Book Review: Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Posted July 12, 2012 by Lori in Books, Reviews / 4 Comments Tags: ,

Book Review: Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica RothDivergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Published by HarperCollins Genres: Dystopian, Romance, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
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three-half-stars

Divergent: In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Veronica Roth is the New York Times bestselling author of Divergent, the first in a trilogy of dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

Insurgent: 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.

The Divergent Trilogy is probably the most popular and most anticipated young adult dystopian trilogies since The Hunger Games. I don’t need to write a review of these two books, seeing as there are so many out there and most people have read them at this point, but I wanted to get my feelings about them down anyway. I’m reviewing them together because it’s hard for me to separate them at this point and I think if you are going to read Divergent, you need to read Insurgent.

Divergent follows main character Tris through her life as a teenager in a future Chicago, where the society is divided into five different factions based on one dominating characteristic. The five characteristics and factions are: Honesty (Candor), Bravery (Dauntless), Selflessness (Abnegation), Peaceful (Amity), and Brainy (Erudite). At age 16, each member of the society must choose their faction and, if need be, leave their family to join their new faction. Tris leaves her family’s faction (Abnegation) to join the Dauntless. Divergent follows her struggles through the initiation process and living in her new faction. She finds some new friend, makes some enemies, and meets Four, one of her initiation leaders and the boy she has a crush on. The end of the book brings lots of action and we see the beginning of the fall of their society. Insurgent picks up right after the end of Divergent and follows Tris and Four and the rest of the factions as they come to terms with the direction their society is heading and the chance of a war among the factions.

In all honesty, I was not as taken with Divergent as most people were. I was a little put off by Tris and the fact that most of the book seemed to be the Dauntless beating up on each other. It seemed to me that Tris was a bit too oblivious, both with Four and his feelings and with how the Dauntless (and all of the factions within the society) really lived and coexisted. But she was otherwise a strong female lead, willing to stick up for herself and her friends and loyal to both her new friends and her old faction. The end was exciting when all of the action started happening and we learned more about the society. I wished there had been a better way to end the book rather than having all of those characters die, but I was also glad that it seemed like an actual probable event. Sometimes authors go to crazy lengths making sure no characters die, I’m kind of glad Roth didn’t go there. Overall, I was pretty happy that I read Divergent. It’s no Hunger Games, to me at least, but it is the beginning of what will hopefully be a great dystopian trilogy.

And if Divergent is the beginning of a great story, Insurgent does a fantastic job of leading us right up to the grand finale. There is no second book syndrome here. In fact, I was a much bigger fan of Insurgent than I was of Divergent. We get a bigger look at the society, more information on the rest of the factions, less brooding on Tris’ part about her own situation, and a surprise ending that promises to make the final book incredible. The relationship between Four and Tris experiences some rocky moments and the action in the book is nonstop. I sometimes needed some downtime myself from the book just to process everything that was happening. It was intense. And like any great dystopian, we are left wondering who among our friends and allies can we actually trust? I am still blown away by the ending of this book.

It took me a while to pick up Insurgent because I wasn’t a huge fan of Divergent, but I’m so glad I did. There is a big cliffhanger though, so if you have yet to read any of them, you could save all of them until the last one comes out (sometime in the Fall of 2013). Then you won’t be left hanging. They are long but quick reads and perfect for the YA dystopian genre. Even if you aren’t fans of dystopian books, I recommend you check these out at some point. I hope Veronica Roth will continue to surprise me in the last Divergent book and in whatever else she may write. I gave Divergent 3 stars and Insurgent 4 stars.

4 Responses to “Book Review: Divergent and Insurgent by Veronica Roth”

  1. Joss Alv.

    Great Review! I love so much Divergent! one of the best dystopian books I ever read! and I´m totally Team Four!

    Thank you so much !

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