Tris Prior lives in a dystopian future Chicago divided by factions: Dauntless, who value bravery; Abnegation, who value selflessness; Erudite, who value education and intellect; Amity, who value love and friendship; and Candor, who value truth. Like other citizens in Chicago, Tris takes an aptitude test at the age of sixteen that will determine which faction she has an aptitude for. Tris’s test reveals that she is a rare individual with an equal aptitude for three factions: she is Divergent. The Divergent are considered dangerous and untrustworthy, and Tris is told to hide her test results at all costs.
Veronica Roth’s novel Insurgent is the second in a planned trilogy, the first of which, Divergent, tells the story of Tris’s decision to choose Dauntless and her initiation into her faction. I would not recommend trying to read Insurgent without reading Divergent first. Roth wastes no time catching up readers who didn’t pick up the first book and dives into the story, instead. In fact, even though I read Divergent just a few months ago, I frequently found myself trying to remember who various minor characters were and how they fit into the story. You may want to stop reading now if you haven’t read the first novel.
In this novel, Tris and Tobias, formerly known as Four for the rare low number of four fears he has as an instructor in Dauntless, must pick up the pieces in the wake of Dauntless’s attack simulation, engineered by Erudite leaders, that obliterated most of Abnegation. The Dauntless faction members divide between loyalty to the Erudite and those refuse to ally themselves with Erudite. Tris, Tobias, and their friends consider those loyal to Erudite to be Dauntless traitors.
Tris learns that the Erudite engineered the Dauntless attack on Abnegation in order to prevent Abnegation from revealing a secret that will potentially destroy the factions and tear apart society. Meanwhile, she must also deal with her feelings of guilt over having to kill her friend, Will, when he was under the influence of the Dauntless attack simulation, the loss of her parents, and her growing feelings for Tobias. She also needs to come to terms with her Divergence.
This book was fast-paced and gripping. It is one of those rare sequels that improves upon the first book, which lays the ground work for this novel, while Insurgent exposes the reality of the society Tris lives in. There is rarely a moment of down time when Tris is not engaged in an epic life-or-death battle or speculating about the secret Abnegation was prepared to reveal before it was obliterated. I actually forced myself to slow down as I read. I could easily have read the book in one marathon sitting, and now I have to wait God knows how long for the final book. I really need to find out several things:
- What does the world outside Chicago look like? I still don’t know, and I wanted to know that reading Divergent.
- What happened? Chicago is part ruin, part rebuilt, with no lake Michigan, which is now just swamp. What kind of damage caused that?
- The people outside Chicago, do they exist or not? If so, what do they live like?
I can’t begin to cast this thing, like I said I would try to do with books I review. I have just spent an hour trying to find someone to play Tris, and no one looks like her. Honestly, casting Four (much prefer the nickname to Tobias, which is what Tris mostly calls him in this book) would be even more difficult. I don’t even want to go down that Google Image Search rabbit hole.