Crystal Starr Light's Reviews > Insurgent

Insurgent by Veronica Roth
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Beatrice ‘Tris’ Prior is on the run after the Dauntless, under the influence of Erudite simulation serum (get used to reading those two words A LOT), attack Abnegation. Along with Four and a few of their friends/family, they flee to Amity and seek shelter. From that point on, Tris then tours all the other Factions, learns that there is a Super Duper Secret that Erudite is now in possession of that could Doom The World As We Know It, and tries to deal with the ending of the last book and her relationship drama with Four.

WARNING: MILD SPOILERS to the ending of “Divergent”! Proceed with caution!


+ There STILL is absolutely, positively NO ROMANTIC TRIANGLE! Many authors of trilogies, if they didn’t include a secondary romantic interest in Book 1, choose Book 2 to throw in another Love Interest. Not Roth. Instead of muddying the waters, she focuses on Four and Tris and the many hardships they already have—such as trusting each other, leaning on each other, and working as a team.

+ Interesting characters. Tris spends some time mourning her parents and coming to grips with what she did to Will. Could she have saved him? Couldn’t she have just shot his arm? Also, when Four tries to boss her around and bully her about her secrets, she throws it right back in his face, tells him he hasn’t been honest with her, and that if he can’t trust her, maybe he has lied when he said how much he loved her. It’s encouraging to see a teenaged girl be so vocal about her opinions and steadfast. Other characters are fairly interesting as well: Marcus, Johanna, Tori, Uriah, etc.

+ The hint of religious differences between Factions. Tris stumbles upon an Amity religious ceremony and hints that they worship the God of Peace, while when she was Abnegation she worshipped the God of Selflessness. Very interesting to see these differences and would have loved to see more.

+ The last 150 pages are INTENSE.

+ This book is about making tough decisions, doing the right thing, and learning that life isn’t black and white.

+ It is a dystopia.


+ World building STILL makes no sense—in fact, based on the ending of this book, I have NO CLUE why this world was ever set up and run for as long as it had. How are people able to be sorted into groups? How are these groups determined? Is it all peace serums like hinted at when Tris stays with the Amity? Why aren’t the Divergent affected by simulations and serums? How do they know they aren’t in simulations (other than by guesswork)?

+ Much of the story seems to be people running from faction to faction, with little thread tying them together. The action is good, don’t get me wrong, but having a string of action sequences with little to bind them together is just not my cup of tea. And based on where Tris and Four end up (back at Dauntless HQ), WHY THE FRAK did they bother going to Amity then the Factionless then Candor? The whole thing felt POINTLESS.

+ Romantic DRAMAZ! “Divergent” kept the romance in the background, for the most part, and it felt pretty organic. Here, the romance has been upgraded and makes up a good part of the story. It felt somewhat like a betrayal of what the series started out as.

+ Why the frak is Tris the protagonist? I’ve heard comparisons between this book and “Mockingjay”, and I understand completely why this comparison is made. For much of this book, Tris does nothing more than mope around, feel sorry for herself, or get into romantic spats with Four. Until the last 100 pages or so, she doesn’t really even DO anything. She isn’t one of the Dauntless leaders, she doesn’t negotiate with the Factionless. In fact, on several occasions, she has to be saved (including a pointless torture sequence). Back from “Divergent”, I said:

“Beatrice, on the other hand, is just another cog in the wheel. Yes, she does save Dauntless from being wiped out, but it is unclear why we are following her story, as she seems to react instead of act. Perhaps future books will explain what Divergence is and what makes Beatrice so special, but in this book, I was left wondering why Beatrice and why not, say, her mother.”

I was hoping that “Insurgent” would really boost up Tris’ importance, show us WHY we were following her, what her importance was, but it did not; in fact, in many ways, I think it worse than “Divergent”. In many ways, the logical protagonist should have been Four, who is way more active in the story than Tris.

+ More about Tris. My God, she’s inconsistent. What does the girl ever do that is truly selfless (and not stupidly reckless)? How does she demonstrate her Erudite ability? Is every other faction filled with morons that can’t put two and two together? Does the girl WANT every Erudite dead or not? If that was a personal conflict, I certainly didn’t feel it. Does this girl have a death wish? Because most of her “acts of bravery/selflessness/heroism” smart more of someone who has a death wish than someone who is brave/selfless.

+ Four is a jerk. Sorry, but hiding major secrets from your girlfriend about your mother then whining when she reveals she killed someone is NOT sexy. How about instead of jamming that plank further into your eye as you try to bludgeon the speck out of hers, you sit down and f@#$ing listen as she mourns or comfort her? Not possible? Move along!

+ Five Factions do not compute—at least to me. This is going to be VERY subjective. Some people will see how the Amity or Candor are portrayed and go, “Yup, that is EXACTLY how I would expect a society that embraces peace or truth or learning to act”. I am not that person. I’ll buy that the Factions true virtues have been deteriorated—such as Dauntless believing “stupid acts of carelessness” and “swinging around a gun” qualifies for bravery. But Erudite wearing glasses because it looks smart? Candor using truth serums to get the truth out of people?

+ Where is the nuance? For much of the book, the Dauntless that side with Erudite are traitors (in fact, they are ALWAYS “Dauntless traitors”). Erudite are all bad and irredeemable. For a book that is about being different and embracing those differences, I don’t get much of that from the conflict.

+ So many characters! *whispers* Veronica, if you are reading this, here is one tip I would love to see in the next book. I’m okay if you don’t recap (though it was hard to remember the events I read last year), but PLEASE include a Character List, including what Faction each person started as and what Faction each person ended up. Because that was a HUGE part of this book, and, to be honest, I barely remembered any of the characters and any of the connections.

+ "I do not think that word means what you think it means." "Serum". "Simulation". "Traitor". Go back and read those words about 800 more times. That's how many times they appear in this book. Any substance that puts a person out is a "serum" that sends them into a "simulation". Not a "drug" that knocks them "unconscious". Not a "potion" or a "smoke bomb" or "nerve gas". No, it's a "serum" and "simulation". Anyone aligned with the Erudite who is not Erudite is a "traitor". It's not "Erudite-aligned Dauntless guards" or "blue-tagged Dauntless". It's always "Dauntless traitor guards" or "Dauntless traitor".

+ The end. After reading the Big Reveal at the end, I thought my brain would explode. It just doesn’t make sense to me. (view spoiler)

I really hate writing a such a negative review for this book. I really wanted to adore this book to pieces; Veronica Roth seems like a super amazing lady (I've looked at her blog a couple of times), and she has some really good ideas. Not to mention, I've recommended "Divergent" numerous times to people despite my rather lackluster review of it. Sure, in "Insurgent", the end does perk things up (even as it asks a bajillion more questions), and this is not the worst book I’ve ever read, but at the end of the day, I can't deny how disappointed I was when I finished this book. I’m going to continue with the series, but I can’t help feeling a little deflated.

(I think I'm going to rate this 2 stars, to show my disappointment from the first book, though this isn't the worst book I've read. Who knows, maybe in a couple of days, I'll change my mind?)

Dialogue/Sexual Situations/Violence:
Very mild.
Four and Tris share several intimate scenes.
Tris is captured and tortured. She is almost killed. There is quite a bit of shooting and running, and several characters die in the course of the novel. Nothing is too graphic, but blood is occasionally mentioned.
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Reading Progress

February 5, 2012 – Shelved
February 5, 2012 – Shelved as: dystopia
February 5, 2012 – Shelved as: young-adult
May 14, 2012 – Started Reading
May 14, 2012 –
page 13
2.48% "Yay for finally starting this! Now let's hope I remember enough of Divergent. LOL!"
May 14, 2012 –
page 33
6.29% ""The truth has a way of changing a person's plans.""
May 15, 2012 –
page 67
12.76% "I am really starting to think that how much you like this book will depend A) on how much you can believe that a government would divide a society into 5 factions and B) whether you agree with Roth on how those factions would interpret their virtue. Because I am having to tell myself to shut up when I think too hard about how Amity should act."
May 15, 2012 –
page 102
May 21, 2012 –
page 135
25.71% "A lot is happening, but I don't feel a purpose, a focus, a reason for it to happen other than "TRUTH SERUM! Chase scene! ANGST!""
May 22, 2012 –
page 169
32.19% ""No matter how long you train someone to be brave, you never know if they are or not until something real happens." Truest words in the book so far."
May 22, 2012 –
page 173
32.95% ""I think the mistake the Dauntless make is refusing to be cunning. You don't always have to smack people in the face with how strong you are." *GASP* Another sensible statement!! Too bad most of the characters don't seem to abide by this good advise."
May 23, 2012 –
page 177
33.71% "It is OKAY if you stop the action for more than a chapter to focus on developing some plot beyond "OMG, my boyfriend hates me!" I will NOT mind."
May 24, 2012 –
page 196
37.33% "How is Tris Abnegation? What does she do that is self-less? I hate to keep over thinking this, but when characters talk about her selflessness, I want to know what I am missing."
May 25, 2012 –
page 224
42.67% "Words I never want to read again: simulation and serum"
May 25, 2012 –
page 271
51.62% "For once, this is not a status update complaining about factions. Instead, it's me complaining about how black and white things are. Erudite = Bad. Dauntless that side with Erudite = Traitors. What happened to nuance? What happened to seeing two sides of the same coin? Why couldn't BOTH factions be right in their own ways?"
May 29, 2012 –
page 290
55.24% "I feel like nothing in the last almost 300 pages has really accomplished anything. Even in "Divergent", I felt there was a purpose. And this book ought to be told from Four's POV; he seems to be more vital to the story than Tris!"
May 29, 2012 –
page 305
58.1% ""If this were Abnegation, no Divergent would he sitting here right now." No, because being Divergent means you aren't just Abnegation, you'd be Erudite (Logic) or Dauntless (brave) or Candor (truth)."
May 30, 2012 –
page 358
68.19% "At least something is finally happening...but when did you get so stupid, Tris?"
May 30, 2012 –
page 366
69.71% "OMG does Tris do ANYTHING in this book or is it all about Four and his wonderful plans??!!??"
May 30, 2012 –
page 376
71.62% "So the ONLY REASON Tris knew it was a simulation (God, I hate that word!) is because Four grabbed the wrong arm? So if he hadn't grabbed the wrong arm, then she wouldn't have known she was in a simulation? Well, that's a bit lackluster of a skill for a Divergent. I was kinda hoping the image would be fuzzy or she could see the outside world. Or something that would pinpoint it wasn't real."
May 30, 2012 –
page 401
76.38% "And Tris had to be rescued. Poo."
May 30, 2012 –
page 420
May 31, 2012 –
page 432
82.29% "And another action scene. There must be about 100 in this book. Too bad there isn't more flow from one scene to the next."
June 1, 2012 –
page 470
89.52% "So WHY does Tris have to keep this attack super secret? Wouldn't the others like to know so they could be a diversion? Oh, Right, we need more Tris/Four DRAMA!!!"
June 1, 2012 – Finished Reading
August 16, 2012 – Shelved as: idiot-protagonist
September 27, 2013 – Shelved as: what-the-hell-did-i-just-read
September 27, 2013 – Shelved as: so-boring-it-s-boring
September 27, 2013 – Shelved as: don-t-quit-your-day-job
October 18, 2013 – Shelved as: massive-disappointment
October 25, 2013 – Shelved as: fauxtopia
April 4, 2014 – Shelved as: editor-wanted
June 3, 2014 – Shelved as: big-heap-of-meh
June 3, 2014 – Shelved as: i-should-know-better
June 3, 2014 – Shelved as: sick-to-death-of-seeing-this-book

Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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Ferdy I'm still trying to read this but finding it so annoying..the more info we get on the factions, how their society works, the personalities of the characters the more I'm finding it hard to's all so ridiculous:(

message 2: by Yael (new) - rated it 1 star

Yael Itamar The whole book could be summarized like this:

Tris and Four = soap opera
secondary characters = expendable
villains = what do you mean, "evil" isn't a personality?
technology = overly convenient and ridiculous
premise = shut up and go with it

Crystal Starr Light Ferdy wrote: "the more info we get on the factions, how their society works, the personalities of the characters the more I'm finding it hard to's all so ridiculous:( "

Same with me! In the beginning of this book, I had a particularly hard time. Every time a Faction would do something that was very "Faction-like", I would stop and go, "Uh, really?"

Yael wrote: "Tris and Four = soap opera
secondary characters = expendable
villains = what do you mean, "evil" isn't a personality?
technology = overly convenient and ridiculous
premise = shut up and go with it "

LOL, I think my favorite one is "villains = what do you mean, "evil" isn't a personality?"!! Jeanine was such a silly villain. I think Roth tried to make her not such a mustache-twirling villain, but the torture sequences really smarted of classic Bond-villain!

I didn't mention it in my review, but did anyone else think that Candor NOT shooting the Erudite-disguised Dauntless crawling between buildings on a ladder was dumb? They didn't look up and notice a bunch of people getting into Erudite HQ until Fernando almost fell?? Really?

Ferdy Finally finished, it felt like such a chore and I hate how everything was black and white when it came to characters actions and personalities..the ending was a bit more entertaining but the 'big secret' was disappointing.
I hate Four/Tobias soo much, I can't believe the way he treated Tris after having so recently watching her parents die brutally and coping with killing a friend..instead of being supportive and kind all he did was berate her, judge her and lie to her..Even when she apologised he still didnt accept her apology and he just made an already depressed, suicidal and vunreable girl feel worse..ugh..and it annoyed me that he didn't apologise for keeping secrets yet Tris did and she just accepted that she did something wrong yet didn't expect him to apologize for keeping things from her..and then at the end when he does give a lame two sentance apology for not trusting her he gets forgiven straight away..she should have made him suffer like he did her.
I hate these effing YA books where the guy acts all cold and dick-ish for ages for some imagined slight and then treats the heroine like dirt..and then when the guy gives a rubbish apology the heroines just forgives them instantly because their just grateful that their not been treated like crap. And looking at reviews most readers seem to be happy with this because apparently even if a guy acts like a huge douche it's all forgiven and forgotten because he's 'soo hawt' and becuase the guys says he loves her at the end so that makes all his past actions and behaviour excusable.
These authors are starting to make me sick in the way they potray relationships. I'm certain most of these authors are really writing their own fanfic about their teenage years..where their a natural beauty who's strong yet feminine, who's selfless and who's forgiveness and compassion makes them oh so desirable, who gets the bad boy everyone wants but who's previously never wanted to be a one girl kind of guy, all the other girls are sluts or not as good as the heroine..I strongly suspect that this is their way of coping with being unpopular at school, and having an unrequited crush on the best looking guy and hating all the popular girls for not including them in their hectic social's like their living vicariously through their heroines and their books are their second chance at school.

Crystal Starr Light Ferdy wrote: "Finally finished, it felt like such a chore and I hate how everything was black and white when it came to characters actions and personalities..the ending was a bit more entertaining but the 'big secret' was disappointing.
I hate Four/Tobias soo much"

Yeah, what was with the black/white thing? I mean, the whole point of being Divergent was to see outside your faction, right? So why the "Erudite = Bad Guy"?

As for the Four/Tris dynamic...ugh. I actually liked them in "Divergent" because they WEREN'T THAT couple you see so often in YA. Their romance didn't dominate the story (one of the things I didn't like about "Insurgent"). They met and fell in love in a fairly natural, casual, not overdramatic way.

And then we have "Insurgent". The one where Tris acts like an idiot, Four whines about Tris acting like an idiot (a la Edward Cullen) and b!tches about her hiding secrets, and Tris takes it all with nary a complaint to HIS HUGE secrets. NOT ACCEPTABLE.

In my opinion, Tris handles it better than 99% of other YA heroines. At least she actually talks back to Four on a few occasions (I found this really awesome quote about him trusting her...maybe I need to post it, if I can find it again). However, that doesn't mean that the off-balanced relationship is acceptable.

Four does NOT own Tris; instead of whining about the secrets she's kept, he ought to be comforting her over her loss (I mean, she hid Will's death because it hurt so bad!). Instead of making excuses for his own behavior or leaving Tris out, he ought to be treating her like an equal partner in their relationship. But I guess expecting equality in a dating relationship is expecting too much *snort*

message 6: by Ferdy (last edited Jun 04, 2012 11:20AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ferdy The factions were just ridiculous..I was able to overlook it in the first book but with this one I couldn't buy into the's just an impossible premise..if Tris and co weren't human and were a completely different species I could believe in the whole black and white faction system..but even the most boring and shallow humans have a range of emotions and beliefs. People don't have it in them to always be 100% selfless or brave or honest or peaceful or studious..humans are full of contradictions and suprises.. noone is constant.
I liked Tris calling Four out on his beahviour but I was pissed that she forgave him staright away after everything he did.. I hated his stupid excuse that he just needed reminding again of who she was..really?? he needed reminding of who Tris was when it'd been no more than a week or two when she chose to save his life over hers and when she also chose to sacrifice herself for all the does that mean Tris is going to have to make grand gestures every week so he doesn't forget who she is. Four/Tobias was a weak hero.
I agree Tris is better than most YA heroines but I think she should have dumped him for being a rubbish boyfriend.. If 2 members of my family had been violently killed in front of my eyes and then I'd had my boyfriend bitching at me a mere few days later I'd tell him to piss off and I'd never look back..because like most girls in the real world I'd know I'm worth more than that.

Crystal Starr Light The Factions and their single-mindedness continues to be a tripping point to me.

What makes fantasy or scifi or any book really work is its Willing Suspension of Disbelief. I agree to ignore the facts if the author at least gives a semi-plausible reason for the events in the book. I don't need scientific abstracts or major papers, just a simple explanation of what is going on.

The problem occurs when you ask someone to just believe that the human condition is vastly different from what people normally experience without explaining why. If Roth had said that these people were genetically engineered to adhere to one virtue, or if they were aliens, or if they were being drugged, I would then be able to believe that yes, you could have a society where people are put into strict categories for their Faction and that people who have more than one virtue are special.

But Roth didn't do that. She just made up a society and then ran with it. How am I supposed to believe Divergent are so special, when 100% of the people I meet would fall into multiple Factions? And also, how does it make sense for a society to be composed of these Factions, but teenagers choose what Faction to join when they are 16? Factions aren't genetically inherited, and also, it seems to be inviting loads of conflict (between family loyalty and Faction loyalty).

I think it would be absolutely awesome to have a book where a MC (such as Tris) completely dumped her loser boyfriend (such as Four) for being a d!ck. Why can't YA books do that more???

message 8: by Iset (new)

Iset Oh you are so right, that's just what I've been saying for years. Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote that the onus for willing suspension of disbelief fell on the writer, not the reader.

Ferdy Crystal Starr Light wrote: "The Factions and their single-mindedness continues to be a tripping point to me.

What makes fantasy or scifi or any book really work is its Willing Suspension of Disbelief. I agree to ignore the ..."'s easier for me to believe in aliens, magic, werewolves and vampires than this..Roth creates an impossible society..humans would never have just one defining's nonesensical. Even though I didn't like this I'm curious to see how it ends..I won't be wasting my money on the series though..I'll prob just flick through at the library or borrow from a friend.
I can't wait for the day a YA author is brave enough to have the heroine dump the main male love interest for being a douche and a half..and then have the heroine end up playing the field and shock, horror acting like a normal teenage girl who wants to explore her sexuality and is not longing to find true love at age 16/17 or 18.

message 10: by Lee (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lee Coleman great review. your negative points were spot on. i never thought about it until i read your review, but it is curious tris is the MC and not four. i am in total agreement with the constant overuse of serum, simulation, and dauntless traitor. i was laughing out loud to see a review point that out.

Crystal Starr Light Aw, thank you!! It was so weird to have Tris be the MC when she does so little - Four is so much more of a leader. And I got soooooo tired of reading the words serum, simulations and Dauntless Traitors!! :)

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