or Tobias as he is called more often in this book, is a little more edgy in Insurgent, and does his best trying to do well for Tris, but he has his struggles and you can't help but to feel bad for him. Tris doesn't always make his job as the good boyfriend, easy.

Final Thoughts: There is a HUGE revelation that takes place in the final half of Insurgent and the book ends with a cliffhanger that is going to drive me absolutely insane until I can read the last and final book. Insurgent surpassed my expectations and I foresee it ending up on every single "Best of 2012" list later this year. Without a doubt, I very highly recommend picking up your own copy of Insurgent when it comes out May 1st!
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95 of 113 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ms. Roth, Your Logic Is Flawed, July 27, 2012
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This review is from: Insurgent (Divergent, Book 2) (Divergent Series) (Hardcover)
I loved Divergent. It was everything a book should be: smart, philosophical, funny and sad in all the right places. Although the premise was a bit unlikely, the worldbuilding was first-rate, and I was able to willingly suspend my disbelief long enough to enjoy the book.

However, there was something wrong with the ending. While a war between the factions was entirely likely, it just seemed a bit...rushed. Like the author had all of these cool things she wanted to write about and couldn't be bothered to wait until it made sense to introduce them, so she skipped all of the boring buildup and got right down to it. I hoped Insurgent would be better.

For the first half, it was. Roth took us to the other factions' compounds, and we got a glimpse of what their daily life is like. There were moments of raw beauty and power, like when Tris witnesses an Amity religious service, or when Tris and Tobias are interrogated by Candor. There were moments of chilling horror as well, like when a certain faction leader is executed. Those moments were when Roth's writing really shone.

Sadly, I don't think Roth recognized these moments for the gems that they were. As an aspiring novelist, I understand that. Sometimes, readers and writers like different things. The trick is to craft each scene as if it were your favorite, even if you hate it: to polish each scene to perfection. Unfortunately, Roth did not do this. She seemed impatient to get to "the good stuff." While this would be fine if the "good stuff" was as good as she seemed to think it was, it wasn't. The scenes Roth seemed to enjoy writing the most were often the most illogical.

**The following section contains spoilers.**

Take Erudite's big plan, for instance. Jeanine has infected about a third (I think) of the Dauntless with a serum that basically allows her to control their minds for a short time. Imagine what a ruthless dictator could do with a weapon like that. This isn't the simulation serum Erudite used to make the Dauntless attack Abnegation, kids; this is something far stronger. We see Jeanine speak through two Dauntless (telling Tris that Jeanine will kill two Dauntless every two days until the Divergent surrender) and then force them to throw themselves off a building. HOLY CRAP. Given that introduction, the opening act is going to be pretty hardcore, right?

Wrong. That's all Jeanine uses it for. She doesn't force the Dauntless to attack each other, thus thinning the ranks of loyal Dauntless. She doesn't access all of them at once and have them hogtie Tris and Tobias and bring them to the Erudite compound. Nope. She just has them deliver their message and then kills them. Well, she kills one. Tris catches Hector, an eight-year-old boy, before he falls. For the rest of the book, she chooses to remember it as the time she "chose not to save Marlene." That doesn't ring true, Roth: a real person would remember it as the time they "couldn't save Marlene," "didn't make it in time," or even "saved Hector but lost Marlene."

It gets worse: After that "attack," Tris catches a train to the Erudite compound. Alone. With the full intention of giving herself up to experimentation--which will only increase Jeanine's power, as she has SAID her goal is to learn how to control the Divergent--and eventual death. She doesn't even think of telling her friends, who would gladly suit up, arm themselves, and mount a surprise attack on Erudite to avenge the death of one of their own. She doesn't consider the fact that Erudite didn't implant the serum in all Dauntless; those could easily be left back at the compound behind three feet of reinforced steel to keep them from causing any damage, should Jeanine choose to activate said implants. No, Tris decides she's going to "die like the Abnegation" and makes the "selfless" choice to give herself up.

So Jeanine experiments on her. She puts Tris under simulation after simulation, but Tris sees each one for what it is. This sends Jeanine into orbit, who then decides that Tris is going to be executed the next morning. Now, I had heard something about a fantastic twist that no one saw coming, so when I got to this part, I thought Tris was going to die. I actually got excited. How would Roth carry the rest of the series, without Tris to narrate? Would she shift the viewpoint to Tobias, or maybe another Dauntless like Lynn? Unfortunately, Roth didn't even attempt this twist. Peter (yes, Peter, the traitor Dauntless who is now with Erudite, the Peter who stabbed Edward in the eyeball in the last book, and who tried to kill Tris so he could rise to the top) switches the death serum (they call it that) with a paralyzation serum (they call it that too) and rigs the heart monitor to flatline right about the time the death serum (seriously, Roth? could you have given it a more stupid name?) will take effect. Wow! I had no idea Erudite aka the Smart and Incredibly Paranoid Faction's equipment was so easily tampered with! How incredibly convenient for our plucky young heroine! How wonderfully coincidental that Peter (actually an acronym for Pure Evil To Every Rebel) would have a change of heart just in time to save our narrator's life!

I could go on about the lack of logic involved with Tobias surrendering himself and telling Tris about a rescue operation that's going to take place in two weeks, but I want to skip ahead to the part where Tris and a few others invade the Erudite compound AGAIN, this time so they can help Marcus (yes, that Marcus) steal the information the Priors died for. I'll take it one at a time.

First, Tris doesn't stop to think that maybe Marcus is lying to her. He's lied about a lot of stuff so far, but he chooses to tell the truth now, and Tris automatically believes him.

Second, she doesn't tell Tobias or anyone else that they're going to be helping Marcus while everyone else is attacking the compound. She could have just said "Hey, Tobe. Listen, the Erudite have this information. My parents died trying to get it, and it's probably really important for the rest of us, too. So if you could just give us some cover and explain this to the Dauntless authorities when it's all over, I'd really appreciate it." Nope, she just angsts about how what she's doing is treason to Tobias and Dauntless, and when it's over, she angsts about how now she's a traitor. Somebody call the WAAAAAHHHHmbulance! WHY DID YOU NOT JUST TELL THE OTHER DAUNTLESS IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Third, they sneak in dressed like the Erudite. Including Tris, who had just spent a considerable amount of time at the compound being introduced to doctors and interns waiting to experiment on her, as well as passing countless Erudite who saw her face. And nobody recognizes her, because Erudite clothes are magic or something. SERIOUSLY, ROTH? THEY HAVE THE TECHNOLOGY TO CONTROL MINDS BUT NOT A PLACE TO PRINT OUT A WANTED POSTER???? AND WHY DO THE ERUDITE NOT USE SECURITY CAMERAS?????

Fourth, Jeanine's office. It's heavily guarded, not by a spray of bullets (which would make the most sense) but by a computer system. Tris tries to enter, but a voice conveniently announces her name, age, faction, and the fact that she is "confirmed Divergent." It then plunges her into a simulation.

A simulation.

WHAT THE HECK ROTH JEANINE HAS JUST SPENT THE PAST FIVE CHAPTERS LEARNING THAT SHE CAN'T CONTROL DIVERGENT WITH A SIMULATION WHAT IS THIS IT MAKES NO SENSE FHDKLDHFUISHEIHEUTGBJKDRGUDHRIEFHUIRIEJ.

fdijojkhdfhukhfshiodshisdhig

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*deep breath*

Anyway, Tris makes it past the simulation. Naturally. If I were Jeanine, I would have set it up so that if an intruder is confirmed Divergent, they would be subjected to a hail of bullets, an RPG, or another reliable instrument of death. But Jeanine was apparently created by someone who was not Erudite, and thus did not fully understand what the term "applying logic to a situation" means.

The ending twist isn't as good as I heard it was. So the city was designed to be a utopia. When the Divergent began appearing, the city was supposed to give the keys to Amity, unlock the gates, and go forth into the big bad world and save it with their awesome utopian powers. Okay....so if this was supposed to be a utopia, why divide people into factions where they embrace the most simplistic lines of thinking? Why would people who can think along multiple lines be so special that they would need to open the city gates? Why would they erase the memories of people who decided to join this utopia? If they had memory-erasing technology, why hasn't Jeanine gotten ahold of it and used it to control the city, which is apparently what she's dreamed about ever since she was a little girl?

And with that, the book ends.

I should've stopped with Divergent.
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40 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THANK YOU Mrs. Roth...(possible slight spoilers), May 1, 2012
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Thank you Mrs. Roth. Thank you thank you thank you. And thank you for it FINALLY being May.

I am one of those crazy people that actually set my alarm for the middle of the night, in order to read this book before school starts in the morning (I am a teacher). I was that excited. I fell absolutely in love with Divergent around Christmas and have been anxiously awaiting the sequel.

Let me just start out by saying, it was so worth the sleep deprivation.

The book starts out right after the end of Divergent, which honestly, I enjoyed. The ending of Divergent was, while a good close, so riveting after the events prior that it left me wondering how the rest of the train ride would be, and how they would get INTO Amity. I was not disappointed and enjoyed how it picked right up.

The entire sequence of Tobias and Tris in Amity was a perfect begining to the book. The character development really shines here, in my opinion, and *SPOILER* I couldn't stop laughing at one particular scene. I would have to say that, and *SPOILER* various simulation scenes where Tris really explores herself and what drives her whole being, were definitely my favorite in the book.

Overall, the book seems to be much longer than Divergent, as far as sequencing and character devleopment; which, don't get me wrong, I enjoyed. But there are PLENTY of ups and downs throughout the book to keep the pages (or clicks in my Kindle's case) turning. I was on the edge of my seat 99 percent of the time with this book!

I would also like to say a HUGE thank you to Mrs. Roth for the ending in particular. Although it is a cliffhanger, just like in Divergent, it is not some annoying cliffhanger where you are frantically guessing the character's next few steps, but rather, the book as a whole. This leaves the reader feeling much more at ease (in my opinion), because the characters stand strong but yet, you are right there with them as they are revealed where their next steps may be in the story, and are excited for the story itself as much as the character relationships. I believe a too many YA novels today focus too soley on the relationship status of the characters in the story, and Mrs. Roths' books are one of the few that keep it in a perfect balance. As mentioned before by Mrs. Roth, there is no love triangle for Tris and Tobias, which, I cannot give enough kudos to her for doing. Rather, the book focuses on their love for each other and just how far each of them will go to strengthen it, even suprising me a few times! *POSSIBLE SPOILER* So thank you Mrs. Roth, for not ending on some superficial, "what will happen to Tris and Tobias?! Will they be together forever?!" cliffhanger, but rather concluding this book as you did the one before so expertly, allowing the readers slight ease for the characters but bringing up a conclusion both riveting and leaving us ANXIOUSLY awaiting the next book now!
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81 of 99 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Irish Banana Review, May 1, 2012
This review is from: Insurgent (Divergent, Book 2) (Divergent Series) (Hardcover)
I absolutely, positively love that Veronica Roth picks up Insurgent right where Divergent left off. There's been no lapse in time (they're still on the train), so we literally do not miss a second. There's no three page summary of what happened over the last two months, the story fluidly picks up right where its predecessor left off, throwing the reader right back into the heat of the moment.

Tris is still awesome. This girl has been left reeling from everything that happened in Divergent, but still finds the strength to pick up the pieces are carry on. Four/Tobias (I prefer Four) is still as epically fantastic as he was in Divergent, but I wished there had been more alone moments for him and Tris. Maybe it's just the romantic in me, but I fell hard for these two and was somewhat disappointed they weren't together.

I am so grateful that Insurgent didn't fall prey to the sophomore slump. Instead of letting her characters relax and bogging down the reader with a ton of back story and unnecessarily added new characters, Roth truly ups the ante. Yes, there is back story and yes there are new characters added, but nothing ever felt unnecessary or like it was there for filler. Roth has this magical, heart pounding writing style that just amazes me. I can't get enough of it. She could probably write about a box and I'd be engrossed.

If you loved Divergent, rest assured that Insurgent is just as wonderful. There are many new twists and turns that left me gaping, and the ending makes me all more anxious for book three. If you haven't started this series ... I can only assume it's because you have a low tolerance for all things amazing and don't want your mind blown.
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138 of 172 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Unnecessary filler, May 9, 2012
This review is from: Insurgent (Divergent, Book 2) (Divergent Series) (Hardcover)
Oh, Insurgent. How you've disappointed me. While I didn't much care for Dauntless in the first book, I did like how it examined the idea of a society divided into factions based on a person's nature. It was an intriguing concept and it really allowed for a lot of room for Roth to explore and make some insightful commentary on human nature. Which she did do. Four's stance on the Dauntless made me want to cheer. He was clearly someone who got it, and the ending of Divergent made me eager to find out what would happen when the insight spread. Alas, it did not spread. Spoilers to follow.

First off, I just want to rant about Dauntless. Though I thought all of the factions in this book exhibited very questionable judgement, Dauntless fails on all counts. I can buy that some of them were loyal to Eric and thought the Erudite plan was nifty. Fine. But, people, they used mind control on you! I simply cannot buy the idea that more of the Dauntless wouldn't have defected, especially since it seems to me that this kind of control should be contrary to their very nature. Yet, no matter what happens to them throughout the course of Insurgent, the Dauntless insist on being impractical to the point of lacking a sense of self-preservation. This really drove me straight up the wall. They came across as exactly what Four/Tobias more or less said they were: a bunch of adrenaline junkies who can't manage to squeeze two brain cells together in order to have a rational thought. And Tris is really no exception.

As for Tris, I really liked her and really sympathized with her in Divergent. I could understand wanting to break free of a constrictive role, wanting to embrace a more exciting way of life. In this book, she simply seems to have a death wish. For all the Tris is supposed to be Divergent, she is blindly Dauntless for the vast majority of this book. She never really stops to question her actions and decide if the choices she's making are really good ones. What's more, she keeps things from Tobias and then gets angry when he has a problem with it. I get that you're afraid he'll judge you and cast you aside, I get that you're angry that he's keeping things from you, but how can you expect him to be up front when you refuse to be honest? I'm not excusing Tobias's actions, because I really thought he treated Tris like an infant for a good portion of the book, but it's like she expected him to adhere to a higher standard than she adhered to herself. That's not cool. Why, then, is she surprised when he won't really listen to what she has to say, and when he questions her judgement?

The whole nature of their relationship in this book was annoying to me. What do these two people like about one another? The attraction was clear and made sense in Divergent, here it doesn't. It almost feels like they're together because that's where they plot left them, not because they really want to be together. This is not an equitable relationship: neither party is honest with the other and they both adamantly refuse to talk through their problems. As much as I liked Tobias in Divergent, I didn't much like him here, though I was more sympathetic to him than I was to Tris. By the end of the book, Tris just seemed like a self-destructing idiot.

I also really disliked the characterizations of the other factions. Amity's passivity is totally inexplicable, as is Candor's. We're talking about a situation where two factions teamed up and slaughtered all but a handful of people from another faction and Candor and Amity don't see any reason to be concerned? I get that Roth was maybe making a statement about human nature here and, while I do get people tend to sink into denial rather than face danger, people also have a sense of self-preservation that is remarkably lacking here. The other thing I could not get past was the question of what good is Candor? The other factions all had a purpose, but Candor seemed completely superfluous, which ruined me belief in the world Roth has created.

Lastly, I was extremely uncomfortable with the treatment of the factionless, and I hope this is something that's going to be further developed in the last book. It made me shake my head to think that the factions couldn't grasp the fact that the people they exploited and condemned to a life of mere subsistence might choose to rise up against them. Gee, how unexpected!

All in all, this book felt like so much filler. I had the sense that I was on a world tour of the Divergent/Insurgent universe, and that didn't do the book any favors. Tris and Tobias bounce from one place to another with no real purpose, and it isn't until the end of the book that a key plot point is revealed. I do want to finish the series because of that plot point, but it was too late in Insurgent for it to save the book for me. Honestly, I suspect that, when all is said and done, Insurgent could be cut out completely and the real meat of the story could be told solely in Divergent and the third book.
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36 of 43 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Sadly, didn't live up to expectations, June 1, 2012
This review is from: Insurgent (Divergent, Book 2) (Divergent Series) (Hardcover)
Beatrice `Tris' Prior is on the run after the Dauntless, under the influence of Erudite simulation serum (get used to reading those two words A LOT), attack Abnegation. Along with Four and a few of their friends/family, they flee to Amity and seek shelter. From that point on, Tris then tours all the other Factions, learns that there is a Super Duper Secret that Erudite is now in possession of that could Doom The World As We Know It, and tries to deal with the ending of the last book and her relationship drama with Four.

WARNING: MILD SPOILERS to the ending of "Divergent"! Proceed with caution!

REASONS WHY READING THIS WAS ENJOYABLE:

+ There STILL is absolutely, positively NO ROMANTIC TRIANGLE! Many authors of trilogies, if they didn't include a secondary romantic interest in Book 1, choose Book 2 to throw in another Love Interest. Not Roth. Instead of muddying the waters, she focuses on Four and Tris and the many hardships they already have--such as trusting each other, leaning on each other, and working as a team.

+ Interesting characters. Tris spends some time mourning her parents and coming to grips with what she did to Will. Could she have saved him? Couldn't she have just shot his arm? Also, when Four tries to boss her around and bully her about her secrets, she throws it right back in his face, tells him he hasn't been honest with her, and that if he can't trust her, maybe he has lied when he said how much he loved her. It's encouraging to see a teenaged girl be so vocal about her opinions and steadfast. Other characters are fairly interesting as well: Marcus, Johanna, Tori, Uriah, etc.

+ The hint of religious differences between Factions. Tris stumbles upon an Amity religious ceremony and hints that they worship the God of Peace, while when she was Abnegation she worshipped the God of Selflessness. Very interesting to see these differences and would have loved to see more.

+ The last 150 pages are INTENSE.

+ This book is about making tough decisions, doing the right thing, and learning that life isn't black and white.

+ It is a dystopia.

REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD TURN BACK NOW OR BE READY FOR MIND IMPLOSION:

+ World building STILL makes no sense--in fact, based on the ending of this book, I have NO CLUE why this world was ever set up and run for as long as it had. How are people able to be sorted into groups? How are these groups determined? Is it all peace serums like hinted at when Tris stays with the Amity? Why aren't the Divergent affected by simulations and serums? How do they know they aren't in simulations (other than by guesswork)?

+ Much of the story seems to be people running from faction to faction, with little thread tying them together. The action is good, don't get me wrong, but having a string of action sequences with little to bind them together is just not my cup of tea. And based on where Tris and Four end up (back at Dauntless HQ), WHY THE FRAK did they bother going to Amity then the Factionless then Candor? The whole thing felt POINTLESS.

+ Romantic DRAMAZ! I've heard comparisons between this book and "Mockingjay", and I understand completely why this comparison is made. For much of this book, Tris does nothing more than mope around, feel sorry for herself, or get into romantic spats with Four. "Divergent" kept the romance in the background, for the most part, and it felt pretty organic. Here, the romance has been upgraded and makes up a good part of the story. It felt somewhat like a betrayal of what the series started out as.

+ Why the frak is Tris the protagonist? Until the last 100 pages or so, she doesn't really even DO anything. She isn't one of the Dauntless leaders, she doesn't negotiate with the Factionless. In fact, on several occasions, she has to be saved (including a pointless torture sequence). Back from "Divergent", I said:

"Beatrice, on the other hand, is just another cog in the wheel. Yes, she does save Dauntless from being wiped out, but it is unclear why we are following her story, as she seems to react instead of act. Perhaps future books will explain what Divergence is and what makes Beatrice so special, but in this book, I was left wondering why Beatrice and why not, say, her mother."

I was hoping that "Insurgent" would really boost up Tris' importance, show us WHY we were following her, what her importance was, but it did not; in fact, in many ways, I think it worse than "Divergent". In many ways, the logical protagonist should have been Four, who is way more active in the story than Tris.

+ More about Tris. My God, she's inconsistent. What does the girl ever do that is truly selfless (and not stupidly reckless)? How does she demonstrate her Erudite ability? Is every other faction filled with morons that can't put two and two together? Does the girl WANT every Erudite dead or not? If that was a personal conflict, I certainly didn't feel it. Does this girl have a death wish? Because most of her "acts of bravery/selflessness/heroism" smart more of someone who has a death wish than someone who is brave/selfless.

+ Four is a jerk. Sorry, but hiding major secrets from your girlfriend about your mother then whining when she reveals she killed someone is NOT sexy. How about instead of jamming that plank further into your eye as you try to bludgeon the speck out of hers, you sit down and f@#$ing listen as she mourns or comfort her? Not possible? Move along!

+ Five Factions do not compute--at least to me. This is going to be VERY subjective. Some people will see how the Amity or Candor are portrayed and go, "Yup, that is EXACTLY how I would expect a society that embraces peace or truth or learning to act". I am not that person. I'll buy that the Factions true virtues have been deteriorated--such as Dauntless believing "stupid acts of carelessness" and "swinging around a gun" qualifies for bravery. But Erudite wearing glasses because it looks smart? Candor using truth serums to get the truth out of people?

+ Where is the nuance? For much of the book, the Dauntless that side with Erudite are traitors (in fact, they are ALWAYS "Dauntless traitors"). Erudite are all bad and irredeemable. For a book that is about being different and embracing those differences, I don't get much of that from the conflict.

+ So many characters! *whispers* Veronica, if you are reading this, here is one tip I would love to see in the next book. I'm okay if you don't recap (though it was hard to remember the events I read last year), but PLEASE include a Character List, including what Faction each person started as and what Faction each person ended up. Because that was a HUGE part of this book, and, to be honest, I barely remembered any of the characters and any of the connections.

+ "I do not think that word means what you think it means." "Serum". "Simulation". "Traitor". Go back and read those words about 800 more times. That's how many times they appear in this book. Any substance that puts a person out is a "serum" that sends them into a "simulation". Not a "drug" that knocks them "unconscious". Not a "potion" or a "smoke bomb" or "nerve gas". No, it's a "serum" and "simulation". Anyone aligned with the Erudite who is not Erudite is a "traitor". It's not "Erudite-aligned Dauntless guards" or "blue-tagged Dauntless". It's always "Dauntless traitor guards" or "Dauntless traitor".

+ The end. After reading the Big Reveal at the end, I thought my brain would explode. It just doesn't make sense to me. Because it is so spoiler-heavy, I won't get into it, but just know that I was stunned and somewhat upset.

I really hate writing a such a negative review for this book. I really wanted to adore this book to pieces; Veronica Roth seems like a super amazing lady (I've looked at her blog a couple of times), and she has some really good ideas. Not to mention, I've recommended "Divergent" numerous times to people despite my rather lackluster review of it. Sure, in "Insurgent", the end does perk things up (even as it asks a bajillion more questions), and this is not the worst book I've ever read, but at the end of the day, I can't deny how disappointed I was when I finished this book. I'm going to continue with the series, but I can't help feeling a little deflated.

(I think I'm going to rate this 2 stars, to show my disappointment from the first book, though this isn't the worst book I've read. Who knows, maybe in a couple of days, I'll change my mind?)
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Gah, Cliffhanger!, May 31, 2012
This review is from: Insurgent (Divergent, Book 2) (Divergent Series) (Hardcover)
*As always, I try my best not to include any spoilers. But if you haven't read Divergent, you will find some spoilers for it in this review, and I found it was virtually impossible to review Insurgent without some minor spoilers for it.

Before I can properly review Insurgent, I must point out the following:

The first hurdle I had to overcome with Insurgent, and it was probably the biggest hurdle as it continued throughout the entire book, was that Insurgent picks up directly where Divergent left off. That means there is absolutely no recap, no reminder of who these characters are and why I should care about them or their current situation. I had read Roth's handy post But I read Divergent a YEAR Ago! prior to reading Insurgent, but while it mostly cleared up some of the confusion over who a character was, it didn't help me re-connect with any of the characters - which was something I remember having trouble with in Divergent anyways. I understand why Roth chose to withhold a recap, and a part of me even agrees with her, but it did make for some struggles throughout my reading experience when I was jolted out of the story as I found myself asking "who is this person again?".

My lack of connection/inability to remember certain characters was also one of the reasons I had a harder time believing any of Tris' angst over Will's death. She kept referring to him as one of her best friend's from initiation, and I couldn't help but scratch my head and ask "Really? Were they that close in Divergent?" because I just couldn't remember their relationship being so important to Tris. Add in her grief over her parents' death, and Tris is a complete emotional wreck. So I started wondering if Roth was making Tris overemotional about both Will and her parents' deaths because she felt she had to overcompensate for her lack of emotional response - to pretty much anything - in Divergent. (For anyone who is unaware, Roth wrote about the mistakes author's often make, and specifically mentions that Tris' sexual assault in Divergent played no part in her character development - which was a mistake.) So it was with these feelings that I continued reading Insurgent.

A huge, you might even say significant, change in Insurgent was it's focus. In Divergent, we bore witness to action scene after action scene, with Tris' romance with Four merely a side-plot that happened in the background, in-between action scenes. In Insurgent, those two roles have been completely flipped. Suddenly, Tris' relationship with Four...err, Tobias (because now that she knows his real name, it's an insult for her to call him Four?), has become front and centre, while everything else - the action scenes that were so crucial to Divergent's success, and the political turmoil and threat of war that loomed - have become the background, side-plot. Not what I was hoping for. Especially since Tris seems unable to open up to Four, so she spends much of her time worrying about their relationship and what Four will think if she does tell him the truth, and Four spends most of his time being emotionally unavailable and frankly, a jackass. Tris is the exact same person in Insurgent that she was in Divergent - she jumps head-first into any dangerous situation, without thinking through the consequences (at least, that's how I remember her). But suddenly, that type of reckless behaviour is a problem for Four, because he doesn't think Tris values her life. So instead of talking things out with her, he spends a lot of their time together yelling at her.

Unfortunately, this goes on for the majority of the book. I do have to say that I'm glad that Roth realized her mistakes in Divergent, and was working on rectifying them in Insurgent, but I think she went about it in completely the wrong way. Tris has suddenly lost her spark, her zest for life. Everything she does is motivated by her "selflessness", the thought that if someone has to die, it should be her and no one else. Except...that's not why she's suddenly so selfless. She doesn't care about dying because she's given up; she doesn't care what happens to her because she no longer cares about her life. And I understand why she would have a dark period that she has to fight to rise out of. I just don't think it should have been the framework with which Roth built Insurgent. I kept hoping that Tris would realize the value in living, rise out of her slump, and we would get some action to complement all the angst. I'm sorry to say that it just didn't happen until it was too late.

I'm not going to get in to how poorly I think the world-building in this series is, because I covered that in length in my review of Divergent. (Although I have to point out, Erudite wear glasses because they're intelligent? Really?!) I will point out that it didn't bother me so much in Insurgent. I'm not sure if it's because I had lower expectations going in, or because I knew the whole idea of factions was implausible so I was able to overlook/ignore it? I did find the plot had a few weak points/holes though. Like, how it was suggested that the Factionless would be of the utmost importance, only for them to make only minor appearances. Or how Tris was constantly turned to by her peers for advice or suggestions, only for someone else to remind us that she's barely sixteen. Or how Tris expresses pure hatred for Marcus and his treatment of Four, only for her to believe his claims over Four's adamance that he was lying. Or how Marcus knows the information contained in the file at Erudite headquarters, but is unwilling to share it with anyone and he still manages to convince people that it's worth recovering. And the ending! Ugh, the type of cliffhanger I hate: an entire book's worth of buildup, only to finally uncover the big secret just in time for the credits to roll.

Since this entire review has been me complaining about Insurgent, and where I think it failed, surprisingly I still enjoyed it. While Tris' angst began to annoy me, I did find myself unable to put down my book until I had read just one more chapter, which led to just one more chapter, which led to me finishing the book in almost one setting. So while I found myself confused about some characters, annoyed with others and questioning their motives or choices, I also found myself intrigued about the consequences. I still wouldn't say that I am truly invested in any of these characters - Four could be killed within the first page of book 3 and I wouldn't be overly upset - but I am interested in seeing what happens to them. I care enough to continue their journey, to see where they end up. And I'm looking forward to seeing what's beyond the fence.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as well written as Divergent, May 13, 2012
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This review is from: Insurgent (Divergent, Book 2) (Divergent Series) (Hardcover)
I was so looking forward to this book. I loved Divergent. But it seemed obvious that Roth spent much more time writing and editing the first book than this one. Tris, especially, just isn't the same person in this book. Yes, she feels guilty for shooting Will, and terribly misses her parents who were killed in the first book, but her reaction just doesn't ring true to me. She is Dauntless, yet she can't seem to realize that she really had no choice but to shoot Will. She can feel guilty about it, but to the point that she risks her life so she can die? She was so strong in the first book, I expected her to want to fight back - to WIN - not to just jump into dangerous situations because she doesn't care if she lives or dies. And when she finally realizes that she does want to live, there is no explanation as to why she's changed her mind. She realizes she wants to fight after all? She wants to make "them" pay for the deaths of Will and her parents? No idea. She just wants to live. Her relationship with Tobias seems empty and not based on anything that is real between them. The ending was also less than satisfactory. I don't want to give it away, but it seems rather contrived. As good as the Hunger Games? Not even close.
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51 of 65 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Running on stupid serum, October 11, 2012
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This review is from: Insurgent (Divergent, Book 2) (Divergent Series) (Hardcover)
I gave 3 stars to Divergent because it was an entertaining read - a cotton-candy book. One that tastes good, but's all sugar.

The weakness in that book was plot, but the book was more focused on the romance between the two leads, which was definitely a strength.

*Entering mild spoilerish territory*

Unfortunately, the focus of Insurgent was plot, and it's rife with inconsistencies and holes. One example: evil-boy Eric (somehow a dauntless leader) captures Tris, but doesn't kill her right then and there. He takes her out into a holding area filled with other divergent captives, where he states that two of them need to be evaluated and the rest need to be killed (side note: people don't layout their plans for others to hear). Of course, he decides to kill Tris (because he absolutely hates her), but lo and behold, she's remembered that she has a knife in her back pocket that she uses to help her escape. Um, pretty much prisoner-taking 101 is to search your enemy for weapons. Secondly, more importantly, if you're going to kill the person anyway, why wait?

2nd example: Peter, who also hates Tris, and has stabbed people in their eyes, saves her by switching out a death serum with syrup (heaven forbid you just shoot somebody and get it done with) because he didn't want to be in her debt (and of course, he explains with dialogue, because people do that, I guess). While eye-for-eye behavior might be the M.O. of a few, Peter is never portrayed that way.

Other examples abound (don't get me started on Tris's brother). The author introduces a ton of action, but it's just for conflict sake without logical plot propulsion, and frequently relies on deux ex machinas (machinae?) to get herself out of them.

The strength of the first book - the romance - is bumpy and uneven. Tris and 4 hide things from each other, sometimes with good reason, but often not. (Early on, the author has them say "I have things I need to tell you" to each other, then cuts away. Do they actually tell each other anything? No. Because we got to create the drama).

Another issue that I found intensely frustrating was the belief others held that Tris was the only one smart enough to do the job. Because she's just that special. Maybe she is, but that was not shown. The logic of this book...

I couldn't finish this one (and am glad it was a library read), but I checked out the ending to see if it improved. Helps explain some of the implausible single-focus character issues (although it sure does seem that everybody's coming up divergent), but opens up a lot of other questions that I don't think the author's gonna be able to answer.
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Insurgent (Divergent, Book 2) (Divergent Series)
Insurgent (Divergent, Book 2) (Divergent Series) by Veronica Roth (Hardcover - May 1, 2012)
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