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.

Review: Divergent – Veronica Roth

divergent veronia roth book cover

Divergent #1

SYNOPSIS: In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her. – via Goodreads

Years ago, my best friend Natasha was hopping up and down about me getting to this trilogy, so the Distance Book Club was reinstated quickly. Evidently she needed someone to share this with, and so I got onto it. I enjoyed it all those years ago, and recently decided to revisit it again to see how I felt now. The novel directly takes us into a dreadful dystopian future. The children, however, are not necessarily suffering like you would come to expect, though there are some issues.

I enjoyed the concept of them having to choose a faction, as well as what those factions stood for, though it seemed illogical to me that they would not be able to maintain ties with other family members in other factions, etc. I just couldn’t buy into that, though I understand why it was executed this way. Tris is definitely a better leading lady, far less selfish than Katniss Everdeen (who you all know I have some beef with), so reading about her did not grate on me. I actually really, really liked her as the heroine. She is strong, smart, calculating and enjoyable. Then there is Four. Let’s talk about Four. I have mad love for Four. He is strong, he is mysterious (but not in the annoying way), he is just… the more I read about him, the more I adore him. Major character crushing going on here. He’s just a character I understand, and I appreciate that.

These books are written for young adults, and it is evident in the writing style as well as emotions that are described and the flow of the story. There is a large amount of teenage angst (I am so glad that I am so over that ridiculous part of life), but not as over the top as these stories can sometimes get. There is plenty of petty jealousy, childish hissy fits and obsession, though it works eventually if you can just bear in mind it is a book for young people still in that period in life, so I suppose they can identify more.

It took me a while to get into the reading style as it was written in first person, present tense, which is always difficult for me to slot into. I did enjoy the electricity between Four and Tris – it was incredibly painful at times, and at others so sweet, so there was that. It is actually a brilliant romance that Roth hit on here, something I actually looked forward to when I got to the scenes for them. There is also at least only one love interest, which is refreshing. The romance – back to that. It is great. Four believes in Tris’s strength, not that she is some damsel in distress, and the romance isn’t this “if I can’t have the other, I will simply die”. Gosh and the build up damn near drove me wild, loved it.

There are also a lot of places that blatantly show that Roth is a first time writer, plenty of places she tries for too much mystery and executes with too little gusto, but overall it is definitely not a bad read. Her supporting characters can be entertaining (I really like Will and Christina), but ultimately they are not really robust characters. Roth fills out Four and Tris, but the rest are vehicles to carry the story, no more, no less, which is a pity. The first half of the book is very slow and meandering and seemed pretty pointless in places, but the second half catches and snowballs into something rather good. It is also a quick read, in case you are looking for a light filler between books. I was a bit iffy about how some stuff went down at the end, as it really was a bit of a wreck, what with no finesse and proper build up, but outside of that, I think this is a pretty decent read and would recommend it.