Insurgent – Veronica Roth

photo-5Book Description (Amazon):  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.

My Review (Spoilers!):

Executive Summary: more divergent than Divergent

So I was going to hold out for the library book but I was at Target a few weekends ago, and the book was on sale so I picked it up. It will probably be a little while before I get to the 3rd one though. I actually liked this one slightly better than the first one.

We left off book 1 with basically a non-ending. The motley crew of Tris, Tobias, Caleb, Peter and Marcus head to Amity where some of the remaining Abnegation members are. They are hospitably welcomed by Johanna and the rest of the Amity. Marcus and Johanna have a somewhat secret meeting which Tris follows and overhears. Marcus tells Johanna that the Abnegation leaders who died were protecting a secret. Tris later confronts Marcus but he will not tell her the secret (which is kind of understandable as she is a 16 year old). Eventually the Dauntless traitors and Erudite arrive to look for the missing Abnegation. Tris destroys the simulation data that she took from the Erudite computer (why she did this I have no idea especially after she fought Peter when he took it.) The Abnegation try to hide by blending in with the Amity but one of the guards sees Tobias’s tattoos and their cover is blown. During the ensuing fight, Tris inadvertently saves Peter (important plot point for later) and they scatter managing to get on a train to escape.

The train happens to be full of Factionless including eyeless Edward from book 1 who take them to a Factionless  area. When they arrive, Tobias is acting strange and it turns out that it’s because the Factionless leader is his mother, Evelyn (who is not dead but was kicked out of Abnegation for having an affair).  Tris overhears (does she overhear everything?) a late night conversation between Tobias and Evelyn in which Evelyn tells Tobias that the Dauntless and Factionless should join together and create a new government, overthrowing the Erudite. Because of his terrible relationship with his father, he wholeheartedly believes his mother although Tris is much more wary of Evelyn. Eventually Susan and Caleb move to an Abnegation safe area whereas Tobias and Tris head to Candor because they believe that the Candor will have the answers.

When they arrive, they are immediately taken to do the truth serum (as they are on film seemingly controlling the simulations that controlled the Dauntless). During the truth serum, the final question is “what are you deepest regrets?” and Tris blurts out that she killed Will. (Christina is in the room as she returned to her Candor family after the attacks.) Tobias is upset with Tris about this revelation because he doesn’t feel like she trusts him. Simultaneously he hasn’t told her about his conversation with his mom so there are trust issues all around.

Dauntless traitors led by Eric attack Candor headquarters and shoot them all with transmitters and then send in what seems like some sort of mind controlling smoke which works on all but the Divergent (so Jeanine has figured out how to do long range control but still hasn’t figured out how to control the Divergent). Tris and Uriah, who turns out is also Divergent, try to rescue the other Divergent but are caught by Eric. Tris manages to stab him with her knife and Eric, Uriah and another Divergent get away.

Tris removes the transmitter from her arm revealing a blue dye. Eric has been taken to Candor jail where he is to await trial. When she goes to hear the announcement from Jack (the Candor leader), she runs into Caleb. He explains that he came with Marcus who apparently survived the Amity attack. He and Peter, who has now joined the Erudite, escaped together and walked to the city. Uh ok.

Marcus reveals he’s Divergent. Tori and Zeke (Uriah’s brother) return, and it turns out that they had implanted themselves as spies with the Dauntless traitors but were eventually found out. Jack reveals he is going to meet with Jeanine to determine if there can be a peace treaty. The Dauntless decide to eavesdrop (again, do they overhear everything?) and they find out that Jeanine sent her minion Max because she was too important to come herself. The demands are to relinquish Eric, all the Divergent, and a list of everyone who did not receive the serum. Tris realizes that Max doesn’t talk that way and that he is being controlled by Jeanine who must be somewhere nearby. As she is about to go try to find Jeanine, Lynn shoots Max in the chest and mayhem occurs.

Back at Candor HQ, the Dauntless decide that they cannot let Jack agree to Jeanine’s terms. They hold an election and elect new leaders including Four and Tori (Tris is nominated but lets Four have the ballot instead. Obviously she has never read Lean In). They decide that Eric should be executed for his crimes against the Dauntless, and they, specifically Four, kill him. They return to the Dauntless headquarters and agree to pair with the Factionless.

That night, an Erudite simulation occurs causing 3 Dauntless to climb to the roof and jump off. Luckily Christina and Tris are there to save 2 of them. Unfortunately Marlene is not saved. Through the simulation, they find out that this will continue to happen every 2 days until the Divergent are delivered to the Erudite HQ.

This is where the book pisses me off. I know it’s a young adult novel but come on! Tris decides that she should turn herself into the Erudite HQ alone to save all her friends. She doesn’t consider that Jeanine will continue to kill people whether or not she turns herself in. She doesn’t consider that Jeanine is going to use her for testing to figure out everything about the Divergent and then kill them all off. It’s one thing to be selfless to help others. It’s another thing entirely to be selfless out of sheer stupidity.

So yeah Tris sneaks off to Erudite HQ where she is so not surprisingly tested again and again with brain scans and simulations. To her surprise, Caleb is there (he got there shockingly quickly and this is not really explained at all. What happened to Susan?) and is helping Jeanine. Peter is also there and he is essentially her personal guard. Tobias shows up to save her but he is also obviously captured and tested upon. After test upon test with no results, Jeanine orders Tris to be executed. Peter, repaying his debt from way earlier in the story, switches the serum so that Tris is only paralyzed for a short time and she, Tobias, and Peter escape to Abnegation.

Marcus has been kicked out of his house so that Evelyn can set up there. She and Tobias (and the rest of the Dauntless and Factionless) agree to join forces and attack the Erudite and erase all the data. Tris while wandering around finds Marcus who convinces her that there is more to this than she knows (yet again not really telling her anything). Tris decides to betray Tobias and join with Marcus because she believes that her mother did not die in vain. Christina also agrees to join in. The three go to Amity to speak to Johanna.

While at Amity, they join with Erudite refugees and decide to infiltrate the Erudite HQ to get the secret information back from Jeanine. They encounter Caleb again who suggests that the data they are looking for will be on the lab’s computer. They go to the lab but Tori is already there and kills Jeanine before they can get the information from her. Tori takes Tris into custody because she is furious that Tris disobeyed them. During the chaos of the fight, Evelyn sneakily takes all the weapons from the Dauntless and unsurprisingly takes over. Somehow Tobias realizes that his Dad was right and his mom was wrong and with Caleb finds the data they were looking for. As Evelyn is trying to instate her new government, a video is played for everyone.

It is of a woman named Amanda Ritter who explains that the world outside the fence became evil so the faction system was created to fix things (doesn’t seem like it quite did that). The idea, she explains is that when the Divergent became abundant, the Abnegation leaders are to tell the Amity are to open the fence forever and the population should re-enter the world. And then Amanda reveals that her name will be Edith Prior as she enters the new society.

Verdict: 3.5 Stars. I actually liked this one a little better than the first one but that section where Tris goes willingly to Erudite annoyed me enough to give both books the same rating. I thought that it was great to experience a little more of Amity and Candor (and even Erudite) as most of Divergent focused on Abnegation and Dauntless. I also thought the ending was significantly better to this one. Even though it’s not an “ending” per se, it was a big enough bombshell that I felt closure. The idea of the fence actually crossed my mind in book one but I sort of forgot about it. The whole “what’s going on in the rest of the world” thought. I’m looking forward to finishing the series despite my sister telling me that the ending is terrible (and the Amazon reviews suggest the same thing).

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Filed under 3.5 stars, Book Review, Books

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