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Katniss Who?

A review of Veronica Roth's Insurgent, the sequel to Divergent, in which Beatrice makes Katniss look like a pansy.

Katniss Who?

BOOK REPORT for Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Cover Story: Not Too Shabby
BFF Charm: Yes (Although I Had To Take It Back For A While There)
Swoonworthy Scale: 5
Talky Talk: Action Packed
Bonus Factors: Other Factions, The Opposite of Mockingjay
Anti-Bonus Factor: M. Night Shyamashizz
Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

Insurgent is the sequel to Divergent, so if you haven’t read the first book, please, read no further! Turn back and get thee to a library! Then return and make me jealous, because you didn’t have to wait a whole year to find out what happens after the end of Divergent. YOU LUCKY DUCK. And for those of you who have read Divergent, please note that I will refrain from major spoilers in my review, but I will tell you the general premise of the book.

Cover Story: Not Too Shabby

This cover, like the one for Divergent, is sleek and vaguely sci-fi-ish. Sure, it’s a little boring, but it also doesn’t feature a fancy dress or headless girl, so let’s just be THANKFUL. I mean, can you imagine if they used some Delia’s model wearing a ballgown to represent Tris? HEADS (and eyes) WOULD ROLL. Plus, the symbol on the cover belongs to none other than the greatest faction of all time, Amity!

The Deal:

After surviving the simulation attack that killed her parents and forced her to kill one of her best friends, Tris (also known as Beatrice) escapes to the Amity compound along with her brother, Caleb, her hottie boyfriend Four (I REFUSE to call him Tobias), his abusive father, Marcus, and Peter, who tried to murder Tris back in Dauntless training. Yeah, not exactly the coziest of bunches. Fortunately for these fugitives, Amity decides to give them shelter along with the few surviving members of Abnegation, but their peaceful refuge doesn’t last long. Headed by Jeanine Matthews, aka evil beyotch, the Erudite are determined to complete their simulation experiment, although their goal remains a sinister mystery. And they aren’t the only ones with something to hide– it seems that no faction can be trusted, not even the factionless, who are now united by a powerful figure from Four’s past. Desperate to stop the Erudite, Tris must rely on all of her Divergent qualities: intelligence, bravery and, most importantly, self-sacrifice.

BFF Charm: Yes (Although I Had To Take It Back For A While There)

BEATRICE I-don’t-think-you-have-a-middle-name PRIOR. I cannot HANDLE the shizz that you put me through in this book. Here I was, thinking that you were so brave and badass and totes fierce at the end of Divergent, and then you had to go and act like a major idiot for over half of Insurgent! WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU? Oh… right. Your parents died. And you shot Will. Well, ok then. I guess that’s a good excuse to be such an utter headcase. But still, it really sucked having to watch my literary bestie make such poor, poor, POOR decisions, esp. since you’re a fictional character, so you couldn’t actually hear any of the things I was yelling at the pages. Look, I’m sorry I had to take my charm back from you for a while, but I just couldn’t deal with all of yr secret-keeping and guilt-having and general fool-being. Thankfully, you managed to get yr shizz straight and grow as a person and get back into being my badass, loyal and compassionate BFF. Just promise you won’t lose it again in the third book, ok? Because I don’t need more ex-besties like Katniss Everdeen.

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

I was wondering if the swoon would suffer in this book, since so much of romance (for me) is uncertainty, and Tris and Four already got together. And I was right, it did suffer, but not to the detriment of the story. I’m actually really proud of Roth for not inventing some new love interest just to keep things spicy, because there is already a TON of spicy happening in this novel. Sure, I miss the smokin’ hot tension between Tris and Four, but it’s also great to observe how their relationship deepens and changes. And ultimately this trilogy isn’t about romance, it’s about war and revolution and humanity, and that’s more than enough action for me to get my kicks.

Talky Talk: Action Packed

Roth’s style remains unchanged from Divergent, which is a-ok with me! Every page hums with adrenaline, and even the slow scenes kept me turning the pages in a frantic, crazy person manner. While not prone to rich description, Roth infuses Tris with a kaleidoscope of emotion, but her main strength is guiding the reader through a dizzying array of characters and heart-racing situations. I didn’t find the plot to be as compelling or the pacing to be as intense as they were in Divergent, but Roth still managed to keep me on my toes.

Bonus Factor: Other Factions

We finally get to learn about the other factions! And it turns out that all of them are full of assholes! But with that said, I’d still choose Amity at the end of the day. I mean, hanging out in apple orchards and eating happy bread? SIGN ME UP.

Bonus Factor: The Opposite Of Mockingjay

There was a point pretty early on in this book when a dreadful question began to plague me. “What if Tris turns out like Katniss in Mockingjay?” She was showing all of the signs– a loss of interest in life, a lack of self-empowerment and a proclivity towards making weakass decisions. I was like, “OH HELL NAH, I cannot BELIEVE Roth is Mockingjay-ing Tris right now.” But fortunately for me and the YA genre, Tris didn’t walk too far down that path, and even her brief detour there served a purpose. But if she ends up unwillingly having Four’s babies in the third book I WILL CUT SOMEONE.

Anti-Bonus Factor: M. Night Shyamashizz

I really enjoyed this book… until the end. Then Roth had to go and pull some M. Night Shyamashizz that was trying to be all, “SURPRISE! YOU JUST GOT MIND FREAKED!” And I was like, “WHOAH, YOU GOT ME GOOD, PLOT TWIST!” Except for the part where I totally wondered if this was going to happen and really hoped it wouldn’t because UGH. I obvs won’t spoil it for you but… man. My mind, it was definitely not freaked. More like unimpressed.

Casting Call:

Megan already cast Tris and Four in her review, but the beauty of writing a book report is that I have the power to make changes! I totally agree with her Tris, but for me, there is only one choice for Four.

Ethan Peck as Four

As for his dad, the kinda evil but maybe possibly partially good Marcus? Sounds like a job for Alan Rickman!

Alan Rickman as Marcus

Relationship Status: it’s complicated

After I finished Divergent, I was head over heels in love with this series. I gushed about it to everyone I knew, and I couldn’t wait to see it again in the form of Insurgent. And even though I relished seeing what happened to Tris and Four and their world, I have to admit, the honeymoon period is over. That’s natural, of course, and it doesn’t mean that my affection for this story has gone away. I’m still invested in our relationship, but it’s not as hot and heavy as it was before. This book surprised me in some good ways and some bad ways, and while Insurgent still made my pulse race, it also frustrated me. Shizz just got real between us, and I’m glad for that, but I’m also not sure what will happen to our relationship when the third book arrives. I’ve been burned before by the ends of dystopian trilogies, and I don’t think I can take another heartbreak like that, so for now, we’re still together… but not, like, together together.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Harper Collins. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Insurgent will be available on May 1, 2012.

Posh Deluxe's photo About the Author: Sarah lives in Austin, TX, where she programs films at the Alamo Drafthouse. Sarah enjoys fancy cocktails, dance parties and anything that sparkles (except vampires).