I absolutely loved Divergent, the first novel in Veronica Roth’s dystopian trilogy but then I also felt the same way about The Hunger Games and then became just that little bit more disappointed as the series unfolded. I truly hoped that Insurgent would grow in story and strength and drive me to the last book in the series. I was to be honest a little bit disappointed.
Firstly there is no gentle lead into the book, it dives straight in with no recap of the events of Book 1, which means if like me you’ve had a break between books you may need to recap on who’s who in the surrounding characters. This meant I spent the first chapter or so trying to reestablish my understanding of who did what to whom and where allegiances lay.
Secondly I really went off the Hunger Games series when it became too military in it’s nature, all guns and war and fighting and unfortunately Insurgent suffers this same fate. The book is truly just one big series of people picking sides, deciding who will fight who and then people getting shot/injured/captured, delete as appropriate. There were pages where I’d find my mind wandering as Tris suffered yet more angst about who she was shooting, how this tore her apart and what faction she was aligning herself to now. Then I’d snap back to focus and find I hadn’t missed that much.
The book had some redeeming features, it had a brilliant ending that has left me with enough curiosity to read book 3 because I do need to know more about how the series will conclude. Also some of the quieter moments of the book when we stop talking about guns, fighting and war for a few pages and focus on life inside the factions are actually quite nice. It’s a shame that more time wasn’t spent on this instead of the ongoing dramas between Tris & Tobias.
It is clear we are reading a Young Adult novel as the constant need for them to stop all action as soon as they get even remotely intimate is really annoying. It makes their relationship feel transient and less important, like they just skirt around each other and moon around in the middle of a huge war whilst failing to move their relationship beyond petty squabbles and lack of trust.
It is a 3 out of 5 book but only just, I give it this mark in hope that book 3 will make the drawn out nature of this book apparent by explaining why it had to be written the way Roth did. Too much action and not enough emotive writing means it fell short of expectation.