Insurgent by Veronica Roth

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Insurgent by Veronica Roth

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Satisfyingly kick-ass sequel to Divergent with great dialogue - a good choice for all fans of action-driven dystopian fiction. Nitpicking readers will notice a plot that hinges on A doesn't tell B about C to the point of stupidity and beyond.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: May 2012
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0007442920

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Insurgent (clever title, you'll see) begins right where Divergent left off. The social structure of Tris's world is beginning to fall apart. After the Erudite simulation attack on the Abnegation, the factions are in disarray. The Dauntless are split - half providing the military muscle for the Erudite and the other half seeking alliances with the other factions. But Amity insist on remaining neutral in the hopes of avoiding further conflict and the Candor don't have anything to bargain with, so submit to Erudite demands. The few remaining Abnegation are refugees. But there is another group - the factionless - who may hold the key to defeating the Erudite.

Tris, grieving for the loss of her parents, must pick her way through these shifting alliances if she is to survive as a Divergent. And she is going to have to make some hard choices, choices that may mean betraying Tobias...

... and so we're set up for the second in Roth's Divergent trilogy, set in a claustrophobic, post-apocalyptic city state in which people are divided into factions dictated by their personality traits.

There's a big reveal at the end, which probably isn't going to be that surprising if you are fan of dystopian novels, but is exceedingly well handled and sets us up nicely for book three. I can imagine hordes of fans anticipating this last episode of the trilogy - Roth has given it wide appeal. The love affair between Tris and Four/Tobias is both sexy and touching and and will melt female hearts aplenty. The action is easily kick-ass enough to appeal to any adrenaline junkie. And the whole faction thing provides not only food for thematic thought, but bores right into what I call teen sect appeal. Kids like to run in a pack and in this series, they can be, or root for, or wear the colours of their chosen faction. Personally, I'd go with the factionless!

But I won't lie to you. The plot hinges, infuriatingly, on people keeping secrets from one another to the point of stupidity and beyond. Some of the minor characters don't behave consistently if it suits the plot that they don't, and Roth moves them around her novel's chessboard in expedient ways that ignore the rules of the game. These things will irritate the more sophisticated reader.

But for those who are happy to take things at face value, Insurgent is a very satisfying sequel to Divergent. It's pacy with some great action sequences. It has a great, courageous and conflicted female central character, a male hero to die for, an interesting dystopian world, and gives pause for thought about human nature and its powerful instincts.

A great choice for all fans of dystopian fiction.

If you haven't read Divergent, start with that. You might also enjoy Slated by Teri Terry, a really interesting dystopian novel about memories, crime and punishment and authoritarianism generally. There's a real sense of menace and the book asks fascinating questions.

A box set of books one to four in the Divergent series is available.

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