Review: Insurgent – Veronica Roth

insurgent cover veronica roth

Divergent #2

SYNOPSIS: 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. – via Goodreads

GRADE 5.5This is the second book in the Divergent trilogy. I would have assumed that this book would have more action than its predecessor, but I was evidently wrong. It seems that it was important for all the separate compounds to be revisited and what not. I got pretty edgy pretty quickly what with all the damn kissy kissy storyline the whole time between Tris and Tobias, and the continual hinting at sex. That whole thing was just totally incongruent to the story and the events that were going on around them. It also offended me because the romance was so intense in the last book, but it never took over. I loved it.

As though that was not bad enough, it soon escalated into Tris and Tobias fighting incessantly for absolutely no good reason, and silly childish fights, too. They do have a relationship that ranges from really sweet and intense to absolutely ridiculous, though ultimately I only want them together. They work, if they could just get over all their silly differences. Then there was Tris, who portrayed herself as so strong and invincible and all that, and suddenly a few things go wrong and she is shattered though still faking brilliance. She is whining and selfish and terrified. She is spineless and not brave, whimpering and crying all the time, she is not willing to think about anyone other than herself and that annoyed me endlessly. She is a heroine I really liked, and in a few pages just became Katniss Everdeen Bella Swan a total nuisance. Four, too, is still a character I have mad love for, though his character, too, is a little messy in this one. Still.

Veronica Roth’s writing style seemed so limited here, there were repetitive lines about laced fingers and mouths fitting over each other perfectly, etc. It upset me because the last book really reeled me in, and this one was quite the chore to get through. Roth does not build up enough rapport with the characters she has in Insurgent, and they are difficult to identify with and don’t seem real. This way, when she kills them, it seriously lacks impact. The story for Insurgent is a little weak. It started as something in the first one – something with so much potential, but it seemed very scattered in this one.

Insurgent is not a dreadful book, but it left me wanting a hell of a lot more. There are no real twists and turns, it is not exceptionally gripping and brought nothing particularly new to the table. Not the worst young adult dystopian novel you could lay your hands on, but this feels like it lacks direction and is not sure where it wants to go with the story after starting off with such a bang.

Distance Book Club, I present to you, The Hunger Games!

Somewhere along the line we would be destined to find decent books again. I have said, time and time again, discovering an impressive book is like coming across a great movie… there are millions of options, but a true gem? Few and far between.

I will admit, I was initially skeptical about reading The Hunger Games, mostly because they were recommended to me by someone who is, a) not a reader, and b) a pubescent teenager. I have learned not to take someone who is not a reader seriously when they recommend books, as this is how you end up with books such as Fifty Shades of Grey and the likes becoming overnight phenomena. It does not take much to impress someone who is not a literary veteran, who has not read tons of books, who has no idea what it is to stick by their authors through thick and thin, even when you know they have churned out some rather ghastly work.

Foolishly, in my mind’s eye, I chalked them up to be silly children’s books. I continued without them (but please, let me point out, I have burned my fingers horribly due to book recommendations from said pubescent teenager). I then got my hands on a few movies to watch, and The Hunger Games was among them. It took me a few nights to get to it, as the other movies were, of course, watched first. I had no high hopes. I had read such mixed reviews that even did not know what to expect. I certainly did not foresee enjoying it so tremendously!

I thought the film was a great rendition of the book as it is no simple feat to bring a first person story to life so successfully. But it was done (maybe because they actually let Suzanne Collins have a hand in the screenplay?), and it was done well. The movie kept me interested, they had a strong cast, they portrayed the book effortlessly, and who can deny that Woody Harrelson was a superb choice for Haymitch Abernathy?

The first thing I did was to go out finally and get my hands on the books. I started reading them immediately. It took me a really long time to get into the story, as I really don’t like anything written in the present tense, and I also do not like reading in the first person unless it is a autobiography, in which case I can appreciate. I soon discovered that this was a book I would have to share with my friend. Distance Book Club, here we come!

My friend and I read and discussed the books in minute and extreme detail. This was definitely something new, something different. I heard a lot of people say that it was so similar to Battle Royale it could have been called plagiarism, but I have as of yet not had the time to see what all the fuss is about. I hope, in future, to get back to you about that.

The books do have gaps in between them, there are flaws, but overall they are duly entertaining if you bear in mind the primary reading group is young adults, who are not so finicky about all the little particulars. It has been a while since I read something new that actually kept me hooked successfully. Thumbs up, Suzanne Collins! You cannot miss the fact that a woman wrote the books, though, that is unavoidable. The attention to fashion detail, makeup and beauty is enough to sometimes drive you clean around the bend, but bear with it. Every time I read about it, I failed to get around the awfully loud voice in my head screaming, “it’s a revolution people, not a fashion parade!”. Maybe the dystopian future will be extremely fashion conscious, even when at war, who knows?

Even with the flaws of the story, a box set has been placed prominently on my Christmas wish list (may the odds be ever in my favour 😉 ). It would be a lovely addition to my burgeoning bookshelf (which reminds me, I am desperately in need of a new one!). Ah, to read, to buy books, there is almost no greater comparable joy!

What are your thoughts on The Hunger Games?