Ok, so I’m going to start this review with a disclaimer. It gets kind of ranty from here on out. I was totally stressed out and exhausted when I read this book. So maybe my general crankiness with life had something to do with my crankiness towards this book. I also had pretty high expectations given the amount of hype Insurgent got and given how much I loved Divergent. So maybe I was just asking to be disappointed. I don’t know. Whatever the case, this book just didn’t do it for me. It was merely ok.
Insurgent starts right where Divergent left off. And I mean exactly where it left off. You get not transition easing you into the book (and call me old-fashioned, but I don’t think you should have to read an author’s blog as a refresher before a sequel) and no reminder of who the heck we’re dealing with. All I needed was the addition of “my brother” in the first sentence about Caleb and a quick reminder of what just went down. Seriously, not too much to ask, I don’t think.
Picking up right where Divergent left off is not only problematic for those of us with sieve-like memories, but it also left a wide gaping hole in explaining Tris’s sudden personality change. We leave her as a kickass rebel and come back to her as a depressed zombie (think Katniss in Mockingjay). I know she lost her parents, I know she killed her best friend’s boyfriend, I know that there’s a freaking war going on, but everything I loved about Tris in Divergent seemed to disappear in this book. She became foolish, rash, and selfish and stopped being courageous, logical, and selfless. She has a death wish. She starts sabotaging her relationship with Tobias/Four with all her depressed/suicidal nonsense. I kept wondering if I’d been completely duped by thinking Tris was a kickass female hero. She’s not that way in this book. She doesn’t take her pain and channel it in to positive action. She spends the whole book making stupid decisions and putting herself in harm’s way out of some misplaced sense of grief/duty/nobility. If male characters can suffer grief and remain kickass, why can’t the girls?
And Tobias sort of turns into Gale from Mockingjay in this one, too. He gets caught up in the rebel factionless politics and starts playing into the war games, instead of being the character I’d like to see. You know, the one who stands up for what is right, not what is popular, not what has the backing of his mom, not a plan that will surely end with a different tyrant, but tyranny all the same. And I really couldn’t grasp why he and Tris kept making out at such weird times. Like… if she’s as depressed as she’s acting, is she really all that interested in his muscular tattooed body?
The best part about the book was getting to take a peek into the other factions. You get to travel to Amity and Candor and the factionless zones and get to see just how messed up all the other factions are. The ideals these factions once embodied are gone, enforced by happy-pill bread and truth serum. I get the feeling we’re moving towards the sort of society embodied by Four’s tattoos… one that embraces the strengths of all five factions. However, there is quite a bit of foreshadowing about life beyond the walls of Chicago, so clearly that’s going to play a part in this whole thing, too. I guess I am curious to see where this will end up, but I don’t know if in a year or two I will remember/care enough to be able to delve into the third book.
Ok, so I know most of you will read this and most of you will probably actually enjoy it. In fact, I encourage you to read the series because the first book was great! Just… don’t let the hype get your expectations too high and don’t take this series too seriously, I guess.