Annotation: Following the Erudite-lead attack on Abnegation and her parents’ deaths, Tris and Tobias are on the run from Jeanine Matthews after she and her forces begin to hunt the Divergent. Convinced that there is more to the Erudite attack than simply a grasp for power, Tris tries to uncover the truth about the information that caused Jeanine to murder an entire faction.
Personal thoughts: As a huge fan of Divergent, I was chomping at the bit for the release of the sequel. Although I have to say that I did like the first book more, I did find that Insurgent was still enjoyable, and a successful sequel to the first novel. Probably the largest reason that I preferred Divergent is because Tris seemed a lot more focused. Insurgent had a lot of her being confused, wallowing in self-guilt and trying to figure out just what to do in the wake of the events of the first novel. As I read more of Insurgent, however, I began to see the pieces coming together and am now really looking forward to seeing how Veronica Roth wraps up the story. I think that this series is easily recommended to fans of The Hunger Games who want some really well-written dystopian fare.
Plot summary: Her parents are dead and the Abnegation that weren’t killed in the Erudite-lead attack have gone into hiding. Tris and Tobias are on the run, trying to stay one step ahead of Jeanine Matthews, the brutal Erudite leader, and the Dauntless members that have defected to her side. The more Tris learns about the attack on Abnegation, however, the more she begins to wonder if there was more to it than Jeanine simply wanting to control the other factions. While hiding out in Amity, Tris overhears Marcus, Tobias’ estranged father and a former leader of Abnegation, telling the Amity leader, Johanna, that the Erudite attack was staged to keep the Abnegation from releasing information that would have changed all of the factions forever. Determined to ensure that her parents did not die in vain, Tris decides to discover the truth about the secret that lead Jeanine to murder an entire faction.
Review: Following the success of Veronica Roth’s first novel, Divergent, is no easy feat, but this sequel and second book in the Divergent trilogy, proves to be an effective and entertaining continuation in the story of sixteen-year-old Tris Prior and her life in post-apocalyptic Chicago. The nitty-gritty details of each faction, the choosing ceremony, and initiation are gone, replaced instead by a crumbling society wrought with conflict between factions. The events of Divergent left quite a cliffhanger, and the author does a good job of picking the story up and moving it along quickly. Tris’ struggle to cope with the death of her parents and her forced execution of friend Will in the previous novel permeate Insurgent, as does her struggle to be loyal to Tobias while seeking vengeance for the Erudite-lead attack of Abnegation. Some readers might find this inner-turmoil tedious at times, but, as the plot progresses, it is clear that the author is setting the stage for what is to come in the third novel. Tris is a very admirable leading lady, being motivated by more than her relationship with Tobias in deciding which actions to take. The end of the book, like the first, leaves a very steep cliffhanger that is sure to keep readers eagerly anticipating the third and final novel in the trilogy, which is set to be released in 2013. Overall, Insurgent proves to be an exciting, action-packed, and successful follow-up to Divergent.
Reading level: Grade 8+
Similar titles: Divergent by Veronica Roth, Eve by Anna Carey, The Chemical Garden trilogy by Lauren DeStefano, Legend by Marie Lu, Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, Partials by Dan Wells.
Themes: Dystopian, post-apocalyptic, war, conflict, loyalty, revenge, love.
Awards/Reviews: Starred review from Publishers Weekly, sequel to best-selling novel.
Series Information: Second book in Divergent trilogy. First novel, Divergent, released in 2011.
Discussion questions:- Which novel did you like better: Divergent or Insurgent? Why?
- How do you think Tris has changed since her choosing ceremony in Divergent? Do you think she has become a stronger person?
- Why do you think Tris was having such a difficult time coping with Will’s death?
- Do you agree with Amity’s initial stance in the conflict between Erudite and Abnegation? Why or why not?
- Why do you think Jeanine Matthews and the Erudite were so determined to capture the Divergent?
- Were you surprised by the ending of this novel? What do you think it means for the rest of the story?