|INSURGENT by VERONICA ROTH|
“The truth has a way of changing a person's plans.”
Hi, everybody! So a couple of weeks later, here we are, and I'm hoping that most people interested in talking about it have had a chance to read Insurgent. Second books in series always stress me out, especially when the first succeeded in so many ways. There's a lot to live up to and carry on. That being said, I think Veronica Roth has done an excellent job with this sequel, and I'm so excited to discuss it with you now!
I find that the overall reading experience you have can influence how you feel about a novel. With Insurgent it was particularly interesting because I read it once before the storm, so to speak, and then again after everybody was flying through it and sharing their reactions. Initially, I loved it. Once again I was swept up in the the world Veronica Roth has created and felt emotional ties to so many characters. Then I heard people's feedback and read with it in mind the second time, which changed what I took from the story. So, without further ado, here we go!
|The sense of satisfaction I feel right now is extreme.|
Insurgent picks up right where Divergent left off. The faction system, which has helped to maintain order within society, is crumbling, and people are choosing sides. The murkiness between truth and deception is beginning to dissipate, but the journey to reach the big reveal is not a smooth one. From the grander societal level right down to Tris and Tobias, relationships are tested.
I'm going to assume that if you're reading this, you've already read Divergent and are familiar with the organisation of the factions, etc., so I'll jump right into my thoughts on book two!
***SPOILERS AHEAD. PLEASE READ INSURGENT BEFORE CONTINUING.***
“My mouth goes dry. No factions? A world in which no one knows who they are or where they fit? I can't even fathom it. I imagine only chaos and isolation.”
The concept of Divergence introduced in the first book hints that defining people and expecting them to behave in certain linear ways is a very precarious concept. People are puzzles with different characteristics for pieces, and it seems impossible that the factions could remain coexisting peacefully forever. Discord and disconnect, both within and between them, was seen mostly near the end of Divergent, but we mainly observed things from the Dauntless compound.
In Insurgent, there was frequent movement, both literally and figuratively. We became familiarised with Amity, Candor and Erudite areas of the city, and travelled back to Abnegation and Dauntless as well. It was a nice sampling of the different factions; forming a greater understanding of this internal world which proves to be quite a key point in the end. The story itself didn't lag, either. The inclusion of action and emotion was refreshing to me. I often find that it's almost a choice between one or the other, but here there was more of a balance. All of this weaves together to form the revelations at the story's conclusion.
One of the two biggest comments I heard from friends after they read was that they felt the book was mostly "filler." As I re-read, I focused on the events that transpired to see if I could understand where they were coming from. To an extent I do, because while a lot happens, it's not necessarily clear why it's occurring or where the twists and turns are leading. But overall, I don't think I could say that Insurgent is merely a filler book. While Divergent introduced us to the world and characters, Insurgent put new pieces of wood on the pile, and it was set on fire at then end. The test will be if book three (which doesn't have a title yet) can take all of this and bring it together without losing momentum. I have high hopes! While I can see how some people would consider two books too long to deliver the information the cliffhanger provides, I never felt bored while I was reading. Hints were dropped throughout the story, which I'm sure I noticed more clearly while re-reading because I was looking for them, but what matters is that they're there. Just like questions and thoughts tickle the back of Tris' mind, they do in the reader's, too. The tension builds and leaves you breathless when you realise you have to wait until book three to finally see how this will all unfold.
“Sometimes," he says quietly, "it isn't easy to be with you, Tris." He looks away. I want to tell him I know it's not easy, but I wouldn't have made it through the past week without him. But I just stare at him, my heart pounding in my ears.”
The second most common thought I heard was that Tris was beyond frustrating in this book. I completely felt this as well, both times I read, but I actually kind of love it.
It's not that Tris isn't self-aware, because I think in most ways she is. In a sense, it's almost that she's self-aware to a fault. She is carrying around a terrible weight, and she mentions multiple times that she feels it trying to push her through the floor. Her opinion is not being observed by those above her (for example, when she tries to advise Jack Kang regarding the simulation), and even worse, she doesn't feel her voice is being heard by Tobias, the person she loves the most.
I think this is my favourite line in the entire book. It's simple and straightforward, but profound. Tris is both grieving and feeling guilt, an unbearable combination. Before Eric's execution, Tris sees that she is Tobias' weakness. Her mother and father have already died for her, and she herself has ended the life of a friend, too.
On top of this, Tris experiences betrayal on many levels. Tobias' mother, Evelyn, comes back into the picture, and it's clear that this has the potential to be a terrible development. She tells Tris "I am his family. I am permanent. You are only temporary." CAN YOU EVEN IMAGINE?! Tobias is struggling trying to decide where to place his trust, which only adds to the impact on Tris. She also learns her father was from Erudite, and discovers towards the end that Caleb has joined their forces as well, and acted against her personally. Essentially, she has lost her entire family.
“The Candor sing the praises of the truth, but they never tell you how much it costs.”
There is a moment after Marlene falls from the roof (another loss), when Tris goes into the elevator and screams herself raw, then regains her composure as she exits. I believe this encapsulates her character's experience in Insurgent. She's trying to save everybody she can, to the detriment of herself, and she's so torn up inside. I love what Roth says in THIS ARTICLE about how dystopian societies tend to highlight this "end of the world" feeling, while simultaneously acknowledging its relevance.
“I am the only thing that kept him in the faction he wanted to leave. I am not worth that. Maybe he deserves to know...I can't change the contents of the syringe just by doing it myself, but at least this way, I am the instrument of my own destruction.”
Rather than Tris not having an understanding of her situation, communication and trust are where things unravel. I feel those are universal themes that apply to all relationships, but things seem heightened with Tris and Four because they're such powerful and strong characters and we feel this intimate connection with them. Since we are receiving the story though Tris, the focus is on her flaws and mistakes.
“"I'm not important. Everyone will do just fine without me," I say. "Who cares about everyone? What about me?" He lowers his head into his hand, covering his eyes. His fingers are trembling.”
We're not accustomed to seeing Tobias vulnerable and bare like this. We know Tris is his weakness, but he's so clearly displaying it here. I think that makes us punish Tris even more harshly. I so often wanted to punch her in shoulder and then shake some sense into her, because LOOK WHAT YOU'RE DOING TO FOUR, TRIS. It's like the littlest things are magnified when it comes to them.
“"I love Tris the Divergent, who makes decisions apart from faction loyalty, who isn't some faction archetype."...He touches his forehead to mine and closes his eyes. "I believe you're still in there," he says against my mouth. "Come back."”
|This convo pretty much sums up my heightened emotions when it comes to Four.|
“This is what I wanted most to avoid: for my rises and falls to become Tobias's rises and falls. That's why I can't let him step in to defend me now.”
We fell in love with Tris and Tobias in Divergent. Insurgent challenges them, and therefore us, to see if those connections and feelings hold true. Being Divergent doesn't equal being perfect, and I like that they showed that. What it comes down to, at least for me, is this: is a character strong enough to go through these challenges, and all at once frustrate and captivate you? Coming out at the end of it all stronger than they were before, and making you fall even more in love with them. I believe that Four and Six have succeeded with this. It's a push and pull; they come close and then drift apart, but in the end, they're together and have a renewed faith in each other (and seriously, thank you Veronica Roth for not leaving us with a cliffie when it comes to them, because I truly don't think my heart could handle it).
“He gathers me to him, and bathwater soaks my legs. His hold is tight. I listen to his heartbeat and, after a while, find a way to let they rhythm calm me. "I'll be your family now," he says. "I love you," I say.”
“I am almost afraid of him. I don't know what to say or do around the erratic part of him, and it is here, bubbling just beneath the surface of what he does, just like the cruel part of me. We both have war inside of us. Sometimes it keeps us alive. Sometimes it threatens to destroy us.”
Okay, so the ending. THE ENDING, YOU GUYS. I FUCKING LOVED IT. Everything is unravelling now. We've learned all about this world inside the fence, and now it's shown that all of it is because of what's outside the fence. Not only that, but Tris' family is at the centre of everything that's happening, with Edith Prior being the one delivering the video that revealed the factions were created to solve a monumental problem with humanity. They are a test-tube society - have they succeeded or failed? And where do they go from here? Answers given and even more questions posed, all rolled into one cliffhanger. BRILLIANT.
The bad part is that we have to wait over a year for the third and final installment. Veronica Roth announced that while there is no specific release date yet, we won't be getting it until Fall 2013. I understand that it's so we get the best possible book, but that seems like a million years away
AND I NEED MORE FOUR. Guess we'll just have to flail together over it all until then in preparation! I'd love to hear what you thought of Insurgent - tell me everything!
A/N: I'm sorry it took me so long to get this review together! I took my time while I re-read because I wanted to properly back up my points in this post. The biggest thank you to A, because of reasons. See you all next week with another book! Also, please send any and all book recs my way - I'm going on a trip next week (ARE YOU READY, J?!) and I need plane reading material! Happy reading, perfect bibliophiles. <3