Insurgent by Veronica Roth

By Ekta R. Garg

February 19, 2014

Rated: Bookmark it!

Last week I shared with you my experience of reading Divergent by Veronica Roth.  The book ended with enough promise to make me curious about Insurgent, the second book in the trilogy.  So I checked it out of the library—again getting the book relatively quickly because I requested the large print version—and dived in.

At the end of Divergent Beatrice “Tris” Prior realizes that the way of life she has pursued so far is falling apart.  The society in which her parents raised her was separated into factions with each faction pursuing a particular trait—Amity, Dauntless, Abnegation, Candor, and Erudite.  But Tris grows up wanting to something other than Abnegation, her family’s faction.  Her choice of Dauntless shocks many but it doesn’t shock everyone, as Tris finds out by the end of Divergent.

The second book, Insurgent, begins with Tris finding the life she knew in chaos.  But Tris has made her choices, and she’s determined to follow through with them.  She’s going to help her friends escape the oppressive government in place, but she has to figure out along the way exactly who is on her side and who is the enemy.  As the book progresses, Tris runs into people from her past she thought she’d never see again.  What’s more, some of these people become something she didn’t expect at all.  Suddenly Tris has to make some difficult decisions about who she will trust and who she should really suspect of foul play.

I found myself getting impatient with Tris more than once in this book.  She spends a lot of time feeling sorry for herself and trying to throw herself under the bus, as it were, to atone for what she thinks are her sins.  Granted, everyone has dealt with guilt in varying degrees.  Some people who fight in wars, for example, probably possess a deep level of guilt about the innocent lives they take in the line of duty.  So I can understand on an intellectual level that Tris desperately wants to make things right because she feels responsible for so many people dying.

Author Veronica Roth gives Tris too much time to feel sorry for herself, though.  At one point I felt like shaking Tris as hard as I could and telling her to get with the program.  Feeling sorry for herself is understandable, but it isn’t a solution to her problems.  Neither is trying to get herself killed.  Dying just means the absence of another person who can’t fight against the establishment.

Her love interest, Tobias, spends considerable time trying to talk her out of her ridiculous plan, even though she hasn’t articulated in so many words how she feels.  When talking her out of her plan doesn’t work, he finds a more drastic measure and finally Tris starts to get it through her head: sacrificing herself accomplishes nothing.  I have to admit, I heaved a huge sigh of relief.  I’m not sure if Roth belabored this point to emphasize the teenage state of mind.  If she did she succeeded and then some.  In fact, she could have done without some of it.

I have to give Roth full credit for the big surprises in the story, though.  She gives readers three of them: the reappearance of someone close to Tris, the death of a character, and the promise of something big to come.  More than anything Roth has accomplished what all authors want to accomplish: she’s made me want to keep reading.  I just hope she fulfills the possibilities she has proposed in this book.

Once again, Roth has wonderful quotes.  Her words jump off the page, and even though Tris is a teenager it’s nice to imagine that teens can have these moments of clarity:

“These days it’s easier for me to fall asleep when there is noise around me.  I can focus on the sound instead of whatever thoughts would crawl into my head in silence.  Noise and activity are the refuges of the bereaved and the guilty.”

I’m looking forward to Allegiant and can’t wait to find out what Roth has in store for the finale.

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