Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Insurgent (Divergent #2) by Veronica Roth

This picks up where book one left off but with more focus on Tobias and Tris romantically. They are lovey dovey in the beginning only to get into a fight because they keep secrets from one another. They reconcile, then go off and be secretive again. This happens a bit too much and became irritating at one point for me. I also prefer more action and less romance so it depends on you and your tastes. Tris struggles psychologically with killing people and it gives her character more authenticity. She's damaged by her violent actions to the point where she can't even shoot a gun anymore. Tobias realizes she's becoming self-destructive because of her reckless behavior and doesn't know how to deal with it except get so angry he leaves her. Ultimately Tris has to forgive herself and live with her actions embracing the good and bad.

Tobias, Tris, Caleb and a handful of Abnegation and Dauntless survivors flee to the peaceful Amity headquarters to see if they will help them fight the Euridites but discover they are unwilling to side with anyone. The group ends up under attack and runs to the Factionless and later Candor who are willing to fight the Euridites. The group mounts an attack while a subplot has Tris trying to find the truth that the Abnegation was hiding from everyone that is crucial to understanding Euridite's motives. She pursues Marcus in an effort to get it. I got tired of her behavior toward him. She seems to scream at him a lot. I know she's not supposed to be likable and tough but she seemed childish at the end yelling "I hate you." Actually she says that to him over and over throughout both books. Maybe its because I have heard too many little kids use that phrase. Seems like a 16-year-old would have more control over herself.

There's a few things Tris does that doesn't always make sense to me. I understand her not taking a gun when she sees Eric. She freezes with one in her hand, and grabs an alternate weapon. Later when she forgets the stun gun in the middle of a battle it was too unbelievable. The author had to have her unarmed in the final confrontation and she forced the plot to make it happen. The stun gun should have been lost in a more believable way such as fighting in the control rooms. Tris is in the middle of a war and no soldier would forget anything as important as their gun. This plot had a few too many incidents that out-of-character. There are some interesting twists that make it enjoyable but even those don't make always sense. What exactly is "outside the fence" or their factioned society isn't explained enough and the villain becomes one-dimensional at the end in that she only thirsts for power, knowledge, and control. I also thought something happened between Jeanine and Tris's dad that would explain her behavior but it doesn't. Peter gets an interesting part and I liked the twist on his character that shows more motivations as to why he is the way he is. A villain with motivations is more interesting to me than a stock villain. Perhaps Jeanine will be explained more in the final book.

This is full of action and tension but much of it comes from the romantic subplot that became repetitive by the end. Tobias and Tris keep hiding secrets from each other. It moves the plot forward but the actions are the same and out of character by the end when Tris goes off with a separate plan. They would have worked together at that point because the incident before had them trusting each other again. Plus, Tobias is reasonable and Divergent which means he's willing to see different approaches to problems. It didn't make sense that he would not listen to Tris and would blindly follow his mom, not to mention commit genocide in revenge. He was horrified over the annihilation of Abnegation and yet follows a plan that will kill Euridites. It goes against his character to kill innocent people.

The themes focus on conflicts in relationships and forgiveness tied with guilt. The end seemed somewhat of a simple explanation for the society developing into factions. Perhaps book 3 will elaborate more on the world Tris lives in. Tris spends most of the book dealing with grief, guilt, and forgiveness. Her attempts to work through it psychologically were well done for the most part. I did like the simulation where Tris has to fight herself. She'd been fighting with guilt internally through the entire book so when she physically fought herself it forced her to face her guilt and relive the moment that traumatized her. It helped her to see the incident differently and move forward a step in starting to forgive herself. An entertaining read.

3 Smileys

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