I didn’t read this straight after Divergent, the first of the trilogy, and so felt at a bit of a loss at the beginning of Insurgent. I could have done with a brief recap, a couple of paragraphs would have sufficed. So this made me irritated for the first few pages.
Book two is very action-led and the pace fairly trips along. I’m still trying to get a handle on Tris’s character, she is a complex mixture of two factions: her upbringing in Abnegation [considerate, selfless] and her adopted faction Dauntless [brave, daring, reckless]. It’s a dangerous mixture which gets her into trouble, and that drives the story along. She is confrontational, brave, but often makes questionable decisions. She distrusts Four’s father and believes he is misleading them: “…sometimes, if you want the truth, you have to demand it.” Demand, not ask: this tells me more about Tris than about Four’s father Marcus.
We do see more of Tris’s inner world in book two compared with book one, perhaps because she is maturing into her Divergent personality. “I drift off to sleep, carried by the sound of distant conversations. 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 guilty.” And she is both.
A major difficulty for me with this book was keeping track of the huge list of characters. I don’t like books with a cast list at the front, but that’s what I needed with Insurgent. Coupled to this is the lack of clarity about the main enemy: who is it? There’s lots of infighting to keep track of too, petty squabbles some of which have carried forward from the first book and which I had forgotten. There is no one single enemy, no Voldemort or President Snow.
Perhaps there should be fewer factions. No wonder Tris is confused: “Sometimes I feel like I am collecting the lessons each faction has to teach me, and storing them in my mind like a guidebook for moving through the world. There is always something to learn, always something that’s important to understand.” She seems to think that there is a cut-off date by which she will have learned everything. But adults carry on learning until they die.
Click here to watch the book trailer for Insurgent.
To watch an interview with Veronica Roth talking about Insurgent and Tris’s “cruel edge”, click here
The first in the trilogy is Divergent, click here to read my review.
My review of the final book of the three, Allegiant, will follow soon.
‘Insurgent’ by Veronica Roth