Saturday, June 30, 2012
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Katherine Tegen Books, 2012
Sequel to Divergent
Warning: possible spoilers for Divergent ahead.
Like many in the blogosphere, I have been awaiting the sequel to Veronica Roth's highly acclaimed debut Divergent. Of course, as a second book in a series, I had some worries. Would I remember enough of the first book to get back in to the story? How much would Roth recap? Would things actually happen in this book? Would (blech) a love triangle develop? Would I end breathlessly anticipating the third book? The answers are: a moderate amount; I needed a bit more; YES; no; and yes.
We begin the book just after the end of the first with the same characters present. I remembered most of the characters but sometimes forgot important faction information about them as well as how they knew Tris. And there are a lot of characters with their own histories and loyalties, who I kept getting confused (especially Cara and Christina-it would be odd if there were only 52 characters, 26 of each gender, one for each letter of the alphabet but it would also probably be helpful as I tend to confuse characters whose names start with the same letter). It was also hard that Tris calls Four by his birth name Tobias because that makes me think of Tobias Funke from "Arrested Development" who is a very different character to say the least.
While I mentioned that stuff happened (there is a lot of movement in the book), I don't know if I would necessarily rate it all as absolutely integral. Sometimes it seemed like action was there just to give the impression of plot development. I love chunksters but I'm also a big fan of pruning out as much as possible. Furthermore, I thought the big ending reveal was drawn out a little too much and I would have liked more clues to have been given to the reading audience so that we could have put the pieces together better. Or maybe I'm just too obtuse; my brain went in a completely different direction.
I actually had two big problems with this book, both of which are my fault. One was that I just don't have the emotional connection I want to have. I have seen lots of comparisons of this story to The Hunger Games but whereas those books grabbed me by the heart, these don't. Sure, I find them exhilarating and entertaining but I'm not emotionally invested the way I was when Katniss volunteered for Prim. The other problem was that I had a lot of trouble falling back into the world. I know my sister devoured this in about two days but it took me four with very little reading done on the first two days. I wanted to know what happened next so that I could participate in blog conversations but the story was just not clicking for me. Happily it started to pick up and I really loved the end, which kind of left me with my mouth open, wondering where Roth will take the story next.
Reading this over, I feel like I had a lot of complaints about this book. But I do genuinely enjoy the writing and, once I was further along, I found myself flying through the pages dying to know what would happen next.
Overall: Of course, if you loved Divergent, you will need to pick this book up!
Cover: These covers just don't work for me. I appreciate something different from pretty dress (which I feel is more of a paranormal romance trend) and thankfully it's not creepy people staring at me but I didn't like Divergent's cover and I don't like this cover either.