Published: May 1st 2012, HarperCollins
Pages: 525 pages, paperback
Series?: Yes, this is book two in the Divergent series
Acquired: Kindly sent for review by the publisher
Summary (from Goodreads): 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.
My review: I jumped onto the Divergent bandwagon fairly late in the game, I'm happy to admit. However, within the first couple of pages I was utterly gripped and Divergent was undoubtedly one of my favourite reads of 2011. I've been eagerly awaiting Insurgent but I was a little nervous the difficult second in the series wouldn't quite match up to the brilliance of the first book. I'm happy to report that Insurgent absolutely blew me away and I think I actually enjoyed it even more than Divergent.
We jump straight into the action in Insurgent, there's no gently easing the reader into the story here, no unnecessary scene setting; we're plunged right back into the thick of it with Tris and co. The pace in Insurgent is crazy but in a wonderful, whirlwind way that makes the book impossible to put down. Roth executed the pacing perfectly, with short, punchy sentences bringing a sense of immediacy to the story that made me want to read on and on at the end of every chapter. With some of the cliff hangers going on there was no way I could casually put this one down for a couple of days - every free moment I had I was racing through it.
Roth's writing is as beautiful and subtle this time around as it was in Divergent. She really is a genuine talent and I'm so excited to follow her career as it develops. Her language is deceptively simple and I love that she creates such gorgeous prose without feeling the need to use overly complex sentence structure or vocabulary. There are some genuinely tense moments in Insurgent and it's the strength of Roth's writing that really helps to bring these moments to life and makes them impossible to look away from.
Tris is brilliant, as ever. She's absolutely one of the best and brightest heroines I've come across in YA fiction in a long, long while. She's strong, she's brave and she's kind but she's flawed at the same time. She acknowledges her flaws, she owns up to them and she faces her fears, which makes her a wonderful role model for all of us, young and old. She proves time and time again that she is a true Divergent, mixing the bravery of Dauntless with the selflessness of Abnegation and the intelligence and search for knowledge of Erudite. I found myself caring even more about Tris at the end of Insurgent than I did at the beginning; she shows such fantastic character progression and I love her quiet, inner strength. As I mentioned before, I think second novels in a trilogy are always the most difficult and often act as a filler between the first and final acts but Insurgent is packed with excitement, drama and so many subplots that it easily could have held my attention for at least double the page count.
That ending - jeeeeez! Talk about a cliff hanger. Obviously I'm not going to give anything away here but just you wait, it'll drive you crazy! I adore Roth for that ending, it was perfect, absolutely evil and I genuinely don't think I can wait a whole year for the next installment. There are certainly a lot of questions that need answering in book three but I love that Roth answered a lot of questions in Insurgent. I learned just enough to keep me satisfied but, even though it's positively wicked, I loved the cliff hanger ending.
I don't want to talk too much about the love story here, as I have a whole post dedicated to it later on in the week but I will say that the relationship with Tris and Four is one of my favourite YA love stories. It just gets better and better (and more realistic) as the series progresses - a big ole win in my opinion. But more on that later!
Insurgent will blow you away, I promise. You won't be able to put this one down. Your heart will be racing from beginning to end and you will throw the book across the room in frustration at the ending...but then you'll scurry to pick it up so you can start reading this wonderful story again. And again. Veronica Roth - I salute you, you are one talented lady. Insurgent is truly one of the best sequels I've read in a long, long time and my excitement for this series is nearing Patrick Ness proportions - which is pretty much the highest praise I can deliver!
First line: 'I wake with his name in my mouth.'
Read if you liked…: The Ask and the Answer - Patrick Ness
Total: 17/20 (A)
Alternative cover (US):
This review has been posted as part of the Insurgent release week celebrations for #CandorUK. Head over to Painting with Words to see my team mate Iffath's review today too! Today we also have a Faction Tea Party from We Sat Down, so many sure you stop by and check that out.