Nataliya's Reviews > Insurgent

Insurgent by Veronica Roth
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it was ok
bookshelves: 2013-reads, the-hype-is-overhyped, i-also-saw-the-film

Uh-oh. Why did I break my promise to myself and read this book?

Was it my curiosity? Well, I need to be more careful. After all, curiosity killed the cat - and I'm a Leo. Uh-oh.

Now I'm afraid that this book may have made me use up a few of my allotted nine lives. O_O
Welcome back to the senseless world of dystopian Chicago where you are only allowed to have one personality trait, which apparently is determined in what seems to be an equivalent of a 5-question multiple choice test. And this ridiculousness is presented very seriously. Let's catch up, shall we?
If you happen to give your seat on a bus to an old lady - well, you must be selfless! Welcome to Abnegation where you can enjoy shapeless clothes and bland food.

If you have ever wondered how stuff works and dared to ask a smart question - welcome to the EEEEvil Educated Erudites Exclusive Establishment! A set of complementary spectacles and a seat at the library are waiting for you!

You frown upon lying? Welcome to candid life of Candor. Enjoy your lie detector tests! Now there's only one answer you can give to the eternal question, "Does this make me look fat?" (and punched in the face you will be, no doubt.)

You are a tree-hugging (or people hugging) hippie? Amity, 'nuff said.

You are a near-suicidal borderline sociopath who loves jumping off moving trains and beat the crap out of people??? Heh-heh. You must be Brainless Dauntless. Enjoy your youth because you'll die young and in true Darwin Awards fashion.


But what if you happen to be a normal person with more than one personality trait? What if you are a tree-hugging gardening-loving hippie who helps old ladies cross the street while being able to truthfully recite 34 decimal digits of pi??????

HIGH ALERT!!!! YOU ARE DIVERGENT!!! THE HORROR!!! YOU ARE SOMEHOW SPECIAL!!! DANGER TO THE SOCIETY!!! RUN AND HIDE!!!!



This how we left things in Divergent that for all its flaws was quite entertaining. Now we're moving on to Insurgent where ridiculous overpowers the fun amidst nothing happening.

We start with our lovely heroine Tris, recently tortured and shot in the shoulder after which she lost quite a bit of blood - right away easily jumping off trains and running around like the invincible little special snowflake she is. When she's not defying basic laws of human physiology, she moons over her boyfriend Tobias, and tries to pull the traditional YA self-sacrificing for the sake of the loved one cliché.
Peripheral characters die left and right in this book - but Tris is not even slowed down by serious physical injuries. It's like she's Superman's long lost cousin.

And how exactly is she so badass? Is it her 'extensive' Dauntless training? I beg to differ.

After a few weeks of haphazard training in the Dauntless compound - the training that appeared to consist of teenagers pummeling each other into pulp, shooting guns and throwing knives without any real instructions, jumping from moving trains, and never actually having time to recover from physical injuries, and playing 'Capture the Flag' - Tris is, of course, a highly trained physical menace.

If that's what makes you so super-fit in this dystopian world, the rest of them must be so deconditioned they fall over from just walking.

Dauntless training: Left: what we are expected to believe it is. Right: what it probably looked like the entire time.

Seriously, all the training happened in the previous book. This one really presents Tris as an accomplished badass - again, after a month or so of physical training. Really, book?
-------
Tobias, apparently less than impressed with Tris's special snowflake-ness, spends the majority of this book pouting at her, yelling at her, being bossy, patronizing, dismissive, and full of double standards. In the meantime, Tris spends quite a bit of time swooning over him, while Nataliya spends quite a bit of time perfecting the eye-rolling exercises (my version of Dauntless workouts, using eye muscles only).


-------
And here's the worst thing - in many many many many pages of this book not much of significance ever happens. Seriously.

The rest of the story (the parts not about Tobias and Tris' relationship) consists of contrived yet repetitive situations in this ridiculously constructed world that is completely unsustainable the way it's presented that read like a 12-year-old wrote them. Go to a new compound, meet stupid and selfish/evil/plotting/weak leaders, engage in a confrontation with the Erudites, meet those prejudiced against you, watch a peripheral character die, do something noble, do something reckless, do something selfless, rinse, repeat, pass 'Go', collect some angst points.



Most side characters are so under-developed and one-sided that the idea of the world where people are okay with being defined only by a single quality almost begins to make sense - except I think it's less deliberate planning than poor characterization. Add to this the fact that not much actually happens in this book to meaningfully advance the plot in any way - and you see how this can get juuuuust a bit frustrating.

And the much-talked-about ending? I found it (a) ridiculous and (b) quite predictable - I called it not that far into the book, thinking about the only possible way a world so illogical as this one would ever come into being (and, in all honesty, I watched enough of M. Night Shyamalan's films to jump to the conclusion that is the Big Reveal. Call me nerdy? Well, yeah).
Hey, but at least we get a mention of prefrontal cortex and mirror neurons in the context of pseudo-science of the Erudites here. Neuroscience Made Ridiculously Simple, huh? If things like that are what makes the Erudite seem smart, this world is screwed.
By the way: What did smart people ever do to Veronica Roth? Erudite = Evil gets annoying rather quickly. Why is it that it's the "brave" who are awesome - and all the other qualities appear vastly inferior? Is it because Gryffindor in Harry Potter (another universe that sorted kids by their one defining character trait) housed the brave? Is it because bespectacled kids (the stereotypical 'smart') seem like easy targets on the playground? C'mon, Veronica Roth, smart kids are cool, oh-kay?


Cool smart people. See - I'm not kidding.

Anyway, 2 stars - I feel generous since I had so much fun looking for all the Big Bang Theory images for this review. I still may read the third one because apparently I enjoy torturing myself with eyeroll-worthy books.
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By the way, my review of 'Divergent' is right over here.
And my review of the final book in the series, 'Allegiant', is here.
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Reading Progress

April 9, 2013 – Started Reading
April 9, 2013 – Shelved
April 9, 2013 –
0.0% "I'm not sure why I'm reading this book. Curiosity killed the cat, after all, and I'm a Leo. Well, let's approach this as an experiment - can it live up to the entertaining badness of the first book or will it just be badness? For my sake, I hope for the former."
April 10, 2013 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-50 of 119 (119 new)


message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh my, what a brilliant review. And funny. I love these pictures. Where did you get all these pictures???


Trudi Exactly yes. Epic, EPIC, fail on so many levels. Great review Nataliya.


Nataliya Jocelyn wrote: "Oh my, what a brilliant review. And funny. I love these pictures. Where did you get all these pictures???"

Thanks, Jocelyn :)

Pictures: Google plus Open Office edits = Sheldon happiness. I figured at least using the images from my favorite TV show can make the experience of reviewing the book I disliked slightly more enjoyable. After all, nobody says it like Sheldon Cooper.


Crystal Starr Light I cannot agree with you more; I thought "Divergent" was overall entertaining, although not very extraordinary or ground-breaking. "Insurgent" was just a pain to get through. I felt all the characters regressed and became less likeable, and the plot was basically the repetitive "Go here, meet people, get into trouble".

I'll be reading book 3, but more out of obligation to finish the trilogy and see how Roth ties everything up, not with the excitement I had for this book.

Thanks for a great review!! Loved the Big Bang images :)


Nataliya Crystal Starr Light wrote: "I cannot agree with you more; I thought "Divergent" was overall entertaining, although not very extraordinary or ground-breaking. "Insurgent" was just a pain to get through. I felt all the charac..."

Thanks, Crystal! I wish I had stopped reading this series after the first book (I thought it was not very good but at least it was very entertaining!) but now I will most surely have to finish this trilogy out of sense of obligation - just like you plan to.

Trudi wrote: "Exactly yes. Epic, EPIC, fail on so many levels. Great review Nataliya."

Thanks, Trudi!


message 6: by Henry (new)

Henry Avila My cat does think he's a lion,Nataliya!


Nataliya Henry wrote: "My cat does think he's a lion,Nataliya!"

Haha, and so did every cat that I've ever met ;)


message 8: by Henry (new)

Henry Avila My cat is a guard cat.People are afraid of him!


Sannie Hald I loved the book, but i LOVED your review. this was AWESOME. I can totally see why you have your views.. I personally think that book is somewhat ridiculous now, but i stick to my 5 star review because that was my feeling when i just read it..

but awesome review.


Ferdy Your review was perfect!
It's all so nonsensical and ridiculous and the characters are boring, whiny and hypocortical especially Four/Tobias or whatever the hell he calls himself.. I don't know why so many readers are obsessed with him, he's such a loser. And Tris is just awful.


Scarlet Now we're moving on to Insurgent where ridiculous overpowers the fun amidst nothing happening.

That pretty much sums up the book. Wonderful review, as usual :)


message 12: by Oni (new) - rated it 1 star

Oni You seem to have a tendency to "hurt" yourself. Beware, love can easily turn into hate, and hate into love.


Joanne While I agree with you, especially with the personality choices, I must say that I loved this book. I just really enjoyed it, despite all the 'technical' imperfections

Also I MUST agree that Tris is just pathetic. I seem to be in the minority with most characters, I feel like the only person who hated Katniss for getting in everybody's way...


Mary Nicole You couldn't have said it better.


message 15: by Ema (new)

Ema What a funny review, Nataliya! Humor and intelligence are your best assets! Thanks to your reviews on Divergent series, I will never come near them - I have so many other good books waiting, anyway!


message 16: by Rose (new) - rated it 2 stars

Rose Haha, I suppose I have the same problem because I'm a Leo as well. :) Love your review!


Faye, la Patata Haha, I love this review. It's even better than Insurgent *gets bricked* You're pretty much right-on with all your arguments here. I don't think I'll read the next instalment, no siree!


shanghao Thank you for putting into words what I was too lazy to do! Which btw, do lazy people get automatically thrown to the factionless? Hahaha. Great review, and Sheldon is all of candid, hippie, smart and bold all rolled into one ; )


message 19: by Inge (new) - rated it 2 stars

Inge Made me laugh.


message 20: by Sharon (new) - added it

Sharon "And the much-talked-about ending? I found it (a) ridiculous and (b) quite predictable - I called it not that far into the book, thinking about the only possible way a world so illogical as this one would ever come into being (and, in all honesty, I watched enough of M. Night Shyamalan's films to jump to the conclusion that is the Big Reveal. Call me nerdy? Well, yeah)."

Okay, now you've piqued my interest...is it worth it to go back and attempt to finish? Hmmm, maybe I'll just peek at the ending!
Great review, Nataliya!


~✡~Dαni(ela) ♥ ♂♂ love & semi-colons~✡~ So spot on. After the joke that was the first book, I quickly made a (educated!) decision not to read the second, and I have not wavered. So I congratulate myself after reading this review. 2 stars is generous for this dribble indeed. I suspect the Big Reveal, and I didn't even read the sequel! How, oh how, do these books get published? How am I, as a measly English professor, ever supposed to instill love of Real Literature in my students, when, bang, write Divergent (or, more ghastly, 50 Shades of Grey) and roll in the dough.


message 22: by rameau (new)

rameau Great review. You're a stronger (or stupider if you'd prefer) than I, for I stopped reading after the first book.


Nataliya Thanks for all the praises, all of you :D

Sharon wrote: "Okay, now you've piqued my interest...is it worth it to go back and attempt to finish? Hmmm, maybe I'll just peek at the ending!"

Nah, Sharon, it's not even worth it. The Big Reveal is very underwhelming and makes little sense the way it's presented in this book (which is consistent with the rest of the story making no sense).


message 24: by Sharon (new) - added it

Sharon Nataliya wrote: "Thanks for all the praises, all of you :D

Sharon wrote: "Okay, now you've piqued my interest...is it worth it to go back and attempt to finish? Hmmm, maybe I'll just peek at the ending!"

Nah, Sha..."


Oh, you're such a buzzkill, Nataliya, but thanks for saving my time!


message 25: by Nataliya (last edited Apr 12, 2013 08:21AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Nataliya sanshow wrote: "Great review, and Sheldon is all of candid, hippie, smart and bold all rolled into one ; )"

Dr. Sheldon Copper, PhD hailing from Texas may take offense at you calling him a hippie! And you don't want to be subjected to the wrath of Sheldon - as we know, he's only one lab accident away from becoming a super-villain.

Sharon wrote: "Oh, you're such a buzzkill, Nataliya, but thanks for saving my time!"

Time is precious. I wasted several hours of mine on this book, and now I feel obligated to waste several more on the next one when it comes out - but I want to spare you from having to do the same thing.


message 26: by Maggie (new) - added it

Maggie I have one thing to say: LMAO!


Nataliya Maggie wrote: "I have one thing to say: LMAO!"

Thx, to use an abbreviation ;)


message 28: by Cassy (last edited Apr 14, 2013 05:34PM) (new)

Cassy Great review, Nataliya! I made myself a similar promise to not read this sequel after feeling so-so about Divergent. You have strengthened my resolve!


Nataliya Cassy wrote: "Great review, Nataliya! I made myself a similar promise to not read this sequel after feeling so-so about Divergent. You have strengthen my resolve!"

Thanks, Cassy! I regret having broken my promise, but I guess my suffering through this book can be seen as a warning to others ;)


message 30: by Denise (new)

Denise Stewart "Seriously, all the training happened in the previous book. This one really presents Tris as an accomplished badass - again, after a month or so of physical training. Really, book?"
Ha! I was saying this through most of the first book.
Thank you for reading this book so I don't have to.


Nataliya Denise wrote: ""Seriously, all the training happened in the previous book. This one really presents Tris as an accomplished badass - again, after a month or so of physical training. Really, book?"
Ha! I was sayi..."


You're welcome :) This book had some many ridiculous moments - and this was definitely one of many. The unrealistic hero training in so many books is really annoying - and it definitely not limited to literature; Luke Skywalker did not have to do that much training with Yoda, it seems. But still - would it have killed Roth to (a) include some more realistic training instead of inserting random sequences of barely supervised knife throwing and gun training without any instruction, and (b) make the training period last longer - at least a year, for example?


message 32: by M.A. (new) - rated it 2 stars

M.A. A. Florence Great review. I agree with all your points and also would rate it 2 stars. "Divergent" had potential, but "Insurgent" was boring and unbelievable from start to finish.


Nataliya Melanie wrote: "Great review. I agree with all your points and also would rate it 2 stars. "Divergent" had potential, but "Insurgent" was boring and unbelievable from start to finish."

Thanks, Melanie. I think both 'Divergent' and 'Insurgent' are poorly written and poorly plotted, but 'Divergent' did have the fun entertaining factor going for it while 'Insurgent' just chugged along without event the moments of mindless fun.


message 34: by M.A. (new) - rated it 2 stars

M.A. A. Florence I agree.


мєℓ "The horror..." :)


Nataliya мєℓ wrote: ""The horror..." :)"

Hehe ;)


мєℓ Really enjoy your review.

It was really funny to read, tks for that ;)


message 38: by Lee (new) - rated it 3 stars

Lee Coleman i laughed out loud reading your review. very funny.


Nataliya Lee wrote: "i laughed out loud reading your review. very funny."

Thanks!


message 40: by Danielle (new)

Danielle I pretty much completely agreed with your review of the first book, so I wanted to see what you thought of the second, even though I was pretty much convinced that I wasn't going to read it. Your (freaking hilarious) review was very helpful in cementing that resolve. Thanks!


Nataliya Danielle wrote: "I pretty much completely agreed with your review of the first book, so I wanted to see what you thought of the second, even though I was pretty much convinced that I wasn't going to read it. Your (..."

I wish I could have cemented *my own* resolve to not read the sequels - but I can't help wanting to know how the story ends for some reason.


message 42: by Gloria (new) - added it

Gloria Mundi This makes me glad I gave up after book one. Love love love the Big Bang Theory as well!


Maggi This review is rude!! You people need to get a life!!


message 44: by Nataliya (last edited Jul 03, 2013 03:38PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Nataliya Maggi wrote: "This review is rude!! You people need to get a life!!"

Puh-lease. Me "getting a life" (because apparently I'm dead?) will not make me dislike this awful book any less.

It may make me more like a cat, coming one life closer to having nine.


message 45: by Becky (new)

Becky TRRRRROOOLLLLLLLLLLLLL.

I think Maggie maaaaay be a fake profile. Trust no one with sub 50 ratings...


message 46: by Julia (new)

Julia HAHAHAH! I nearly lost my water reading about the Dauntless and their Darwin Awards. They would take the cake! I have this one on Kindle, but I found the first to be lukewarm. It's certainly not on my "must-read-soon" mental list.

Great review as always, Nataliya! :-)


Nataliya FREEBIRD wrote: "HAHAHAH! I nearly lost my water reading about the Dauntless and their Darwin Awards. They would take the cake! I have this one on Kindle, but I found the first to be lukewarm. It's certainly no..."

Thanks, FREEBIRD! Darwin Awards were on my mind almost non-stop after the introduction of the Dauntless. I kept thinking - but it's not bravery that we see here; it's reckless stupidity aimed at shortening one's lifespan by as much as possible.

Becky wrote: "TRRRRROOOLLLLLLLLLLLLL.

I think Maggie maaaaay be a fake profile. Trust no one with sub 50 ratings..."


Maybe so. Or maybe she's just a person who enjoys being rude to someone on their review space. In any case, that's annoying.


message 48: by Julia (new)

Julia I feel like the point of being Dauntless is to basically have no fear, and every time I think that, I can't help but remember Ned Stark's words:

"A man can only be brave when he is afraid."

WISDOM RIGHT THERE.


Nataliya FREEBIRD wrote: "I feel like the point of being Dauntless is to basically have no fear, and every time I think that, I can't help but remember Ned Stark's words:

"A man can only be brave when he is afraid."

WISDO..."


I agree. Living without fear is stupid since fear serves a great evolutionary role. It may seem attractive superficially, but once you stop to think about it it's clear that having no fear is a handicap. A healthy amount of fear is necessary, I believe, and truly brave people are the ones who have learned to tame it, overcome it, realize the consequences. You are brave if you go against your fears. If you were not afraid in the first place, you cannot be brave.


Chaya Ok I love divergent and insurgent and it breaks my heart that you hate it
But
Chick you are toooo hilarious. So I really don't mind it.
And the review was thorough. You could be a critic and if people don't like your critique being a comedian is always available.


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