Insurgent by Veronica Roth (2012)
Suggested age range: 13 and up
(Katherine Tegen Books, 544 pages)
Rating: 4/5 stars
“ ‘May the peace of God be with you,’ she says, her voice low, ‘even in the midst of trouble.’
‘Why would it?’ I say softly, so no one else can hear. ‘After all I’ve done…’
‘It isn’t about you,’ she says. ‘It is a gift. You cannot earn it, or it ceases to be a gift.’
The above quote takes place toward the end of Insurgent, when Tris is caught in the middle of a religious ceremony while at Amity headquarters; a member of Amity takes her hands and gives her a message. Tris, however, finds it difficult to receive this “peace” the woman talks about.
What I find interesting is the way this passage illuminates Tris’s guilt and reminds the reader of her continual struggle throughout Insurgent over her past actions. Many of her past actions, she feels, she was forced to take, in order to protect those she loves. However, she repeatedly grapples with the consequences of her choices. One question I am asking at the end of the second book: Will Tris be able to find peace by the end of the third?
The sequel to Divergent, Roth’s second novel continues to follow the journey of Beatrice Prior as she grapples with losing her parents, making sacrifices to save those that are dear to her, and searching for the truth behind the chaos that is now her world.
I was not as captivated by Insurgent as I was by Roth’s first novel, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t racing toward the end of the book in order to find out the secret of the information Tris had been asked to retrieve from Erudite headquarters. Though the middle of the novel seemed a bit slow in some parts (or perhaps I was just spoiled by the pace of Divergent!) the last third of the book kept me turning the pages. Like other readers, I’m sure, I was also left wanting to have the third book ready to crack open, as the second novel does end on a bit of a cliff.
Like the first book, Insurgent gives readers a closer look at Tris and her relationship with Tobias as well as with her friends, from both her own faction, Dauntless, as well as others. A word of warning: many people die in the second book. After all, it is war-time. Some of Tris’s friends die. There is violence and blood. However, Tris is a character we want to be safe, and we want to know what her life is going to look like when things become more “normal.”
As with many other contemporary young adult novels currently being published, there are some good conversations that can emerge among readers about government control, corruption, the abuse of power, and the question of “doing something bad” for the “greater good.” Both characterization and themes in this novel provide much room for in-depth and engaging discussions. Roth’s trilogy would be an excellent book club read.
Now, we just have to be patient until the conclusion to the trilogy, Allegiant, is released later this month.