Insurgent Delivers on Dystopian Ideals
May 04, 2012 | ~3 mins read time.

InsurgentI picked up Veronica Roth’s book, Divergent about a month ago. I have enjoyed the recent upswing in dystopian books coming out the last couple of years, and my only criticism is that the majority of them are geared toward the young adult audience. I have enjoyed reading Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s A Brave New World umpteen times each over the years. I often wish there were more published along similar lines. Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games Trilogy was alright, but I didn’t find it as mind-blowing as a lot of people seem to have. Divergent, on the other hand, was more gritty, which I liked. It reminded me of Orwell’s delivery and somewhat of Huxley’s. The similarities didn’t hit me like a hard blow. Instead they were subtle and niggling. Insurgent was set for digital release on May 1st, 2012 which was exciting. I don’t often pick up a first book in a trilogy that far after publication. I’m usually left wanting more and having to wait at least one whole, long year for the next installment of the story.</p>

I was in luck! So, I got a copy of Insurgent the day it was released and had it all gobbled up and read by the following morning just before noon. I then had to take a couple of days to form an opinion. It hasn't changed much from when I first finished the book on Wednesday. Roth managed to keep the gritty tones she used in Divergent and has managed to continue the story line in a coherent manner in Insurgent. Many authors who try their hand at dystopian landscapes often fail. They either make everything far too hopeless or far too hopeful. Roth has a nice, even keel to her dystopian world and a more plausible reason for it to exist than I feel Collins had for the Hunger Games. I think part of this impression has to do with the fact that Divergent and Insurgent are set in some sort of dystopian future in Chicago. Not only does Chicago exist, but I could easily envision it as she described it.

Divergent started off in a world where there are five "factions", representing the five subsets of the city's population. As the story progresses, the factions start falling, and by the end of Divergent, the heroine's former faction is almost entirely destroyed, her new faction is split, and she and some others are on the run from the faction that started all the fighting. The characters gain quite a bit of character development in Insurgent, and the it picks up the very moment Divergent ends. As the story continued, I began to feel that the "secret" reason for the existence of the city's factions had something to do with some prior calamity and it turns out I was right.

It also turns out that the calamity was something far more momentous and terrible than I had suspected to begin with which made me pleasantly surprised! I've gotten used to being able to predict what direction an author's going to go in which leaves me annoyed that they weren't more clever. Roth, despite this novel being marketed to young adults, seems to be writing with the idea that her potential readers are smarter than that.

That's all I'm going to say about that because while I don't mind giving hints, I don't care for full on spoilers when doing a review. They're, if nothing else, an entertaining read. I'm now wanting the third novel to be released sometime yesterday, but obviously I'll have to wait about a year. I definitely recommend both of these books to pretty much everyone, young, old, or in between.