Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “Insurgent”

Krista’s #CBR4 Reviews #53-60

All right, I decided that I’m going to finish out the year reviewing all of the books I’ve read, even after the awesome 52! I’m almost at 67 (will be this afternoon/evening) so here’s the first batch of catching up reviews. Once I get the next bunch done, I plan on reviewing everything as I go along. It’s really hard to do a thoughtful review of a book you read months ago!

53. Maine, J. Courtney Sullivan

54. On Being A Servant of God, Warren Wiersbe

55. Insurgent, Veronica Roth

56. What the Dead Know, Laura Lippman

57. Defending Jacob, William Landay

58. The Blessings of the Animals by Katrina Kittle

59. The Holiness of God by R.C. Sproul

60. In Search of Eden by Linda Nichols

Sophia’s #CBR4 Review #22: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent (2012) is Veronica Roth’s second book in her Divergent trilogy. I had some issues with Roth’s character and plot development in Divergent (2011), but it was still interesting enough that I knew I would finish this series.

And so what do I think of this second novel?

CBRIV: Book#13: Divergent Book 2: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

DragonDreamsJen’s #CBR4 Review #45 Insurgent by Veronica Roth

I’ve always found second novels in a trilogy hard.

I blame this almost entirely on George Lucas since I was part of the generation that saw the “first” Star Wars movies on the big screen (Don’t even get me started on that numbering system!)  I can still remember emerging into daylight from “The Empire Strikes Back” is a depressed, numb haze.  Han Solo was frozen in carbonite, Luke has not only lost a hand, he’d just discovered that Darth Vader was his FATHER and nothing felt quite right with the world.  The incredible joy and optimism I’d felt watching Star Wars had been replaced by a dark cloud and a little voice inside yelling “I have to wait HOW long until I find out what happens?”

There are plenty of first novels, most notably Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater, that I wish had stood alone as books instead of being mucked with.  This is the single biggest change that I have noticed in the past two decades… the pressure to create stories, characters and worlds that can be broken up into installments, marketed and merchandised.  Whatever happened to simply telling a great story?

Given my apparent “secondbookaphobia”, I approached Insurgent with trepidation, especially since the first novel had impressed me so greatly. Veronica Roth’s amazing sequel to Divergent not only healed some of those scars… it may have healed some entirely. For the first time, I discovered a second book in a trilogy that I actually liked better than the first!

Since so much of this incredible tale depends on plot twists that blind side you, action that takes your breath away and the deepening of characters introduced in the first novel, I am not going to ruin anyone’s fun by giving away details that any website could provide.  Instead, I will commend Roth for her astounding ability to create such a unique, captivating and vivid dystopian fantasy.  I was so thoroughly engrossed in reading one section that my teenagers actually searched the house to see where Mom had disappeared to!

The strength of the main character, Tris, was also one of the reasons that I love these books. As John Wayne so aptly said “Courage is being scared to death – but saddling up anyway.”  Despite the traumas endured in the first novel and the shifting layers of her entire world in the second novel, Tris emerges as an empowering example for young women of pushing through fears and challenges while staying true to yourself.

The end of Insurgent took my breath away with its stunning revelations.  It also recaptured some of the joy and wonder of being able to imagine your own ending that is so sadly lacking in modern storytelling.  Like the ending of the movie Inception, there was the possibility to imagine what might happen beyond the story you’d just enjoyed.  Imaginative readers will have the chance mull over some intriguing options as they wait (I cannot promise that it will be patiently) for this accomplished writer to release the third book, so far untitled, in this innovative series.

Hardcover format, 525 pages, published in May 2012 by Harper Collins

narfna’s #CBR4 Review #46: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

You guys, I’m so conflicted about this book. I wanted to love it, I really did. But it was kind of a mess? I guess I’ll have to settle for merely “like” and hope book three is back up to the standard that Roth set in Divergent.

Insurgent picks up right where Divergent left off, with the factions of Chicago at war with each other. The Dauntless are scattered and mostly dead, Abnegation has all but been wiped out, Amity is sitting pretty far from the conflict, Candor is neutral at the moment (I think?), and Erudite continues to belligerently attack everyone. Tris, Four, and the other Dauntless/Abnegation refugees wander all over God’s creation trying to find shelter against Erudite, who is hunting them for some reason I can’t really remember (not a good sign . . . I only finished the book three weeks ago).

Meanwhile, Four’s abusive dick of a father, Marcus, knows a secret that the Abnegation died trying to protect, and which Erudite is willing to kill to cover up forever. This is a pretty important plot point, but it’s mostly glossed over in favor of hanging out with a traumatized, PTSD Tris who feels such extreme guilt over her part in killing Will in Divergent that she can barely function. She puts all of her relationships in jeopardy and basically has a death wish for the entire novel. It is exhausting. There’s a couple of big battles, Tris goes batshit and gets herself captured on purpose, and then some other stuff happens that I can’t really remember. Also also, we meet the Factionless, who are headed up by a not-so-secret person from Four’s past, and who play in a big role in the final battle of the war, which surprisingly concludes in this book. Most authors would have dragged it out, but Roth makes the excellent decision to end it with book two and up the conflict in a different direction for book three.

If I had to sum it up (which I don’t, because this is my review and who the heck cares anyway so why am I even typing this, I don’t know), then I would say that Insurgent suffers from classic middle book syndrome. Since the war is over by the end, it’s clear that it wasn’t the focal point of the trilogy, and the big important stuff is still coming. That means that this book and this war served more of a transition function than anything else. Admittedly, it must be really hard to write a middle story (whether it’s a film or a book), but it can be done, as evidenced by The Empire Strikes Back. And I have to say, Roth was almost there in terms of the actual events of the story, but the book is so muddled it’s hard to tell.

The unpleasantness of hanging out with PTSD Tris (however accurate and true to character) is a close second, but my biggest complaint about this book is its complete lack of structure. One of the reasons Divergent was such a fun reading experience was that it was incredibly well-structured. That’s a weird thing to say about a book, and maybe it’s only something other writers really care about, but the net effect is the same: better structure, better book, even if you can’t necessarily put a finger on it as a non-writing layperson. I just felt so lost the entire book, like I never knew what to expect page to page, but in a bad way. Only the most experimental avant-garde authors fuck around with structure, and there’s a reason most people don’t read those assholes anyway. We like structures. We like expectations, even if the only point of expectations in a book is to frustrate them. I felt like Insurgent just flowed along with things happening here and there along the way, and even though it was a fast read, the good stuff wasn’t necessarily emphasized at the right times or in the right ways, and the frustrating stuff was more often than not front and center. Again, it’s hard to put into words and I’d probably have to read it again and take copious notes to figure it out, but it’s not like I’m writing a frickin’ dissertation here so shut it I’m done with my arguments.

Anyways, still excited for book three, and I’m hoping that Roth turns out to be just as good at endings as she was at beginnings.

[3.5 stars, for lingering affection]

Scootsa1000’s #CBR4 Review #26: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Last year, I read and loved the first entry in Veronica Roth’s dystopian trilogy, Divergent.  When the second book was released, I put my name down on the library list and waited to see if it would live up to the hype of the first book.

I just finished reading the second book, Insurgent, a few minutes ago, and I’m having trouble figuring out what I think about it.

Insurgent begins immediately after the events of the first book.  Tris, Four, Peter, Caleb, and Marcus have escaped the slaughter of the Abnegation and are on their way to Amity, looking for asylum…and for answers. Why would the Erudite want to murder an entire faction? What information are the leaders protecting that is worth brainwashing innocent citizens and even killing for?

Honestly, I felt that the story was rather less exciting this time around.  The first half of the book was much slower and yes, boring, compared to the first book.  And honestly, I didn’t think the writing was as sharp.  Entire sections went by and I felt like all I read was “Serum. Simulation.  Serum.  Faction.  Headquarters.  Stiff.  Factionless. Serum.  Simulation.  Divergent.  Serum.”  And the romance between Tris and Four was really brought front and center this time, with lots of shirt grabbing and back touching and general (AND REPETITIVE) making out.

Luckily, the last third of the book picked up the pace a bit.  Tris and her friends (as well as her enemies) go to battle to get their hands on some secret data that could potentially change their lives forever, and that part worked for me.  Also, the scenes and descriptions of what the world of the Factionless was like?  Very interesting.  The talking and the arguing and the romance? Not so much.

If you are considering a re-read of Divergent before diving into this one, let me be the first to tell you, YES.  REREAD THE FIRST BOOK. I spent so much of this book trying to remember tiny little details about the first story.  Who is Lynn? I get her confused with Marlene. Who is Marlene?  I thought she was Shauna.  What happened in the glass case of water at the end of Divergent?  What was Tris’ mom doing there, anyway? Argh.  I really had a tough time with it.

I didn’t like it as much as Divergent, definitely a bit of a let-down.  But I am still looking forward to the third book next year, as I really want to find out what’s out there beyond the gates and beyond Chicago…

 You can read more of my reviews on my blog.

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