Sunday, June 8, 2014

74. "Insurgent" by Veronica Roth

Roth, Veronica. Insurgent. New York: Katherine Tegen Books, 2012

544 Pages

Reviewed by J. d'Artagnan Love

I am not the audience for the Divergent series. I get that; I really, really get that. Insurgent, despite understanding that the series is aimed largely at teen girls, left me disappointed. I'll admit, I got my wishes for more action and better plot development I'd hoped for after finishing Divergent (read review here) but there are some really blatant screw-ups in Insurgent that negated any improvements from Divergent.

First, Roth is missing something with which all good writers are skilled: TRANSITIONS. One minute Tris is falling asleep and the next, with no transition whatsoever, she is traipsing across the city. One minute Tris is traipsing through the city, the next she's standing in the middle of Erudite headquarters. The complete lack of transitions made the story jarring and disruptive and not in a way that helped the plot or tone at all. It didn't flow; it skipped and started like a scratched CD.

Second, this is a post-apocalyptic society and survival seems awfully easy for these folks. Food, clean water, clothing and shelter are readily available as is transportation that seems to miraculously appear just when they need to get somewhere. Even as a teen reader, this would have made me lose interest. The factions are warring against one another. Roth repeatedly notes that the two factions NECESSARY FOR SURVIVAL ARE NO LONGER IN TACT. So how in the world are they magically having access to the resources needed to survive?!!!???!?!??!??? It's lazy writing. It's bad writing.

Finally, I might have been able to suspend my disbelief for my second point of contention if the story had not been so predictable. About a quarter through the book, I had it figured out. Very little surprised me about how Insurgent ended. None of the "twists" left me feeling the least bit surprised. They were mostly soap operatic and worthy of eye-rolls.

I think the best way to enjoy this book, is to become attached to the characters. If you are attached to the characters, then the tension that is built from conflicts might hold your interest. This is probably Roth's strength as a writer and what thrilled the general public about this series. It isn't the plot, or the universe, it is the rich, complex, and raw characters that grab readers. It is these characters that compel me to read the last book in the series. If it weren't for them, I'd write off the entire series as a dud.

2 darts out of 5

Bookshelf Project Status: Return to Library

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