Insurgent (Divergent Series #2)

Insurgent (Divergent Series #2) - Warning: this review will probably contain five billion spoilers (more or less). And I probably won't cover them up or anything because ... I just don't want to. So if you are avoiding spoilers for this book like the plague, you should probably just go away.All right, now. Here we go.Let me start off by saying, I really liked Divergent. It wasn't the most fantastic or original thing I'd ever read, but it was a fun read. It was exciting, it had some cute romance, and so on. I read the whole thing in only a few sittings.I found Insurgent to be much more tedious to get through. While the first book kept me hooked and seemed to go by in a flash, this book seemed to drag on for ages. That isn't to say I didn't like it––because I did like it. I just don't think it was as strong as Divergent. Of course, middle books in a series tend to be the worst, and since the end of this one set up a lot of interesting ideas, I am still looking forward to the third book. So anyway, I think I will start off with the things I didn't like, and then go on to the things I did like. The length:It was just far too long. More than 500 pages, and there were probably only three or so small sections of it that really held my attention. A lot of the book consisted of characters essentially sitting around waiting for things to happen, having conversations that lasted for too many pages, etc. I'd say probably 200 or so pages could have been edited out. There was too much unnecessary fluff between important events, and it kept making me feel rather impatient. It got to the point where I wanted to jump up and shoot the wall out of boredom. Like Sherlock!Tris:Tris. Just. Tris. I liked her well enough in the first book. And even though she had her cool moments in this book ... over all she just started to get on my nerves. I think I said in my review of the first book that she wasn't a Mary Sue. But, after reading this book, I take it back. Because she was totally Mary Sue-ish in this one. First of all, there was her constant whining about how she'd killed Will. A classic Mary Sue trait is to agonize over something you did in the past, even though it wasn't really your fault. After all, she shot Will out of self-defense––and Veronica Roth seems to take every opportunity to try and justify why Tris shot Will, why she didn't have another option (even though she totally could have just shot in the arm or something instead of the head but ... oh well). Yet, no matter how people try to convince her, Tris can't stop ranting about how guilty and horrible she is. And yes, I know it must be a terrible feeling to have shot your friend for no good reason. But, the reader doesn't have to be reminded of it every five seconds. Yes, we all feel bad for you. I think we've established this already. At some point I just felt like:And to make it even more annoying, I think Christina forgave her way too easily. I mean, she just saw how people acted under the simulation and she was like, "Oh, that's what Will acted like? Well then, I guess it was okay for Tris to shoot him in the head after all!" Just ... No. Tris still could have stopped Will by just shooting him in the arm or the leg or any part of him that was not his head. I understand she was acting on impulse, but surely she could have thought straight for a second and said to herself, "Because he's my friend, I should at least try not to kill him." Yes, I could understand Christina forgiving Tris eventually ... but it should have involved more effort on Tris's part. I mean, Tris really didn't do anything to earn Christina's forgiveness. She killed Christina's boyfriend, lied about it, and didn't tell Christina the truth until it was literally forced out of her in front of a large group of people. In my opinion, it was kind of a cop-out.Secondly, Tris became the self-sacrificing type––you know, the type of protagonist who is always easily willing to get herself killed to save everyone else. And sure, that's great and all, but I always have trouble believing that kind of thing. Yes, it's understandable that someone might sacrifice himself/herself to save someone he/she loves, but it's still a difficult decision. But in this case it kind of just felt like,EVIL PERSON: SO, WHO WANTS TO DIE?TRIS:She just kept wanting to die to save everyone else––but then at the last second she would change her mind, and then someone else would have to come and save her butt. Just ... gah.My last problem with Tris ... well, I'm not sure whether to blame it on her character or on Veronica Roth herself. But, there were just so many little things that Tris said/thought that rubbed me the wrong way. These were mostly subtle things, which I probably wouldn't have even noticed if I was reading quickly––and probably Roth didn't even mean for them to be offensive––but they just came off as feeling a bit careless and inconsiderate.For example, Tris made some remark about how Johanna "would have been beautiful if it wasn't for the giant scar on her face." Umm. So, people can't be beautiful if they have scars on their faces? Sure, this was only one little sentence, but it could be rather emotionally damaging if, say, someone with a scar on their face were reading it. They would probably be like, "Gee, thanks." Although this one I'm not so angry about, since later on in the book Tris said something along the lines of, "Well, actually I realized that Johanna isn't beautiful despite her scar, but with her scar." So, okay Veronica. I'll let this one slide.Then, Tris also made a comment about Lynn that really bothered me. She made this observation about how under her baggy clothes, "Lynn's body bends and curves the way it's supposed to." I was just like ... Excuse me? Supposed to? Implying there's a single way that all female bodies are supposed to look? I don't understand why Roth couldn't have just described Lynn as being "skinny" or something along those lines. But in this case, her word choice was just offensive.But I think what bothered me the most was Tris's response when Peter saved her life. He works so hard and goes through all this crazy shit to save her, and then a) she isn't nearly grateful enough, and b) she even goes so far as to criticize him for the reason he saved her. Because basically, what he says is that he felt he "owed" her for the last time she saved his life. And then for like a paragraph, she rants about how she "can't imagine thinking like that" and how you should "save someone because you love them and not because you feel like you owe them something." And I'm just like,I mean, goodness gracious Tris! He didn't have to save your life, you know. He could have just let Jeanine kill you and been off on his merry way. But you're just going to sit there and be angry with him because he didn't save you out of love? Oy vey. So yeah. Basically, Tris became quite obnoxious. With her constant angst, self-sacrificing nature, and uncalled for criticisms of other people, I just started to lose sympathy for her.Tobias/Four:Again ... a character I liked in the first book. And now, I've grown kind of tired of him. I think he was more appealing in Divergent because he was all mysterious and secretive and whatnot. But I felt like by now, it feels less like he has interesting secrets to hide and more that he's just not that deep of a character. I do think parts of his backstory are interesting––like how he switched factions to escape his father, that kind of thing. But otherwise, I don't find him to be particularly likable.I think where I really started to dislike him was when he started beating up Marcus in front of everyone. Really, the whole thing just struck me as being a bit ridiculous.First, there was everyone constantly calling him a coward for running away from his faction. And that was like, literally the only thing people were doing to harass him. It was just like, "HO HO HO, TOBIAS IS A CHICKEN!"And he's like, "I know a logical solution to this! I shall beat up my father in front of everyone to show what a badass I am!" And I'm like, "Gah, noooo Tobias. Just ... no." I understand that he chose Dauntless, and that being called a "coward" when you are Dauntless is a huge insult and all. But really, he's what––18 years old? He's an adult. I think he could be mature enough to ignore people until their insults died down. I thought his response to the situation was a weak one and it made me lose quite a bit of respect for him.But then there was also the way he treated Tris. I ... did not like it. One second he would be all over her, making out with her and telling her how wonderful she is. And the next second, he would be taking out all his anger on her and saying she was stupid and cowardly and whatnot. It was like he was totally leading her on and then pushing her away again, and it got quite annoying.Nevertheless, Tris is still obsessed with him. And then she tells him she loves him, and his response is, "Say it again."Uhhhh. I'm sorry, what?I mean sure, after she repeats it he gives the normal "I love you, too" response. But still ... What? Telling someone you love them is kind of a big deal. And to command that they repeat it just seems unnecessarily demanding and rude. You're supposed to be grateful that this person had to courage to confess their love to you. You're not supposed to be like:*Shakes head* Well anyway ... moving along.The "shocking twist":- OMG BIG SPOILER BELOW -And by that I mean, the whole thing where Caleb turned out to be working for Jeanine. This is one of my greatest pet peeves. I just hate when a seemingly normal character just suddenly turns around like, "BWAHAHA. I'M EEEVILLL."I just think it's a cheap trick. If there is some hinting towards it ... then okay, that makes it a little better. But if it doesn't have much foreshadow or justification, and the author is only doing it for the shock factor, that tends to piss me off. I think that's about all I have to say on the matter.WELL NOW. I think now would probably be a good time to explain the things I did like.Some of the secondary characters:This might seem like a lame thing to like, but really. There were a lot of characters I would have liked to have seen as the protagonist(s) rather than Tris and Tobias. Like Lynn for example. Or Uriah. They just seemed more interesting. While the main characters got rather annoying, I thought Veronica Roth did a good job with secondary characters and I wish she would have done more with them.Lynn especially. Okay seriously, I was reading this book like, "La di da, I wonder if there will be any LGBTQ characters!" Because I like LGBTQ characters. And then literally, Lynn confessed she was a lesbian (well, or bisexual possibly) and then died. Like, "Oh hey everyone! I'm gay! .... *Dies*"It just felt rather lame. Like Veronica Roth was like, "Oh look, I made a gay character! I'm creating character diversity! LOL But I'm totally not going to explore that issue, so I'm just going to wimp out and kill her ..." *Sigh* Oh yeah, isn't this section supposed to be about things I like? Well, I liked Lynn. That's the point. I just wish she hadn't died. The world-building:I thought there was a disappointing lack of world-building in Divergent, and I think it improved in Insurgent. The idea of the simulations is cool (although I'm not sure if scientifically possible, but oh well). Specifically, I think the idea of fear landscapes is quite interesting. Particularly the way Tobias interacts with his, how he checks it regularly to see if anything has changed. It's kind of like a really intense kind of meditation or something. As odd as it sounds, I kinda wish I could see my own fear landscape. Like sure, it would be really horrible, but it would also force me to face my fears and learn to conquer them or whatever. And that would be pretty cool. So yeah, I just think it's a thought-provoking idea.I'm also glad that Roth more clearly established why this dystopian world exists and what's going on outside of it. That was something that really bothered me about the first book (and what bothers me about a lot of dystopian books, really)––where I'm like, "Wait, how did this society even come to be? Why did they think it was a good idea? What's going on outside of it, in the rest of the world?" So, it's cool that she actually started to explain it. I mean, the explanation was pretty sudden and rushed, but still.The setup for the next book:Towards the end, I was kind of losing hope that Roth could set up enough plot for the next installment in the series. But, now I've become very curious. I'm interested in seeing what happens when these characters move out of their isolated society and into the real world. What are they going to do? How much, exactly, has changed? I didn't really expect to be excited to read the third book ... but now I am, because I really wonder what's going to happen next.So, yeah. This review had kind of become crazier than I expected. And I realize I made it seem like the cons really outweigh the pros. But really––over all, I did enjoy the book. I don't think it was as good as the first book, and I had a lot of issues with the pacing and characters and whatnot. However, there were exciting sections of the book that drew me in. Also, I think the world Roth has created is interesting and I do really want to see where she goes with it in the third book.