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Insurgent - Veronica Roth NOTE: If you really do not want to know the ending, then please do not read this review, as the ending was the only thing worth talking about.

ACTUAL RATING: 2.5 stars

Sentence: I sentence Veronica Roth to a glass case of emotion.


Review: As per usual, Roth decided to keep Tris rather numb and robotic. It is hard to connect with her when she finds sobbing uncomfortable and too much display of emotion inappropriate. There is also an awful lot of "feeling nothing", when there should be empathy* or at least a reaction.

Unfortunately, even reading from Tris' perspective does not help her case. She has very few thought processes that we actually see and many of them include her shooting Will, which I appreciated. Of course she's basically scarred for life from shooting someone.

As a result, Tris is really into the Dauntless lifestyle and is having trouble communicating with Tobias. And they have some dumb fights where nothing basically gets said or done. The theme of this entire sequel, apparently.

There is talk of Tris getting this important info from Marcus and more talk about joining the factionless/it being a legitimate idea because Candor and Amity will not help. It just took 400 pages for it to happen, naturally.

Tris gives herself up to the Erudite and Jeanine, as expected, to be experimented on and learn more about her brain. She is apparently capable of more complex decision-making, and driven not by rewards, but her own self-sacrificing reasons and empathy*. The complex decision-making I saw throughout the series, but the empathy? I think it's more a lack of caring about differences and all that. She can't even empathize with herself. Not until she is going nuts, Caleb has betrayed her and she has no family left, and is about to die.

The last ten chapters of the sequel are actually where the story's at, if readers are finding a bit of a lull in the plot. This is where Marcus reveals the secret has to do with the Divergent (big surprise there) and something "outside the fence" (if you are even the slightest bit clever you will start to get a very placed and fake feeling about everything--especially since Marcus basically says what the deal is). It's like the frakking Truman Show, but they are left to their own.

Sure enough, a prior Prior reveals that they were placed in this playground of life to resolve the human nature to destroy and pit themselves against each other, beginning with the emergence of the Divergent (oh, so they are important then?). Predictably, the factionless turned on their factioned partners in order to eliminate society as it is and create anew (not really sure how Tobias didn't see that coming).

Chaos likely ensues.

What I Actually Liked:

The thought that Tris might just have a uni-brow, when Christina tried to introduce her to tweezers.

Uriah, Zeke and that little Dauntless crew (even Shauna) are actually pretty much hilarious and have unique personalities. They are the only characters Roth created that are worth feeling for.

Roth finally acknowledged that the remnants of Chicago are clearly not the only things left in the world. I pointed this out in my review of Divergent, claiming that I could not appreciate a post-apocalyptic/dystopian teen book that doesn't look at the bigger picture. I guess I got what I asked for.

Tris finally standing up for herself at the Erudite building rather than lying and then doing something behind Tobias' back anyway (although that is how it began).

Marcus is fairly complex as well. On the one hand, he is an abusive asshole that deserves a horrible death, but on the other, I see his charm. Which reminds me, he sort of disappeared at the end and I cannot recall if Roth said he was dead or escaped...

I am not going to talk about what I disliked, because then I'd be really ragging on this book (don't even get me started on all the contradictions in this book e.g. Tris afraid she would cry and then two paragraphs later is "not feeling anything"; Tris choosing not to be a Dauntless leader because she is Divergent, but Tobias is apparently allowed to be a Dauntless leader, etc.). Take the good stuff, because that's as nice as I'm going to get about this.

All I will say to ever "encourage" reading this is that if readers really liked Divergent, then they will like Insurgent less because they probably liked the former for a) swoon-worthy romance, b) personality division and categorization via faction, c) adult-less and lack of responsibilities of the Dauntless division. There is much to be desired in Tobias' and Tris' relationship; factions are mixing and the factionless are increasing; and there are more responsibilities and nagging adults (Jack, Marcus and Johanna being among them).

But overall, I could have lived without reading this, not that it irked me or caused me to be indignant like The Selection.