Sunday, 13 July 2014
London, HarperCollins, 2012, 525p
Good and evil are never as clearly defined as they first seem. Divergent convinced me that the Dauntless were the best of the factions - the brave and noble warrior types - but Insurgent shows that their aggression comes at a cost, and perhaps we all need a little of every faction to be balanced individuals.
Following the devastation inflicted by the Erudite at the end of the last novel, Tris and the Dauntless find themselves lost and divided - some have allied with the information-hungry Erudite whilst others have gone into hiding, taking refuge with the kind Amity faction. The Amity are reluctant to take sides, but are put in a difficult situation when threatened by the Erudite, knowing full well they are in a dependent situation.
The Dauntless traitors continue to spread the Erudite simulation serum through the other factions, preparing an army of mindless drones. Tris suspects there might be more to the Erudite mission than power - old Abnegation leaders have implied that the Erudite are keeping a secret and that all the factions deserve to know the truth.
Throughout Insurgent, Tris battles with depression - she feels like she has lost everyone she loves and is haunted by guilt over what she did during the heat of battle. Try as he might, Tobias cannot seem to do the right thing, and Tris finds herself building up walls and keeping secrets. Tris could have easily become an annoying, moany character in this novel, but Veronica Roth is a talented and engaging writer who maintains the reader's sympathy during the hardest of times.
I absolutely devoured this book - I was impressed to find that it can be added to that short list of brilliant sequels along with Toy Story 2 and the second Godfather movie. Now the characters are well developed and the direction seems clear, the novel flows at a fast pace, with drama at every turn, and with a complete disregard for conventional the good vs evil dichotomy. Nothing is as it seems.