Divergent spoilers and Mild Insurgent spoilers ahead
By: Veronica Roth Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books Year: 2012 Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Rating: 4.7/5 Publishers Description 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.
I read all three novels of the Divergent series within about a month of each other (I only decided to read them about a month before ALLEGIANT came out), so when I look back I can’t really distinguish between the three books. I always remembered the overall story arc, but I could never really place which book/when anything that happened really happened, other than the stuff in the first 100 pages of DIVERGENT and last 100 pages of ALLEGIANT. So I decided a few nights ago that in preparation for the movie coming out later this week, I’d re-read INSURGENT both to get to grips with the book more, as well as get excited for the movie. When I read the books the first time, ALLEGIANT was always my favourite. I know, I’m one of those weird people who actually liked how the series panned out and * gasp * didn’t completely detest the ending. Having re-read INSURGENT now, I’m not sure that my mind has been changed and I like it better than ALLEGIANT, but I can definitely say that I enjoyed INSURGENT a lot more second time round, and that it’s taken over as my 2nd favourite in the series!
I won’t go into too much detail about the plot for those who haven’t read DIVERGENT yet (and, if you haven’t, I mean, what are you doing, go read it!), but in this instalment Tris is pretty much in a pretty bad situation; her parents have both died during the simulation attack at the end of the first book, she’s living with the secret that she killed her friend Will–and trying to cope with the guilt attached to that–during the same simulation attack, and she’s now a fugitive and having to constantly be looking over her shoulder for those involved in the newly formed Dauntless-Erudite alliance. The novel begins with Tris, Tobias, Caleb, Christina, Marcus, and Peter on their way to Amity where many Abnegation refugees have found shelter. But it isn’t long before Erudite and Dauntless soldiers show up, prompting Tris & Gang to go on the run again, eventually finding out a massive secret in the leader of the Factionless, and finding allies in Candor. Tris has to spend the novel trying to find out the information which so many Abnegation sacrificed themselves to protect, as well as resisting the hostile takeover of the faction system by Jeanine Matthews and the Erudite faction.
Keeping up with DIVERGENT, this novel is told entirely in the first-person, present tense narrative from Tris, and through this we are given a front-row seat into watching the character develop and grow, even throughout this book alone. When we first see Tris in INSURGENT she’s in a very fragile state, still feeling the remorseless stab of guilt for killing Will at the end of DIVERGENT, as well as trying to come to terms with her parents’ death. As the story progresses, we see her make a number of difficult (and, to be honest, fairly reckless) decisions (see: her lying to Tobias and Christina and going to the Erudite headquarters) which lead her to realise that she didn’t want to sacrifice herself to make up for her parents & Will’s deaths; she wanted to sacrifice herself to make herself feel better. It was painful to see her go through such a difficult time, to the extent where she felt like she had to die, but it was so satisfying to see her realise that what she really needed to do was ‘live [her] life in the light of their deaths.’ (Insurgent, 384). As the novel builds to its climax, Tris has completely transformed from the Tris on page one; she understands now that Erudite-Dauntless uprising won’t end with her moping that her parents sacrificed themselves for her, but that she has to get up and live the rest of her life the way that they would have wanted her to, and that she has to live for them, and that was my favourite aspect of this book (possibly the trilogy as a whole).
I don’t know what it was about reading the book a second time that gave me a newfound love for it. When I first read it I enjoyed it well enough and gave it a 3.5/5, but I think at the time I was too busy focussing solely on the plot and waiting for ALLEGIANT to come out to find out what the answers were to all the questions I had on my mind. This time round, knowing what happens at the end and having a much more solid view of the world in the book, I feel like I had more time to really think about what was happening, to think about the characters and their development, and to really appreciate it more. Seeing the strained relationship between Tris and Tobias the first time I read the book was something which irked me, something that I wished hadn’t happened because it really distracted me from the main plot, but this time I realised that it was part of the main over-arching plot; seeing Tris unable to trust Tobias, and Tobias unable to trust Tris, really enforced Tris’s deep emotional problems throughout and showed that she couldn’t rely on everyone else to help her; she had to make her own choices, but at the same time she had to consider those around her and how her choices could impact her friends and family.
This time round, INSURGENT was a solid 4.7/5 for me, because as always there were still some things that I thought could have been better, but I’m not a New York Times Bestselling Author, so I think my little nit-picks are just personal reader preference.
Moving on to the movie, then, I’m honestly more excited than anything now. A few months ago when the first trailer came out, I was in the same situation as a lot of people when I was instantly worried that things were different. What’s with the box?! Why are things happening in the trailer that weren’t in the book?! WHAT IS THE BOX OMG?!, but having had a few months to really think about it, re-watch the Divergent movie, and re-read the book, I’m realising that things change in movie-land and that I trust the filmmakers to give us another good movie. Divergent was, in my opinion, one of the best YA book-to-movie adaptations of all time; it was so faithful to the book, and it really kept to the spirit of the book. So, because of that, I’m choosing to hope and believe that the Insurgent movie will keep that up, regardless of whether things are changed or added. As long as the true spirit of the book is contained in the plot of the movie, I don’t see what we really have to complain about. Plus, Veronica Roth has seen the movie a few times now, and she maintains that she really loves it, so I trust her well enough to hold on to the hope that I won’t leave the theatre disappointed at the end of the week!