Veronica Roth’s Insurgent

So, Insurgent, the second installment in the Divergent series, did not live up to my expectations. Believe it or not, I want books to exceed them. I want them to be absolutely amazing and breathtaking. Sometimes they aren’t. This wasn’t.

If you remember my review for Divergent, you’ll know that I had trouble with the faction names and the transition from the middle to the climax. There wasn’t much of one. Setting aside all that, this book had one, actually two, major flaw that I could not get over. Nothing happened. Absolutely nothing happened. They went from faction to faction. They fought. People died. Tris and Four (Tobias) kissed. Tris and Four fought. They kissed. People died etc. Seriously, just like that, or so it seemed to me. It was almost as if Roth decided for every new character she introduced into the storyline, she’d kill off someone. Why? Why is that necessary? I know they were fighting a war and people die, but is killing off at least five characters imperative to the story? No. I can see justification for one or two of them maybe but five?

Maybe I wasn’t in a very forgiving mood while reading it. It doesn’t negate the fact that I kept seeing what was wrong with it and what annoyed me. Granted, I did not have the best of weeks, but I hardly think that was why I didn’t like it. Based on other reviews I’ve read, I’m not the only one who had trouble swallowing this book. Writing a series is difficult. You have to carry your characters through a number of books, not to mention come up with a storyline that is complicated with twists and turns to keep your readers guessing. It’s not easy. JK Rowling accomplished it successfully with Harry Potter. Unfortunately, Roth has not. I haven’t read Allegiant yet so maybe it’ll get better again. Sometimes it is simply Middle Book syndrome, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Forget the plot, or lack thereof. What might be worse than that are the inconsistencies in character behavior. Tris and Tobias (I’m calling him Tobias now. He doesn’t even deserve the nickname Four anymore.) were more like angsty teenagers than they were before. What happened to the brave Tris, who did whatever she could to survive? What happened to the quiet and formidable Tobias, who was intimidating just to look at? Why were they replaced by a girl that cried all the time and wanted to die, and a boy who lost his nerve and needed the girl to survive? It makes no sense. Yes, Tris suffered major losses at the end of Divergent. I will allow for grief, but not to this extent. It doesn’t make sense with her character. She should have gotten angry and fought back, not scared to move or do anything, including breathing. The five stages of grief are as follows: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In that order. She skipped the first three and went straight to depression.

I don’t want her to be chipper and perfectly content with what happened. That’d be absurd and also completely against her character. But I do want her to try. Is it too much to ask for her to try to do something, anything? Then again, there was no plot for her to do anything anyway, so maybe her languor is appropriate? And as for Tobias, I don’t know what happened to him. He was needy, clingy, and riddled with hormones that didn’t seem to be there in Divergent. The secondary characters were rather minor, more so than usual, so when they died, I didn’t really care. I cared enough to say, “Another one?” but not enough to be sad. I adore fleshed out secondary characters, like Voldemort and Snape and Dumbledore to mention a few. Roth forgot to do that for the characters in Insurgent. She did, however, do a much better job in Divergent. Keep your fingers crossed that it’ll go back to the way it was before in Allegiant!

Tris seemed to wake up about 75% of the way through. Tobias took a little longer and came around at about 97% of the way through. I know this because I was reading the Kindle version this time. That’s too long. It should have been right from the start. I will say this, though. I kept flipping pages despite no plot and uncharacteristic behavior. Why? Because I wanted to know when on earth they were going to get their acts together. I hate giving such a negative review for a book that reached the bestseller charts and is loved by many. Then again, you can’t please everyone, and Roth certainly did not please me this time.

Insurgent lacks plot development and movement, while simultaneously flipping the characters on top of their heads so they’re hardly recognizable from the first book. If you’re like me, you’ll read it anyway because you have to finish any series you start. Just beware: Divergent set the bar too high for Insurgent. 4/4*

*See explanation of rating system

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