Book Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Title: Insurgent
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: YA dystopian fiction
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Source: Print copy from my personal library
First line: I wake with his name in my mouth.

Goodreads blurb: One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

Veronica Roth certainly knows how to write a page-turner! Insurgent starts right where Divergent left off, and pulls the reader on a page-turning, hardly-a-moment-to-breathe journey to the end – which is satisfying and leaves you wishing there wasn’t a year or more until book three. In fact, the ending is ironic in a truly horrifying way, and I wish more people had finished it so I could talk to them about it!

There is also more character development in this book than in the first one, something that I really appreciate. As Tris and Tobias’s relationship develops, the reader sees how almost impossible it would be to be in love amidst their circumstances. That fact makes their feelings for each other even more powerful. Of course, their romantic path is full of terrible obstacles, some of them created by the secrets they are keeping from each other.

Like Suzanne Collins did so deftly in Mockingjay, Roth shows that in a revolution, things are never as black and white as they seem. The characters in Insurgent all have very personal reasons for wanting the revolution to succeed, and personal often trumps ideological, leading to needless suffering and loss of things that may be of value. The ending, especially, highlights this in a shocking way – and I can’t wait to read book three.

Now, after reading that gushing review, you may be wondering why I didn’t give Insurgent a five-star rating. I’m going to be vague in my explanation, so that I don’t give away any major plot points. In the last 100 pages of the book, there is a major continuity/consistency error. At first, I thought I had misread or misunderstood something, but after turning back six or seven pages and rereading – twice – I came to the conclusion that this was something that was missed in the editing stages. It pulled me out of the story so abruptly that I put the book aside and did some Googling to see if anyone else had noticed it.

I came across a post by the author that acknowledges it, explaining that she had written several drafts back to back, and edited several drafts back to back, and so it slipped through. I’m glad to see that she realizes it – but I am confused as to why there were so many comments on her post from readers saying that they didn’t notice any errors. I’m not a particularly careful reader – I don’t think – but this was a pretty blaring inconsistency that had to do with a major personality issue of a major character. It’s unfortunate that, in all of the various stages of editing, it was missed.

The publishing phenomenon of the YA series is huge, and readers don’t want to wait long between books. I know I don’t! But I can’t help but wonder if our impatience and demand for quick sequels could be affecting the quality of said books? Something to think about, I guess.

Bottom line, if you loved Divergent, you’ll enjoy this one, too. And I’ll be curious to hear if you noticed the problem that jumped out at me.

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16 Responses to Book Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

  1. Pam says:

    I didn’t notice. Would you email me? LOL

  2. Kathleen says:

    I haven’t read the first one so I think I’d have to start there. But more importantly, I haven’t read the Hunger Games trilogy and I know I need to start there. You can tell that I am way, way behind!

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Kathleen – that’s okay – I’m not usually so quick to read the new releases!

  3. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread

    My daughter is hogging this book from me right now. She is reading it as part of a lit group at school, but once she is finished I’ll be grabbing it. I’ll be looking for the inconsistency now though. I’m going to ask if my daughter saw it. That is really too bad they didn’t catch it!

  4. Arti
    Twitter: Arti_Ripples

    I admit I haven’t read this series of books before, nor the Hunger Games. Do you think Roth’s series would be turned into movie one of these days? Looks like the dystopia type of genre is very popular nowadays. And, kudos to you about finding the inconsistency … esp. with the author accepting the faults, that means you’re correct in noticing. You sure are a skillful and analytical reader. Good for you. 😉

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Arti – I think I read online somewhere that Divergent has already been optioned for a movie. That doesn’t always mean it will actually make it to the big screen, but like you said, it’s a very popular genre these days!

  5. Trisha
    Twitter: Trish422

    My lazy self still hasn’t read Divergent even though it’s been sitting on my shelves for quite some time.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Trisha – I only read it a couple months ago – I waited quite a while, since I bought the book shortly after it came out. It’s well worth moving to the top of the pile!

  6. Sheila (Book Journey)
    Twitter: bookjourney

    With a little luck I will be reading this one tomorrow! 🙂

  7. Susan says:

    I need to start with the first book, then the second. Thanks for the heads up. Sounds like a page-turner ….

  8. Jamie says:

    Was the continuity error on pg 464 where it read that Tris shot the lock with her gun?

    It definitely took me right of the story to go back and re-read the last few pages as well.

    Here I am now googling to see if anyone else noticed 🙂