Author: Veronica Roth
Source: NetGalley ebook
A word of warning is needed here; as this is a review of a sequel there is a chance of spoilers. I will try to keep it as spoiler-free as I can, but I would recommend reading the first book first (Divergent, review here).
Insurgent picks up where the last book ends, with Tris and her group escaping the after-effects of what happened in Divergent. Everything is in uproar, but things are not over yet. Tris finds herself back in the middle of a conspiracy which could stretch far beyond the walls of her home land. In this book, we get to see more of the faction system, meet a wider cast of characters and get fully caught up as the stakes are escalated.
I actually found myself really enjoying the plot of this book. For the second book in a trilogy, it does a great job at holding the series together while also working well on its own – I did not feel either lost or left wanting. Although, I would not recommend reading it as a stand-alone. Despite it not really being a story in and of itself, Insurgent sees the main threat evolving from one person to something much bigger. It also felt a lot more internal. While Divergent revolved around Tris’ character development, Insurgent lets us see the effects that development has on her as she fights inner demons while trying to survive in the chaos.
From start to finish, I found the pacing to be good and the balance between external and internal battles to be very well done. More secrets are revealed, but not so much that you feel like you know everything. If anything, by the end of the book you find yourself feeling like you know less about what is going on that when you started, but in a good way.
This book is very much Tris-focused, as she is the POV character, and I thought her PTSD was very well done as well as her reactions to the events unfolding around her. We do also get to see more of the other characters and we get a bit more depth into who they are and their backgrounds. No character is completely good or bad; in fact I am not even sure there is really a good or bad in this book, more a truth and a cover up, which I found quite refreshing as you end up not quite knowing who to trust.
New characters are introduced and old ones are expanded on. I really loved how the Tris/Tobias relationship was done – it was not perfect, they fought and it seems to be falling apart most of the time, yet it still works somehow. I also enjoyed seeing more of the side characters from the first book, who initially only had a name, grow into more realistic characters. The dynamic between Christina and Tris was also well done and I just want to see more of Christina, and Uriah, in the next book as they’re slowly becoming two of my favourite characters.
As well as exploring the characters more, Insurgent also takes us around the factions, letting us learn more about the world in which Tris lives. I did find it a little odd that Amity lived outside the compound while the wall was there to, it’s implied, keep everyone in the compound in the first place. I did, however, find it really interesting getting a taste of each of the factions and how this world fits in as a dystopian of our own.
I actually found myself enjoying Insurgent more than Divergent. This may have been due to me knowing what happened in Divergent already, but whatever the reason, I thought this was a great book. The characters were fleshed out. The world seems much more realistic and less forced than in Divergent. There is a lot more going on – a lot more secretes uncovered, betrayals and violence. I would say it lives up to the expectation which I had going into it after reading Divergent and seeing a number of reviews.