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Insurgent by Veronica Roth
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Insurgent (2013)

by Veronica Roth

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Divergent (2)

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5,652426755 (3.89)303
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Showing 1-5 of 418 (next | show all)
Oh gosh! Could things be any more crazy between Tris and Four? I think not! This book was a great part 2 in my opinion. Blew me away. So much action in one book, I couldn't believe it. I didn't want to set it down! ( )
  AngelaFries | May 1, 2015 |
At first I couldn't figure out why everyone rated this book so high. To tell the truth, I was a little bored. I was going to rate it 3 stars until I got to the end. Loved the end. I will definitely need to read the next book. I'm hoping this was suffering one of those "middle book syndromes" where it served as sort of a bridge between the first and last book. Hoping the next book delivers. ( )
  KR_Patterson | Apr 28, 2015 |
This review is chock-full of spoilers. It's pretty much a blow-by-blow, with snark added in. Read at your own risk.


Tris, Four, Marcus, and Peter are riding the trains when they reach Amity. Amity declares that they'll serve as neutral ground - no weapons, no conflicts. Their leader, Johanna, has a mysterious conversation with Marcus, wherein Marcus reveals Abnegation actually knows some Really Deep Secrets and that's what Erudition is after. Tris asks him about it but throws a temper tantrum because Marcus is mean, so doesn't find anything out.

Peter tries to steal the hard-drive from Tris, so she punches him, and gets taken to a time-out room, where she is drugged with something. As she's happily tip-toeing through the daisies, Four gets pissed and calls out Johanna on drugging not only Tris, but accuses her of drugging her entire faction. He then utters the most perfectly book-destroying line ever heard:

"I'm not an idiot. Every member of your community has trouble keeping the peace, because they're all human." (63)

What. What. I was willing to go with it, book. I was willing to suspend my disbelief and just imagine that this is some kind of alternate world thing where people only have one feeling at a time and can totally hold that up but now YOU'RE acknowledging that human beings don't work like that, so I can't even do that anymore. The last string suspending my disbelief didn't snap, it was cut. It was sawed with a rusty pair of scissors by you, book. You did that.

Like all trains, these are occupied by a group of wandering hobos - oh, wait, no, they're the Factionless, which amounts to the same thing. One of them has an eyepatch and it turns out to be Edward! Of all the trains in all dystopian Chicago... The factionless tell them to am-scray, but Tobias mentions his full name and suddenly everyone starts murmuring about the new messiah. Okay, not really, but clearly he's ~special~. They get to a Hoovertown where there are factionless children.

That's interesting.

So in this new society, it's totally cool if children are starving on the streets. Do they get to choose a faction and try to reintegrate? Or are you basically ghettoizing - who am I kidding, you never thought this through all the way, did you, book? The more I hear about this society, the more I'm confused why anyone went along with it at all. "It prevents war! Not death by misadventure, rampant poverty and starvation by those who get kicked out for no reason, and bred enough conflict to start a military coup, but it prevents war! Wait."

Tris is shocked by how normal the factionless seem, which is odd, considering we were told that Abnegation often gives charity to the factionless. Edward, who after what, three weeks? Is apparently the spokesperson for now of the factionless, and he grabs his bindlesnitch and takes them off to see the wizard.

Tobias clearly knows who they're taking him to meet, and when they get there, it turns out to be his mother. They exchange an awkward conversation, and Tris thinks that "if I discovered my mother was alive after thinking she was dead for so long", she wouldn't talk to her mom like that. Except Tobias clearly knew his mother was alive, that's why he knew to mention his name - oh, Tris, never mind, just put on your dunce cap. (Seriously, in the first book, she was borderline sociopathic, but not stupid too often. So far she has done a few things that count as "too stupid to live" in this book).

It turns out Tobias's mother, Evelyn, is trying to unite the factionless, overthrow the government, and create a new, factionless society. Sounds good, but Tris doesn't trust her. Sure. The factionless also have safe-houses, a hobo code, and the highest population of Divergents, because they're the most likely to not fit into any faction and fail initiation. That... actually makes sense. Well done, book!

Tris and Tobias go to Candor-land, where they are immediately arrested by Dauntless soldiers.

Aaand, pause. I think I've pinpointed a big part of my problem with this book. Usually when you create a cool new society, you're encouraging the reader to participate. Hey, if you went to Hogwarts, which House would you be in? The difference there was that it wasn't so rigid. It was just, "Hey, you like learning? Cool, you're Ravenclaw," not, "Hey, do you like learning to the exclusion of everything else, including basic human instincts and decency?". It's impossible to sympathize or insert yourself into this world, because it doesn't make sense. You can't say, "Oh, I'm Amity!" because conflict is a part of everyone's lives. You can't say, "Oh, I'm brave, so I must be Dauntless!" because brave does not equal suicidal. There's just nowhere to place yourself, so the reader always feels on the outside of the story, never in it. You can read a good story that way, but it's never going to give you that feeling of closeness that really good books do. I can't like Tris because she might as well be an alien for all that I feel a connection to her. She's not human - she's in a faction. None of these characters can feel human, because they're shoehorned into a scenario that human beings can't function in. An extraordinary author could probably work around that, but Roth, while not bad, is definitely not extraordinary, either. So as a result, it's just a series of events happening to a character that I can't really feel a connection to. I'm sort of curious to see what happens to her, but I don't care what happens to her.

Candor apparently uses truth serum like candy, so they decide to interrogate Tobias and Tris with it as they are accused of “crimes against humanity”. Their interrogator offers them an antiseptic wipe before putting the injection in and Tris remarks, “We didn’t bother with that kind of thing in Dauntless” (134) because as I cannot stress enough, Dauntless is kind of idiotic.

The Candor and Dauntless believe that they are innocent and let them go. There’s some angst about Christina finding out that Tris killed Will (which I have a hard time caring about, because Tris seems to have only just now realized that while she only maimed two people she considered enemies, she deliberately shot Will in the head), and Tobias and Tris have an argument over who trusts each other the least. Tris and some others go to spy on Erudite headquarters and are attacked by traitor-Dauntless. They are shot with some sort of blue-dye-needle-guns. The others are knocked out and Eric and his henchmen are rounding up Divergents. Tris, being an idiot, gets captured by Eric because she didn’t bring a gun, and Eric, being an idiot, tells his guards that he doesn’t just want a gun aimed at her, he wants a gun “on her” at all times (188). Good job, Eric. It turns out they teach nothing of self-defense or tactics in Dauntless, because that’s probably the worst possible thing you could do.

Eric says they only need two Divergents for “testing” and shoots an eleven-year-old boy because he is Evil. Tris finally remembers that she has a knife (really? They didn’t search her?) and stabs Eric just as the cavalry rides in to save the day, the cavalry in this case being loyal-Dauntless and Tobias. While Tris and Tobias remember to figure out what the Evil Master Plan in-between another round of “who trusts who least”, Candor-land has become home to loyal-Dauntless and also some Erudite who realized they didn’t want to be working for an evil overlord. Hilariously, Tris tries to convince us that Dauntless was the only faction that could have been split so easily because it’s the “cruelest of the five”, while evidence that clearly others could split as well are sitting right next to her. Okay, Tris. She and Tobias do manage to figure out that everyone shot with the blue-dye-needle-gun is now in danger of being controlled by Jeanine, but apparently are too distracted by their teenage lover’s quarrel to pass this information along to anyone. Hey, at least this time she didn’t fall asleep.

Also, when anyone says, “Think like an Erudite”, they just mean, “Use common sense”. It’s a handy tip to know whenever you’re trying to figure out why the hell everyone seems to think Tris has a brain.

The leader of Candor-land calls a meeting and asks all the real Divergents to step up. The book seems confused at this point – several people claimed to hear “children’s stories” about Divergent (their equivalent of the boogeyman because it’s scary when people have real personalities rather than just one emotion, apparently) but then Marcus, also a Divergent, claims that they had “never heard of Divergent until a week ago” (219). Whatever. I’m just going to substitute “never believed in Divergent” to trick my mind into thinking this makes sense. Candor’s leader decides to try and broker a treaty with Erudite, because everyone in this book is an idiot.

The Dauntless ask Tris to think like an Erudite (remember: think like an Erudite = use common sense), leading to this brilliant exchange:

“You just have to ask yourself what the most logical response to a particular situation is.”

I am greeted with blank stares.
(236)

Not surprising. No one here seems capable of thinking logically.

There’s a scene where the loyal-Dauntless prove they’re cretins by calling Tobias a “coward” because he had an abusive father, and Tobias snaps and beats his dad up in front of everyone. Tris reasons that he did it to gain the Dauntless’s respect so that he can become a Dauntless leader, so that he can lead them with the factionless, but of course this leads to another spat, because of course it does.

At the meeting, the loyal-Dauntless eavesdrop to make sure Candor-leader isn’t going to sell them out. Lynn jumps the gun for… some reason, and kills Max, Jeanine’s representative. Peter shows up with the Erudite, makes some bully taunts, and gets away. Shauna is shot during the fracas and Lynn moans that she shouldn’t have shot Max. Ya think? I’m starting to see a trend here: shooting someone then thinking about the consequences afterwards isn’t working out so well for all of you, is it?

Knowing Candor-leader will agree to Jeanine’s terms, Dauntless decides to make a break for it back home. They agree with yells and Tris observes:

In these moments, we don’t seem like individuals anymore. We are all part of the same mind. (264).

I honestly can’t tell if this is supposed to be affirming in a “we’re part of a family” kind of way or not, but it’s come up twice, and all I can think is, “That’s a terrifying thought”, so I’m going to choose to believe that Tris is saying this because it freaks her out, too. They elect Tobias as one of the new leaders and execute Eric. I will pause to say that Tobias is actually pretty awesome in this scene and his last words to Eric are kind of brilliant.

They leave Candor-land and for some reason don’t offer to take any Divergent with them, which you’d think would be a major priority as they’re severely outnumbered and the Divergent who stay are going to be turned over to Jeanine and probably killed anyway, but whatever, they’re ~Dauntless~!

Tobias goes to meet with his mother and agrees to work with the factionless, which pisses Tris off because she doesn’t trust his mom, lover’s spat ensues, you know the drill.

Because Tris has shown herself to be terrible with sharing important information, she somehow did not anticipate Jeanine actually activating those blue-dye-guns. Three of those who were hit deliver a message telling the Divergent to hand themselves over or people are going to die, then the unlucky messengers jump off a rooftop.

Tris predictably turns herself in, where Jeanine explains that Tris is actually a super-special-snowflake Divergent; most of them only show an aptitude for two, not three factions! Humans with three different factions of their personality? Unheard of!

Anyway, Jeanine wants to study her brain to make a simulation capable of controlling even the strongest Divergent (wait, doesn’t she already have one?), and Tris asks to see her MRI results. After some scientific talk, we find that Tris’s brain is, naturellement, unique.

Tobias turns himself in, as well, and Tris is tortured in front of him in order to coerce him into giving up the location of the factionless safehouses. He agrees.

We find out that Jeanine was working with a traitor in their midst – could it be – Caleb! Tris thinks, “Why did I never wonder how Eric and Jeanine knew that I had aptitude for three factions?” (358). Actually, you did, Tris. On page 328.

Her short-term memory loss notwithstanding (30 pages, Tris. You forgot about important information in thirty pages), Tris comes across Tobias in the hall and he overpowers their guards. He reveals that it wasn’t a suicide mission at all, but a way of getting into Erudite headquarters to gain information before they mount an attack. They are caught again, then we have a short scene where Caleb tries to explain it’s “for the greater good”. Jeanine is getting frustrated because her serum isn’t working on Tris and decides to move up the execution date.

But hark! Peter ends up pulling the old switcheroo and fakes Tris’s death. Together with Tobias, they escape Erudite headquarters, exchange some banter, and Peter tries to convince us that he really is ambiguous and has more character development than 99% of anyone else in this series. I believe him, but the bar is pretty low.

Tobias, Peter, and Tris end up back in Abnegation sector, where the factionless are planning their attack. Tris runs into Marcus, who gives her some cryptic information about the information that Erudite was supposedly attacking for. It apparently has something to do with what’s outside of the gate, and Abnegation was planning on releasing it to all the factions when the attack came from Jeanine.

Evelyn outlines the plan of attack and Christina and Tris share misgivings about attacking Erudite headquarters. Uh, okay. What exactly is your plan, then? Evelyn plans on securing key officials and destroying information that Erudite cherishes, which, honestly, sounds pretty reasonable. Some bloodshed, but she’s not campaigning for a full-out massacre, so I’m not sure what Tris’s problem is with this plan. She lies to Tobias in order to get out of joining the attack and plans on working with his father to find the information Jeanine stole.

I’m pausing the plot recap a moment to put a little note in; Roth has a bad habit of breaking down everything. It’s not enough that she ran, she must put one foot in front of the other. She doesn’t wake up, she sees the red of her eyelids. The best example I can come up with is this:

She takes the cap off a black tube about the size of one of my fingers, revealing a red stick. Lipstick, obviously. (427)

Was any of that necessary, really? You couldn’t say, “She uncapped the lipstick”? I’m beginning to see why this book is 525 pages, and babies, it ain’t the plot.

Marcus, Christina, and Tris go to Amity, where they fill Johanna in on the latest happenings and she asks Amity to reconsider their previous Switzerland stance. They come to the same decision, but Johanna says she disagrees and anyone who wants to come with her can. A group follows her. So much for your theory that only Dauntless could be divided, Tris.

So their merry band now consists of Tris and Christina from Dauntless, some Amity, some Abnegation, and some Erudite-defectors. One of them asks about Tris, who explains she was originally Abnegation, then became Dauntless. He responds in puzzlement, “That kind of leap in personality between generations is almost genetically impossible these days” (459). I’m not going to comment on this, I’m just going to leave it here for you to think of all the problems that statement has.

They sneak into Erudite’s headquarters, cleverly disguised in blue. You would think Jeanine would have put up some Wanted posters with Tris’s face, but no, because no one seems to recognize them. They try to access the information from a public computer when Caleb interferes and tells him that Jeanine keeps it somewhere else. Marcus knocks him out and they head to Jeanine’s private lair – er, I mean, lab. She breaks into the lab and finds Tori about to kill Jeanine. She pulls a gun on Tori, explaining that Jeanine is the only person who can access the information, but Tori doesn’t believe her and stabs Jeanine.

Under guard as a traitor, Tris convinces Tobias to take Caleb to Jeanine’s computers and access the file. Evelyn announces that a new government will be set up without any factions. Everyone seems shocked by this even though this was clearly the factionless’s intention the entire time.

Tobias suddenly reappears and a person comes on all of the screens – the file. The woman on the screen says she is Amanda Ritter, and that war has become so commonplace, that they are founding a new society, a social experiment, wherein people will have their memories erased and placed in this new Chicago. As soon as the Divergent are abundant, they are supposed to leave their little isolated experiment and … teach the people outside the fence how to be good people? I have no idea. This really doesn’t make any sense. Why the factions to begin with? If Tris is only a “second generation”, according to Jeanine’s files, then hey, that didn’t take long? How are the Divergents supposed to help?

Hopefully these will be explained satisfactorily in the next book, but I’m not holding my breath.

As with the last one, I’ll say that this book wasn’t bad. It has so many plot holes and inconsistencies and the main character is dull as dishwater, but it’s compelling in the same way a popular thriller is: turn off your brain and just go along with the ride. ( )
  kittyjay | Apr 23, 2015 |
I am in awe of the author's imagination. I love the whole divergent concept and this second book in the series is also a thrilling ride. I whipped through it, partially because it enjoyed it and had to know where it all was going and also because I want to see the movie tomorrow and wanted to read the book first (I refuse to do it the other way around, movie first, book second).
I am not sure I hold out a lot of hope for Four and Tris's relationship. They know each other so well but are missing some basic trust issues. While I understand why she misled him in several instances, it doesn't bode well for a lasting relationship.
It's such an interesting character study and why they do the things they do. I am at constant odds trying to figure out who is trustworthy and who isn't, but so many of them can be "bought" or convinced to do the wrong thing when it benefits them. I am not sure I would want too many of them as friends, or family for fear they'd turn on me when it suited them.
I am looking forward to reading the third segment in this series, they are exciting and fast reads ( )
  maggie1961 | Apr 19, 2015 |
I truly took a liking to Veronica Roth's uncomplicated writing, witty conversations and believable human emotions in Divergent, so I expected Insurgent to be good; however, I did not expect it to be that good. YA fiction is usually a kind of read where an adult can forget herself for a few hours, immersing in a story of a sixteen-year-old's drama. This is not any different; nevertheless, I paid more attention to writing, emotions and reactions. And I must say that Tris Prior is a really interesting character in that sense. I think that everyone can relate to the emptiness of losing someone they loved, a kind of curiosity that consumes you and does not let your mind rest until you figure things out, and the desperate need to not think about certain things and forget yourself by keeping busy. Another thing that kept me hooked on this book is the image of the dystopian world created by the author, which is much more vivid comparing to Divergent, as the reader can picture what kind of lives people lead in every faction. Also, Insurgent started to deal with life outside all factions - the factionless - and took it a step further by hinting that there is also a world outside the fence. Will definitely be looking forward to the next book. ( )
  v_allery | Apr 19, 2015 |
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I won't write a spoiler here, but Veronica Roth really has a way of wrapping up the end of the story while leaving the reader gasping at the revelation, and desperate to read more.
 

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Veronica Rothprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Galvin, EmmaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Like a wild animal, the truth is too powerful to remain caged.

-From the Candor faction manifesto
Dedication
To Nelson,

who was worth every risk
First words
I wake with his name in my mouth.
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Book description
Tris Prior survives the Erudite simulation attacks that occur during the time she expected to be celebrating her achievement of being ranked first among the initiate class of her chosen faction, Dauntless. Even though the Dauntless have been freed from Erudite mind control, a war develops and secrets emerge.
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"As war surges in the dystopian society around her, sixteen-year-old Divergent 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"--… (more)

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