Emily May's Reviews > Insurgent

Insurgent by Veronica Roth
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Jul 31, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: dystopia-utopia, young-adult, 2012

The size of my disappointment probably has something to do with why I can't bring myself to award this two stars. I know Divergent isn't really a great book, the dystopia makes no sense, the Dauntless are ridiculous people who jump off trains to prove themselves... but, for me, it was still a wildly entertaining read. It was fast-paced, full of action, Tris was delightfully kickass, and the romance between her and Four complemented the main story without overtaking it. Insurgent failed on all of those.

Normally, I might put it down to middle book syndrome and carry on with book three anyway, but not this time. Even though no time passes between the end of the first book and the start of this one, Tris and Tobias/Four feel like completely different characters and this is an inconsistency I can't forgive. Whatever happened to tough Tris who made difficult decisions and put survival above all else? She has disappeared and in her place is a "heroine" quite like the majority of other young adult romantic heroines. Tris is now solely concerned with Tobias and their relationship angst, I lost count of how many pages were filled with their make-out sessions and melodrama.

Tobias also seems to have changed a lot more than his name. I really liked his character in Divergent, I found him to be sweet, kind and a little mysterious (indeed, in this book he was the only mystery). However, he has been replaced by someone who is aggressive, always frowning and frequently yells at Tris. He used to be so cool, even in a crisis - so what the hell happened? I couldn't even begin to believe in a story where the characters had changed so dramatically without logical reason.

Plus, there's also the whopping great fact that nothing actually happens. Okay, so let me be honest, I read the first 300 pages and then I skim-read the rest. So I suppose that it's entirely possible that I missed something really good, it couldn't have saved the novel for me anyway, but I'm just saying that it is possible. In those first 300 pages, though, nothing happens. People sit around talking about their problems and what they should do, Tris repeatedly remembers her parents (I know she's upset, but can't we move on to the current drama?), Tris thinks about Tobias, obsesses about Tobias, worries about Tobias, tries to solve the mystery that is Tobias...

Basically, the first 100 pages go something like:
- Tris and Tobias make out
- Tris thinks about where they should go from here
- Tris and Tobias make out
- Tris and Tobias talk about where they should go from here
- Tris and Tobias make out
- Tris thinks about her parents' deaths
- Tris and Tobias make out

I honestly don't care about their relationship. Maybe I did when I liked their characters, but now I don't even recognise them. It's not even that I doubt Roth has some brilliant ending planned for the third book, it's more that I no longer give a single damn about Tris or Tobias. I didn't even care enough to read this book properly and find out what happens at the end. I think it's clear that this series just died out for me.
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Reading Progress

July 31, 2011 – Shelved
June 10, 2012 – Started Reading
June 10, 2012 –
page 52
9.9% "Could you maybe stop making out for a second and do something interesting?"
June 10, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-50 of 128) (128 new)

message 2: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana Can't say I am surprised to see your rating. The success of this series astonishes me.

Crystal Starr Light I agree, this book is a serious step back from "Divergent". I was pretty disappointed in it.

Winnie Ha! someone had the courage to say it! thank you, I love your review.

Winnie Ha! someone had the courage to say it! thank you, I love your review.

message 6: by Kara (new)

Kara I too am baffled by the success of this series. I barely made it through Divergent - not even going to attempt Insurgent.

message 7: by Lucy (new)

Lucy I only made it to page eighty-something. Then gave up.

message 8: by Jessina (new) - added it

Jessina Nunez i have read the first book and i loved it but i know some books are not for everyone is kinda depending on what you like to read im still gonna put my hands on this no matter how many good reviews or bad reviews are in this book i love dystopian books i think im like this kinda books more.

Emily May I love a good dystopian book too, Jessina, I just think this sequel was more romance than dystopia - unlike Divergent, which I really enjoyed.

Lyddie, it just depends on what you like to read. If you're okay with romantic angst in place of plot development then you probably won't have the same issues I had with Insurgent.

message 10: by Maya (new)

Maya mmh, i was going to try this series ... but since everybody who loved the first one, doesn't like the second ... maybe I'll skip it after all.

Tanja Oh no! I've been looking forward to eventually reading this one... and since I can tell that our views on the first one are very similar... it doesn't bode well for my opinion of this one... *sigh*

Cassie I'm about 75 pages from the end, and I completely agree with your review! Tris has a death wish for almost the entire book which is completely antithetical to her character in Divergent. Plus, she goes on a billion different recon missions without telling anyone and without ARMING herself, so that if she dies (and her only defense is her fists), anything she learns is completely lost.

Personally, I like that she and Tobias are having growing pains with their relationship because she knew nothing about him and I think his character still makes sense, but WAY too much time is devoted to them dithering about each other. I'm over it - that's why I quit the Matched series.

Plus, I could overlook the problems with the world-building before because I thought there was some more explanation of faction history coming and there was enough going on, but Insurgent provides neither explanation nor action to make up for that lack, making everything seem even more ridiculous. Oh well.

message 13: by Jessina (new) - added it

Jessina Nunez i just gotta see for my self because i just wanted to read this books sense i read the first book i guess we will see what happens all the books i been readying lately have not yet disappointing hopefully this one wont

M athue Faulk Completely agree. I haven't been this disappointed in a book since....well, probably Mockingjay. And honestly, I had no intention of reading the 3rd book until the last 10 pages of Insurgent. I'm just too curious about some of the political aspects that I probably won't be able to resist the next book. The only positive is that my expectations won't be near as high for the finale...

message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Whoa! Im am SOOO suprised! This book is almost everyone''s favourite!!

Emily May Samantha, I'm finding a lot of people are disappointed by Insurgent after experiencing so much fast-paced action in Divergent.

Danielle. It's not surprising that everyone's disappointed. I completely agree with the constant make out sessions with Tris and Tobias; also how the characters seemed completely different than the ones we used to love. I'm sorry this disappointed you.

I think everyone agrees Tris was annoying. x) Great review.

Keri (Va-Voom!) I'm sad because I really liked Divergent. I mean, as far as dystopian YA goes. :) I thought it was different and well-written. I read the sample for Insurgent and I don't even want to purchase it to read. :( Oh well. I've now read so many dystopian YA novels that they are starting to run together. When I pick one up and start reading, it feels like deja vu. :)

message 19: by Audrey (new)

Audrey Uh Oh... I have this on hold at the library... total waste of time I am guessing?? :/

message 20: by Emily May (last edited Jun 17, 2012 06:04PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Emily May @Keri It's true that they're all nearly the same these days. However, if you haven't already read it, I would recommend The House of the Scorpion. I put this book off for so long because the title and cover didn't really excite me, but it's very good. I saw Unwind on your favourites shelf and I think if you liked that you'll like House of the Scorpion too :)

Emily May Audrey wrote: "Uh Oh... I have this on hold at the library... total waste of time I am guessing?? :/"

It's hard to tell whether others will be okay with this sequel. I get annoyed easily when romance takes over the plot and characters change dramatically without good reason... but I know plenty of people are still enjoying this series.

Keri (Va-Voom!) Thanks so much for the recommendation. I have that on my list of TBR, so I'll read it sooner rather than later now. :)

Hannah Dieck Wow hard to please much this series is completely enjoyable and your a sinic and a horrible book digester

message 24: by Keri (Va-Voom!) (last edited Jun 19, 2012 08:27PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Keri (Va-Voom!) What? Are you trying to imply that she's a cynic? I don't think not liking a book makes one a cynic. I loved Divergent (even though after reading it and rating it 5 stars, I realized there were some issues with the plot,) but I read the sample of Insurgent and didn't think it was going to be nearly as good. I may still read it, but you need to understand that just because someone doesn't have the same taste in books as you, that does not make them a cynic nor does it make them a "horrible book digester," whatever that may be. Books are art, and art is subjective. That's what makes all art so wonderful. What may be beautiful to you, could easily be ugly to someone else. It's all about perception. Goodreads is a place where we can post our opinions and if you want to have an intelligent debate about those opinions, I suggest you do so in a more polite manner.

Emily May Well said, Keri, and thank you for coming to my defence. Unfortunately, I think it may be wasted on someone who can't spell their own arguments.

message 27: by Mari (new) - added it

Mari nice review although i have not read insurgent.. yet. i liked divergent a lot even with some loopholes.. im thinking i may or may not continue reading just the fact the part 2 of the series is sometimes a make or break for a series..and i dont like that whole romance overtaking the story angle as well and the characters who change for no good reason. ill definitely put that into mind when i do read it.

message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

"Even though no time passes between the end of the first book and the start of this one, Tris and Tobias/Four feel like completely different characters and this is an inconsistency I can't forgive."

A good observation. That troubled me as well, but I hadn't articulated it to myself this clearly.

message 29: by Didi (new) - rated it 2 stars

Didi You seem to have summed it up perfectly for me.

Emily May Thanks Deirdre :)

message 31: by Trudi (new) - rated it 1 star

Trudi Agreed, agreed, sooooo very agreed. Great review Emily. I think the author made promises in Divergent that she just couldn't hold to in the sequel. It's almost like she was starting from scratch a whole new book, it just seemed so disjointed from the original.

"Change" in character didn't strike me so much as complete lack of character development period. There are all these kids running around from different factions but quite honestly, they all could have been the same person. They were such stereotypes of their "faction" no one felt fleshed out to me or real. I couldn't worry or feel anything for any of them. And the villains are comic book evil. No nuance or subtlety or all. They might as well have been going around mwah-ha-ha'ing all over the place.

And Tris and Tobias??? Paaaaain-ful. All that bickering and angst amidst make-out sessions. And then Tris on her melodramatic suicide missions. I wanted to pull my hair out and smack her. I never wanted to do that in Divergent.

And you're right: essentially NOTHING happens. Five hundred pages to move the story arc forward barely a millimeter in the last five pages. Arrghhhhhhhh!!!!

Emily May Thanks Trudi! And I agree, the characters were just all over the place and underdeveloped in comparison with Divergent. It was just so hard to care enough to want to read book 3, I do wonder though if Roth is the kind of author that had a great beginning and end to her story but struggled with the middle... which could mean that the final installment will be good. Unfortunately, I doubt I'll choose to find out.

Emily May Thanks for your comment, Chloe, it's so sad when a sequel disappoints :( I do hope it will get better for you.

Jillian Disagree... LOVED both books :) Cant wait for the third!

message 35: by Clinton (last edited Jan 11, 2013 08:29AM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Clinton Well i guess I wont be reading this one. I thought Divergent was an barely average book and if this book is even worst then ill just have to skip it. It sucks i already bought it, so i might have to read it one day anyway.

Ariel Oh man, I'm glad to hear I wasn't the only one dissatisfied. The first definitely caught my attention - though for reasons you mentioned, it's not the most solid concept - and I was really looking forward to it.

You got the book right, with one exception:
- Tris and Tobias make out
- Tobias is an ass and Tris sulks
- For every new character, there is another character death in an action/fight scene.

Seriously. This drove me crazy, and reminded me a bit of the very end of Mockingjay where Ms. Collins got a little kill-happy. But it got to the point where people died so often, I was unsure if she'd even have characters left for the final book.

I'm not a fan of character death in general, but I understand its need in stories, especially something like this where it's a war/revolution and people do die. But what about some dire injuries? Losing use of a limb, or an eye? Being so weak and wounded that they're bedridden? It really got to me.

Leena I completely agree. loved the first book but the second book is just not doing it for me. I'm more than half way done with the book and nothing has happened yet.

message 38: by Thy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Thy I feel you, ooh jeezzz... Tris acted stupidly in almost every situation -.- i still don't understand how an author can change/destroy an character in that kind of way... I wanted to smash that book on my wall and put it on fire :( i was so angry about myself, because i was too, very excited about book two, and after i came to the end... My body screamt for destruction baah.. Nevertheless, thnx for the review! Btw i really like your reviews :)

message 39: by Troy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Troy Divergent was a quick, sort of mindless read, which I need from time to time. So, I thought I'd read Insurgent to break up my laborious attempt at reading Carlos Ruiz's Shadow of the Wind in Spanish. But I find myselg trudging through Insurgent even more slowly than Ruiz in Spanish. I may have to just let it go.

Emily May @Thy Thanks! I'm sorry to hear it was a disappointment for you too :/

@Troy I agree completely. Divergent wasn't amazing but it was a lot of fun, it's so sad that this sequel failed to deliver that.

Jillian I loved it and I think it was a good "middle installment" of this trilogy. It sets the premise for an interesting ending.

message 42: by Troy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Troy Jillian wrote: "I loved it and I think it was a good "middle installment" of this trilogy. It sets the premise for an interesting ending."

I haven't given up yet, @Jillian . Maybe I'll change my tune once i've finished.

message 43: by Samantha (new)

Samantha LoCicero I completely agree! Normally it would take me over the course of 3-4 days to read a book of this size. Insurgent has taken me weeks due to the fact I just can't force myself through it. It's awful. I was reading other reviews on here about the book, and since I really liked Divergent I figured I'd give it a shot. You're right about the characters becoming totally different people. I'm gonna stick it out until the end, however. Just to see if it gets any better for book three.

Emily May You'll have to let me know how it goes, Samantha. I really liked Divergent so I'd like to hear how the story ends, even if I can't bring myself to read it :)

message 45: by Samantha (new)

Samantha LoCicero Emily May wrote: "You'll have to let me know how it goes, Samantha. I really liked Divergent so I'd like to hear how the story ends, even if I can't bring myself to read it :)"

I finished it quite a few weeks ago and honestly, the end was worth all the suffering through to get to. I'm SO excited for Allegiant now!

Alice I disagree

message 47: by Samantha (new)

Samantha LoCicero Alice wrote: "I disagree"
With what part?

message 48: by Reed (new) - added it

Reed Morrison God your a hard maker!
I respect that... I need someone who will tell the truth about her feelings of the book!

shady boots | #TeamMizCracker I unliked this review just to like it again.

Rachel  (APCB Reviews) Oh my gosh it was just your birthday recently! Happy Birthday Emily!!!

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