Insurgent (Divergent #2)
There comes a point in a book or a movie where you know the plot won't recover. That anything that's said or done after that point is complete moot. It could be a single line, scene, description, act, or character that just destroys the entire experience. This happened about thirty pages into Insurgent for me. It happened again at 150, 200, 240, 300, and probably 544.
I know I wasn't a fan of the original as it was mostly setup. That I didn't really enjoy Divergent until the last 20% of the book. I came into Insurgent not wanting to read it but I did anyway in the hopes of not being let down. I like to give every author--especially those of highly successful trilogies--a second chance.
The book picks up where we left off in Divergent: the faction formed government is at war with itself, and everything has hit the ceiling. Tris and Four are trying to escape the city with a few others and things are getting dangerous. There's deceit at every corner, spies, intrigue, romance, violence, cats and dogs living together.
I'm going to cover the good first. Veronica Roth can write great action scenes. Scenes that are tense and unforgivably dark. At certain points in Insurgent I thought characters that were not expendable could be expendable. She really had me going. She doesn't throw in a lot of back story this time. She really knows how to pace a novel and make it tense, I'll give her that.
This is a part where it gets tricky. I'm going to call this point in my post a bus stop. Because I'm going to stop the bus and half of you are going to get off and you'll never come back to this post, the rest of you can stay on. I'm warning you now, I am not kind after this point. I hold back no punches. Are you on the Bus? Leave now if you don't want to be on it. I'll tell you when to get back on.
The characters in this book are generic. Four is an amalgamation of every male YA character that I've ever read. He's Jace from City of Bones, he's Edward from Twilight. I get that some of the girls swoon over Four's character. I really do. He's so violent but sensitive towards Tris and he has tattoos and takes his shirt off. Oh my!
What some girls find to be so romantic about him I find borderline offensive. He's a stereotypical male character placed into a book for the lead character to swoon over. He's not an Augustus Waters, he's not a Cricket Bell; he's not Nate from Lock & Key. But I get it. This isn't a contemporary novel. It's a dystopian future Chicago.
But... but... here we go...
Nate from Lock & Key never had his abuse played up. I don't know why Veronica Roth gave Four a back story of child abuse. To explain his anger? To explain him lashing out at others? Yes. That's such a good image of abuse victims: all violent and cagey and at the point of mental breakdown at any moment. Four is an offensive character that only lashes out, one with cold logic and emotion, one that is generic, one that has no redeemable qualities as a male character because Roth didn't give him any. I know that some of you guys really enjoy him as a character, but from a guys' perspective: he's a douche bag. He's not a good person. He's not someone you need to call hot and swoon over. He's someone that needs a Xanex and a therapist.
We then have Beatrice. She has become extremely violent and reckless. It doesn't bother me. What bothers me is that Veronica Roth gave us rules in Divergent for the divergent that she does not follow in Insurgent. If she did it to turn readers on their heads: it didn't work on me. All it did was give Roth an easy way out for her characters. I can't stand behind that.
There are points in this novel where I wanted to scream at the injustice of what people were doing. There's no logic behind certain actions. There's no motive except to explain "Oh. This person is cruel and that's why they did it." No. That's a cop-out to me.
I could not be on this novel's side. With its wide range of generic characters (I could not tell the different between Christina, Beatrice, Lynn, Edward, etc), its offensive portrayal of abuse victims, its generic lead male character, and its main character that can't figure out the motives of others before the reader can.
You can get back on the bus now.
While I think that Veronica Roth can write a good action novel and has some interesting ideas; it's impossible for me to get over the characters that populate the novel. I can't get over the rules that she so clearly setup in the first that she violates in the second; I can't get over a lot of things.
I think it's safe for me to say that I won't be reading the next in the trilogy, but if Veronica Roth ever has a non-Divergent book I'll check it out. I think that's the best I can do at this point.
Full Disclosure: Read on my Kindle.
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