I haven't been able to look it up, but I'm pretty sure my review of Divergent was pretty scathing. The first book in the trilogy was, in my mind, stunted by a leading character who was not reliable and made decisions that just seemed to move the story forward rather than what she would do to fit her. I'll admit, I did not have any desire to finish the series, but I saw a preview for the movie and was surprised how enticing it looked. The movie looked better than I had remembered the book ever being. So I decided to give it another try and read the second book.
Insurgent was a step up. Roth's writing is getting better and better. I really loved the moments between Tris and Tobias. They seemed to be when Roth's writing really sung and flowed smoothly.
This book was entertaining. The storyline is pretty believable. I don't think Jeanine is a really threatening antagonist despite Roth's attempts to paint her as a monster. She's just not seen enough for me to really get a grasp of why she does what she does.
One of the more thrilling scenes that I remember is when one of the characters, under the influence of a simulation serum, jumps to her death off a building. This is a showing point to me and, even though it was an awful scene because of what happened, it showed Tris as a heroine. I was finally able to trust her as the protagonist. Too bad Tobias and others still can't trust her after that.
That being said, the cycle gets tired. Tobias and Tris seem to constantly battle each other. She seems to be constantly trying to prove herself to this guy that supposedly loves her. There are times I just want to smack both of them upside the heads for being so stubborn. I understand stubbornness is a quality that is desired in protagonists these days, especially in YA literature, but so is humility. There needs to be a point when one of them gives in and realizes that they were wrong. I'm still waiting for that moment to come for one of these characters.
So many times in YA literature there is a love triangle. That story gets old. And for some reason it's usually two gorgeous guys with some sort of magical ability who are inexplicably drawn to a very normal, average teenage girl. I have called this the Twilight Syndrome in posts before. If nothing else, the Divergent series steers clear of the Twilight Syndrome. It is a breath of fresh air that the main character only has one love interest. Honestly that's more true to life. I don't know about you, but I've never been in a love triangle. Maybe I just lead a sheltered life.
I highly recommend this series to young adults. However, be warned, it is pretty dark. Characters die off quickly. If that's not your cup of tea and you get attached to side characters quickly, you may want to stay away from this dystopian thriller, but I think you'll be missing out on an entertaining and imaginative read.
Jake Taylor graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho with a Bachelor of Arts degree in professional writing. He is the author of The Tales of the Unluckiest Lucky Girl series. He is also an avid reader, traveler, movie-watcher, and music lover. He currently serves in the US Navy and is stationed in San Diego, CA.