I read Divergent last year August and thought it was entertaining. The plot was interesting, the protagonist strong, the movie made Four sexy, and it all amounted to an okay reading experience. At first, I considered continuing with the series immediately but the success of watching the Divergent movie prior to reading the book made me want to continue with that trend for Insurgent, especially since the Insurgent movie was due for release this year. However when the movie hit theatres, I didn’t desire to watch it, choosing instead to wait until it got to Netflix, and who knows when that’ll be.
Still, I was curious about the factions. Why were there factions in this weird dystopian world? The books I read after Divergent dampened this curiosity but it was aroused when I read Becky’s review of Allegiant. All of sudden, I wanted to know what occurred after the events in Divergent. So I downloaded the e-book and read.
Quick note: It’s so weird, but I began reading both books on the 15th of the month. I began Divergent on August 15 last year and Insurgent on May 15 this year. Weird, right?
I’m skipping the “Quick summary” section because Insurgent picks up right after the events of Divergent and a lot occurred so I don’t feel like recounting it all or even in parts. So, on to my reaction.
I didn’t like it. My reaction to the story was a frustrated “ugh!!!” It was an interesting story, however. I kept wondering whether the characters will survive and rectify all the wrongs in their society. That’s what kept me reading, as well as discovering how the factions came about. These questions were barely answered by the end, which was a cliff-hanger that did not entice me to continue with the series though there’s more about the factions that I’d like to learn. I guess I’ll just search blogs and YouTube until I find a spoiler-filled review. Oh, by the way, WARNING, SPOILERS! You can skip to the Overall section if you don’t want to be spoiled or read through this rant.
What annoyed me was Tris. She went from reserved but strong in Divergent to I-don’t-know-what in Insurgent. Her thoughts were often repetitive and I think this bulky book could have been shorter if most of her silly thoughts about Four and obsession with Will’s death and Christina’s reaction were cut. I do understand that she was dealing with post-traumatic stress due to seeing her parents die and shooting her friend, but I think readers would have remembered that without it being repeated so often in her thoughts. Will’s death follows Tris through this entire installment that I had to wonder if she would ever get pass it. It’s sad and I do sympathize with her but a part of me wondered what’s the point of all the Dauntless combat training. Did she not expect to kill or hurt someone? That’s cold but it’s what I thought while reading.
Another thing that annoyed me was Tris’ decisions. Some of them made no sense to me. She becomes a little reckless because she wants to emulate her parents and sacrifice herself for those she loves so she can be with her parents again. It is a twisted way of coming to terms with her parents’ death and it actually made me feel sad for her and all that she’s been through, but for someone who is a Divergent and has strong Erudite qualities, why in hell does she think that turning herself in to Jeanine would work? Why does she think that Jeanine will stick to her promises and not attack the Dauntless or other Divergents or use the success of her experiments on Tris (if a success had resulted) on others after Tris dies? Basically, why isn’t she more suspicious of Jeanine. As an Eruditian, I think she should be.
Part of me thinks that Tris didn’t want to die and that she knew that Four is stupid enough to follow her into hell just to try to her out. I can’t help it, but despite her claims of wanting to sacrifice herself and willingness to offer herself in place of others, I think Tris is selfish. She was more selfless in Divergent. Actually, the part where she snuck out the bed so as not to wake Four, told Christina to carry on the good fight, and then turned herself in to Jeanine pissed me off! In my head I was like “Tris please, stop faking. You know you want him to stop you or come for you.” Ugh!
Then there’s Tris and Four’s relationship. I didn’t mind it in Divergent. It was there but it was relegated to the sidelines so we could focus on Tris’ development, but in Insurgent, it is front and center. It dominated the story and I disliked that. Tris and Four’s relationship also got rocky in this installment, mostly because of Tris’ dumb, selfish decisions and Four’s tendency to play the ass, but also because of the stress both characters face as the structures of their world are uprooted. But Four’s antics rankled me. I think he could have been a little more understanding towards Tris when she revealed that she had killed Will (not for her dumbass decisions). I understand that he was hurt that she kept it a secret but considering that Will was her friend, I think Four could have been a little more sympathetic.
Now all this occurred throughout the story and compared to the ending, they were minor annoyances. For me, the ending flopped. It flopped so bad that the cliff-hanger didn’t even work. “Oh wait, was that for me to anticipate the next installment? Well I pass.” Despite all that upset me throughout the story, I was looking forward to the ending for a WWE-like showdown between Tris and Jeanine, or something just as exciting. But no, nothing like that.
I guess Roth thought that Jeanine’s death would have a greater impact on the reader if Tori (the tattoo-parlor girl who helped Tris on her exams) killed Jeanine since Tori blames Jeanine for her brother’s death. He was a Divergent. But from my perspective, I didn’t even remember who the hell Tori was. She showed up a few times in Divergent and her issue with Jeanine was repeated twice, I think. So when Tori kills Jeanine my reaction was “Okaaay…Jeanine is dead. There must be something huge coming in these few pages.” The impact would have been greater if Tris had done it, or at least tried, dammit!
The only thing about the ending that I liked was when Four’s mom seized power. I totally saw that coming. Does anyone in the Dauntless group think anything through? Shouldn’t strategy be one of their strengths? Don’t they train for that too?
Overall: (If you skipped to this section, stay focused. Do not let your eyes waver and wander above).
I could have done without this story but I’m glad I read it so I have a hint at why the Factions came about. I find it hard to believe that the announcement at the end explaining why their society exists is actually the big, bad secret. I was expecting to be shocked. I wasn’t. Is the real secret revealed in Allegiant? Please tell me.
Despite my complaints, the story is actually okay. I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads. The plot was slow in some places, there wasn’t as much action as I craved, Tris was wack, and Four was an ass but the structure and composition worked. Some readers will be happy with the trajectory of the tale but I am not. At the story’s end, I was glad I was done with it and wanted nothing more to do with the books. However, I would like to know more about the Factions and how the series ends. Is Tris able to turn things around? Does she go beyond the Fence, and what is out there? I would like to get answers for these but I refuse to read any more of this series. So, if you’ve read the books and are willing to share some spoilers….drop a note below or send me a message via my Contact page. Otherwise, I’ll go looking for them when I’m over this book.
Other reviews I recommend
- Insurgent (book) Review (lindseyronline.wordpress.com)