Friday, May 11, 2012

Book Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Reading Level: Young adult
Hardcover: 544 pages
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (May 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062024043
ISBN-13: 978-0062024046
Series: Divergent #2
Source: Purchased from Books-A-Million
Cover: I've said several times that I wasn't wild about the Divergent cover when I first saw it. It just didn't grab me. But I feel like after seeing Insurgent, I just sort of "get" them. I really love how they look together and that they can be just as comfortable in the YA section as well as the regular fiction section.
First Sentence: I wake with his name in my mouth.

Mini-Review: Insurgent is toe-curling, mind-blowing perfection.

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. 
New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

There are a handful of books that leave me speechless after I take in the last sentence. There are even fewer that leave me so shocked that it takes me hours to gather all the pieces and make sense of them. Fewer still that make me want to flip to the first page and start reading again. Insurgent manages all of these things with an effortless grace. Every spine-tingling word will leave you breathless, clawing at the pages to get to an ending that will change everything you thought you knew about the world of Divergent.

Having to deal with the consequences of the last novel, Tris is in a pretty desperate place at the beginning of Insurgent. But the thing about Tris is, she allows herself to fall apart and hastily puts herself back together so that she can perform the task at hand. Her hurting is so acute throughout Insurgent that it's a wonder she can even continue walking but when the time comes, Tris has this wonderful ability to fall back into the facts of the situation and survive. I like that the things Tris did in the first book affect her and change her. In some ways, they cripple her and she must learn to adapt in order to survive. For me, it was nice to see her tear down her rough and tough personality (which I really like in it's own right) and see her be venerable. She has this rare ability to be both at the same time and it's one of the things I love most about her. I truly thought that after the horrific events of book one, that there wouldn't be anywhere left to push Tris but Roth finds away to test her even harder in Insurgent. Faced with situations where she is forced to choose between bad and worse, Tris learns more about who she is and what she can do and she isn't always pleased with the results.

Her counterpart Four also comes back better than ever. Struggling through demons of his own, he has a lot that he must overcome so that he and Tris can be together. If their relationship was like fire in Divergent, it's like trying to mix oil and water in this one. When they are good, it's so good it feels like a dream--and there are plenty of these moments to keep us satisfied. But for a lot of the book, they are at odds because they each have different things they need to learn in order to reach the same level again. I appreciated that through everything they respected each other. Four still tested Tris and forced her to be the best she can be, even if it was pushing them further apart to do it. Likewise, Tris brought out a better, calmer Four who valued both of their lives even when Tris didn't. These two are complete equals and it is in their mutual respect for each other that their passion grows like wildfire. I love that they both love each other so much that they are willing to do the right thing in order to keep each other safe. Oh, and there are also some very hot make out scenes and some really sweet ones too so you have to love that!

I was also happy that a lot of other characters got more screen time this time around. While I felt like I knew the Dauntless Initiates by name in the last novel, I feel like I know what they are made of in this one. All of the characters step up to play a larger role which makes Insurgent seem bigger. Though I missed that sense of reckless adventure that the first novel had, Insurgent replaced it with an hectic race to see where everything was going. Divergent felt like it was going along and immersing the reader in this new world but Insurgent felt like it was a speeding train racing towards an enormous wall in the distance.

Getting to experience all of the Factions was interesting too and really provided the reader with the sense that nothing is safe. I think that I felt a sense of security in the Dauntless headquarters, maybe because the Dauntless are like the army in that world, but once Tris and Four are on the run, there is no safe place. Amity leaves it's doors wide open to both sides and can become a battleground if any members of the two sides are present, Candor is a little more exclusive but has absolutely no percautions and Abnegation is a ghost town after so many were killed. I kept thinking that once Tris and Four reached a certain destination that they'd be safe but they never had any luck.

Before I started reading, I was worried. Even though I'd heard that Insurgent was good, I still fretted that it wouldn't be as good as Divergent. But what I found was that every word in Insurgent felt like a gift. Sometimes when you are reading something, you just know how special it is. You look up at the outside world and know that you are changed and feel bad for the people that are missing out. I felt this with Divergent and could barely stand how good it was with Insurgent. It's so rare that an author that had such success with a debut can come back and do it again with a second. Ms. Roth managed to make it better. She managed to pull out all the things that make us human, that rip our hearts in two and that are responsible for mending it and blanket that into every scene. Even if I knew what was coming, I couldn't tell you how it was going to happen until I was reading it and even then, it blew my mind. The ending changed everything you thought you knew about the world and succeeded at just making the scope bigger for the third book.

Insurgent is perfect. Combining everything that made Divergent brilliant and amping it up, it makes 525 pages seem like it isn't enough. I'm not sure if I'm ever going to get enough Tris and Four. One thing I am sure of though is that this series is a must read. In fact, clear your schedule, call out of work, stay in bed and get ready to be shocked, wowed and utterly changed by the ending. I said in my last review that I am Roth's fan for life. I guess she just felt like proving me right.


Favorite Lines (yes, there are a million of them so bear with me):
The air presses around me like a pillow meant to suffocate me. It smells green, the way a leaf does when you tear it in half.
--Pg . 17 of "Insurgent" by Veronica Roth
His breaths, my breaths, his body, my body, we are so close there is no difference.
--Pg . 30 of "Insurgent" by Veronica Roth
...I wonder if he is thinking what I am: that it would be nice if life worked this way, stripping the dirt from our lives and sending us out in the world clean. But some dirt is destined to linger.
--Pg . 43 of "Insurgent" by Veronica Roth
I know that I am birdlike, made narrow and small as if for taking flight, built straight-waisted and fragile. But when he touches me like he can't bear to take his hand away, I don't wish I was any different.
--Pg . 49 of "Insurgent" by Veronica Roth
"Sleep," he says. "I'll fight the bad dreams off if they come to get you."/ "With what?"/ "My bare hands, obviously."
--Pg . 50 of "Insurgent" by Veronica Roth
"I'm telling you a joke," she says, "that you find very funny."
--Pg . 78 of "Insurgent" by Veronica Roth
Time might as well not exist in this place, except I feel it pressing against me as seven o'clock inevitably draws closer...
--Pg . 129-130 of "Insurgent" by Veronica Roth
The Candor sing the praises of the truth, but they never tell you how much it costs.
--Pg . 155 of "Insurgent" by Veronica Roth
Not like Tobias, who is almost shy when he smiles, like he is surprised you bothered to look at him in the first place.
--Pg . 198 of "Insurgent" by Veronica Roth
We both have war inside of us. Sometimes it keeps us alive. Sometimes it threatens to destroy us.
--Pg . 242 of "Insurgent" by Veronica Roth
Sometimes I feel like I am collecting the lessons each faction has to teach me, and storing them in my mind like a guidebook for moving through the world.
--Pg . 269 of "Insurgent" by Veronica Roth
Blood is a strange color. It's darker than you expect it to be.
--Pg . 276 of "Insurgent" by Veronica Roth
I think we cry to release the animal part of us without losing our humanity.
--Pg . 341 of "Insurgent" by Veronica Roth
"You're wrong," I say. "We may both be bad, but there's a huge difference between us--I'm not content with being this way."
--Pg . 349 of "Insurgent" by Veronica Roth
Grief is not as heavy as guilt, but it takes more away from you.
--Pg . 377 of "Insurgent" by Veronica Roth
I am his, and he is mine, and it has been that way all along.
--Pg . 400 of "Insurgent" by Veronica Roth
"We risked our lives by defecting from our faction," says Cara, "and we will risk them again to save our faction from itself."
--Pg . 449 of "Insurgent" by Veronica Roth
I did make my choice. I chose my mother and father, and what they fought for.
--Pg . 505 of "Insurgent" by Veronica Roth
People, I have discovered, are layers and layers of secrets.
--Pg . 510 of "Insurgent" by Veronica Roth

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