I have really enjoyed having the time to read fun, fiction books during the past few weeks.
On May 1st, Veronica Roth's sequel to Divergent, titled Insurgent, came out, and I was extremely excited about it! I find myself lucky, having finished the first book just days prior to the sequel release, and not having to wait a long time to read Insurgent. The current buzz on the book is that Roth did not opt to do a tremendous amount of summarization of the previous novel.
Of course it is difficult to write a book review for a sequel without divulging too much about the plot, so there are some spoilers. You have been warned.
First, the strengths: Tris has lived through a harrowing experience on her Initiation Day, including deaths of her parents and of one of her friends (covered in Divergent). I felt that her hesitance around guns, the persistence of her nightmares, and the way she made wanton decisions that put herself in risky situations, made her pain very real, very pervasive, and very natural. Despite all the activity that was going on around her, Tris had to continue to force her way to work through these fears and deaths and incorporate them into her world view. Instead of haunting her, these events eventually drove her actions and goals.
We also get a chance to view the different factions and the different capacities in which they work. Since the first book focused on Abignation and Dauntless (and a little bit of Erudite), we at least get to see the inner workings of Amity and Candor. Proving herself truly Divergent, it makes sense that Tris can make attempts to blend in, but never truly does fit in.
Her relationship with Four flourishes, and we find him to be a far more complex character with many more layers than he initially let on. And the torture. And the betrayal. And the twist! It has been years since I got full-body goosebumps at the end of reading a novel (yes it was that good!)
Then the weaknesses: Tris has a lot of talent, instinct, and natural prowess to protect and act as she is brave and self-less. But she sure does need some rescuing! Roth makes a point to illustrate many situations that are almost impossible to get out of, surely to build suspense and to make the book the page-turner that it is, but it seems like Four is Tris's version of a savior over and over again. Yes, it is a romance. Yes, it is an illustrative tool used to show that Four would do anything for her, but I grow tired of it. It would be nice to have a woman that doesn't need rescuing, even if it is just in YA fiction.
The verdict is that this is an amazing book, with no hints at a sophomore slump. I anxiously wait for the the third book in the series, and believe that Roth is just getting started!