Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

InsurgentInsurgent, part two of Veronica Roth’s Divergent series, launches from the very moment at which book one, Divergent, finished. Literally. I think maybe a few minutes have passed, and this is just brilliant because I didn’t want to miss a single moment of Tris and Four’s story.

Insurgent manages to be different to Divergent and yet the same. I’m not going to say anything about the storyline for fear of raising Divergent spoilers, suffice to say that things have changed and Tris is fighting as hard as ever for the freedom to live as she chooses. The challenges thrown into her pathway - or whose pathways she decides to leap headlong into - are bigger, more life threatening, and have more far-reaching consequences than those she faced in Divergent. Roth has definitely stepped up the action and, while the choices Tris faced in Divergent were more personal, more about what was right for her and her small group of friends, those in Insurgent are more about honoring her parents’ legacy and seeking the greater truth.

The ever-dreamy Four, Tris’s love interest, suggests Tris is being reckless, but from her (and my) point of view, it it is more that she is trying to balance her Abnegation ideals and her Dauntless ideals, trying to do what she thinks and feels is right. And it turns out that the difference between her two factions are not that great: the Abnegations belief in selflessness is equal to Dauntless’ requirement of courage in the face of danger. Courage to do what is right, and courage to put others before yourself. Sometimes this requires self-sacrifice, something which the proud Four seems to have trouble understanding.

Actually, Four is rather blinkered throughout the whole story. Whether stubborn or prejudiced - or both - he refuses too see what Tris is trying to tell him (though, granted, she doesn’t really try that hard). While, as a reader, it gets a little frustrating that the two of them seem so doggedly stupid in their inability to simply communicate openly with one another, I guess they each have their reasons for shutting off. And, of course, this all adds to the tension. Not only did Roth keep me asking, ‘what is really going on, what is the truth?’ and ‘how is it all going to work out?’, but also ‘how are Tris and Four going to work out?’ The conflicts are well-developed; a relief because I think if done by a lesser writer, they could have been frustrating.

The biggest problem I have with Insurgent is that I am now going to have wait however long for the next installment. I would say to Veronica to hurry up and write it - actually, I will say exactly that - but with an amendment: take your time writing it, too, because I want it to be as good as parts one and two! And that’s no small pressure.

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