Considering how disappointed I was in the previous volume, I found volume 12 of Loveless a surprisingly engaging read. It's hard to say I liked it, si...moreConsidering how disappointed I was in the previous volume, I found volume 12 of Loveless a surprisingly engaging read. It's hard to say I liked it, since most of the Loveless cast at this point are heavily flawed individuals I would never hang out with (cough Seimei cough), some of them I would fear for my own safety around, but I was entertained by this dark and beautifully drawn set of chapters. The focus of it starts out narrow but by book's end has widened and raised many crucial questions about the story so far.
**spoiler alert** It's a lower three star rating than my usual, but enough to bump it up from two to three. I'll write a better collection of my thoug...more**spoiler alert** It's a lower three star rating than my usual, but enough to bump it up from two to three. I'll write a better collection of my thoughts on INSURGENT later this week, hopefully.
Update: Okay, let me try and explain my rating of this book. Naturally, spoilers! Spoilers everywhere! I'm gonna put it under the GR spoiler hider just in case. Also, I bumped it down a star because Lynn. This book did Lynn so wrong.
First, I'll write what I liked about INSURGENT... and then the stuff I really, really didn't like.
+ Tris showed some actual character growth, or at least responded to situations like a human being, not a walking plot device. She clearly has PTSD related traumas from the events of DIVERGENT, especially the finale, and who can blame her? She saw both her parents die and she herself was forced to kill one of her Dauntless comrades in order to survive. She is plagued with guilt and the horror of her actions, and it follows her into INSURGENT.
+ Four, err, Tobias, is more bearable in this book than the first one. We see him out of the strict confines of Dauntless society and he has room to grow out of his faction's shadow.
+ The book raises ideas that the first book was afraid to - like how not every single member of Erudite is a sinister nerd bent on the destruction of every other faction, and that sometimes doing the right thing according to your own code means doing something bad according to everyone else's. Especially when Tris goes against her entire faction and Four in an attempt to save everyone during the INSURGENT finale.
+ We finally see how the factionless live and that it is possible to live in a society without factions and compartmentalizing personality traits like a dummy. They've learned how to survive in harsh conditions because they were abandoned and left to inhabit the worst places to live, and it made them stronger in the end.
+ Tris' narrative is no longer filled with needlessly mean thoughts about other women's appearances, as if she has to compete with them looks-wise. Even with Johanna's scar - in the end, Tris comes to see it as a part of what makes Johanna beautiful and strong, not a disfigurement to be hidden away. Plus, we are no longer subjected to descriptions of the Erudite leader's love handles, thank goodness.
The Crap. The Crappy Crap Crap:
+ I still don't understand why Tris is so goddamn valuable as a fighter or a Dauntless or even a Divergent. She spends most of the book 1) moping 2) being captured or 3) getting herself into trouble and endangering the safety of her loved ones and friends. She is not the only Divergent around - certainly not the only one with Erudite leanings - so why does everyone look to her for guidance?
This is a teenage girl who just lost her parents, has been stripped away from her old faction, can't even use a gun without feeling sick, isn't terribly strong physically, often lets her feelings for Tobias overtake her common sense - and y'all are making her the unofficial guidance counselor and leader of this mission? Man, look... They continually dump on Tris, then get mad when she messes up, the dumps on her more stuff, and this cycle isn't fun to read.
+ The Tris/Four relationship is irritating. They spend a lot of INSURGENT fighting or angrily making out. They do not have a healthy relationship, and instead of setting aside half an hour to talk out their issues, they keep butting heads and continuing their inane misunderstandings. I get that Veronica Roth is making theirs a troubled wartime romance but it doesn't work for me.
+ GLASSES DON'T MAKE YOU SMART. All of Erudite wear glasses because it's a marker of intelligence? What a terrible stereotype. Then again, all factions are ridiculously filled with personality stereotypes - the Dauntless are adrenaline junkies and meatheads, the Abnegation are giving to the point that it destroys them, the Amity are hippie eco-warriors who make flower crowns and are painfully neutral, et cetera.
+ Did you know Lynn was in love with Marlene? Or that she was a lesbian? Of course, the book waits until LYNN IS DYING to tell us this. That is just BS. That is a cowardly way to introduce LGBT characters into a book - outing them in their dying breath. Queer characters do not exist as canon fodder to make your tragically heterosexual characters more traumatized and sad. Naturally, at this point, Lynn is the only confirmed queer character in the series and she's dead. Uggggggggh.
+ The Caleb Is a Traitor reveal was so obvious, but this book tried to act like it was a big surprise. Listen, you can't continually drop red flags into Caleb's scenes then pretend his Erudite leanings are a major plot twist. I was kind of hoping Roth would flip the script and it would be someone else but nope, it was Caleb. Luckily, Caleb always felt underdeveloped to me, so seeing him go rogue wasn't a huge loss.
+ Factions are stupid. Factions are stupid. FACTIONS ARE STUPID.
+ The shocking twist at the end of INSURGENT was just . . . I have no words, except WHO THOUGHT THIS SYSTEM OF GOVERNANCE WAS A GOOD IDEA, HOW DID NO ONE SEE THAT IT WOULD LEAD TO MORE PAIN AND UPSET THAN ANYTHING ELSE.
I'm still going to read the final book, though. The library already has it in transit for me. It will be a relief to finish this series and put it behind me.(less)