And What Is Brave? (Insurgent by Veronica Roth)

Review of 
Insurgent by Veronica Roth

I have done bad things.
I can't take them back, 
and they are part of who I am.

Tris has survived a brutal attack on her former home and family. But she has paid a terrible price. Wracked by grief and guilt, she becomes ever more reckless as she struggles to accept her new future.

Yet if Tris wants to uncover the truth about her world, she must be stronger than ever... because more shocking choices and sacrifices lie ahead.

Insurgent continues the story of our awesome hero Tris almost immediately from where Divergent left off. If you’re planning on reading Divergent, I’d recommend getting Insurgent as well or at least the moment you know you’re liking Divergent: the effect of reading these two with each other is incredible. 

Now, in Insurgent the stakes have been raised. Divergent began as more of a story about Tris trying to find herself, making a place for herself in the world and becoming brave, the person she’s always wanted to be. But with Insurgent, all of that has basically been destroyed, left behind. Now Tris faces the challenge that maybe, the person she’s always wanted to be isn’t a good person and what does it really mean to be brave after all. 

Tris was conflicted in Divergent, but now it’s more than that: she’s ashamed and feels guilty - for many reasons. The final moments of Divergent dealt some surprises to Tris and us readers and it’s not easy for Tris to get up from all that happened. 
I really, truly, honestly love the way the feelings that Tris goes through in here are dealt with. Roth handles the near-constant conflict that Tris feels wonderfully: it doesn’t become whining, as in some books it can become when a certain complaint is repeated or not handled well. Instead, we get too feel how much Tris hates what she’s done and is afraid of what she might do in the future. 
We also see how she’s changed from the girl that we first met in Divergent. But that may not be a good thing, as Tris maybe loses herself. 

Four takes some of Tris’ limelight in this book, but it has always been obvious - at least to me - that out of the two of them, Four is the one who knows exactly what he wants and who he wants to be. Not to say that he doesn’t have his weaknesses, but in Insurgent Four is one of those people who stays constant. He does have his own conflicts and butts heads with Tris, but he still stays firmly himself - even becomes more sure of himself, which is interesting when faced with Tris’ own dilemmas. 

I almost hate to say it, but some of my favorite parts are when Tris and Four are disagreeing about something. It feels like that’s the moment when both of them are most fully themselves. Or, that actually goes for all of their interactions. 
And I do love these two together, as you can almost visibly see the connection they share. But then again, they’re so different despite their similarities that it’s really interesting to watch. (Also: KISS)

There are a lot of characters jumping up and down in this book, as there is a lot of running around and going “OMG, this is not good.” It’s really interesting to see how these people live in their world and how really different their thinking is. Roth also gives her side characters some excellent storylines and character development and deals with them in such amazing detail that few can do that. 

Insurgent isn’t as flawlessly flowing as Divergent is: it’s much more frantic, story-wise and pacing-wise. There are parts that this works for the story and it seems planned and some parts that sort of flop around. Roth goes through them bravely with her excellent writing and I didn’t find it that bothering, though there were parts where I noticed it. 

One of the standing out things about Divergent and Insurgent is the world it’s based in. It’s so very different from ours and not just because it’s in the future or because people jump off trains. It is so different in its very ideals and morals that it’s fascinating to watch people interact. The characters value so different things than we do that it’s really interesting to see how they deal with conflicts that shake their very beliefs. That is definitely one of the things that make this series. 

It seems like Roth likes to lure the reader into thinking that the worst is over, but then she brings out the really big surprises. She did that in Divergent and does so in this one as well. Though, we do get some big truths along the way. 

Final thoughts: Insurgent is a brilliant follow-up to Divergent - it almost trips the second book of the trilogy -curse, but Roth bravely manages to save it by remembering the awesomeness of Tris, throwing in some Four and adding just enough danger, mystery and action. In Insurgent everything is bigger and bolder than in Divergent, as the real game has been revealed - and the staked are higher than ever.

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