Insurgent (Divergent #2)
(YA, urban fantasy, dystopian)
I have very mixed feelings about this book. I like the series plot, as near as I can tell. I like the world and the imagery. I like many of the characters. But there were many bits about this particular book that drove me a little crazy. (And talking about them will mean there are spoilers. Be warned.)
First: Tris. I understand that she has been through a lot of stuff that most people won’t ever have to go through. I realize that she is only 16. But she spent way too much time in this book getting hung up on issues that I had a hard time believing. The biggest and most annoying one was the gun thing. I found it really hard to believe that she would have that much trouble even touching a gun when she was IN THE MIDDLE OF A WAR. Sure, freak out about it when you have the time to think about it. Sure, have trouble actually firing the thing. But to have trouble touching one when she seemed otherwise perfectly rational? And when she had no problem nearly killing someone with a knife? I didn’t buy that.
I also have an issue with her relationship with Tobias. I can accept that they love each other. I can’t accept that she would have been raised by such a loving (if not demonstrative) couple as her parents seemed to be, and not know how to talk to a boy she liked about important things. Maybe it’s been too long since I’ve been a teenager with a crush on a guy. But up until the end of the book (when things seemed to resolve better) it seemed that her boy-troubles were merely a good way to move the plot along and not character-realistic.
And I think my biggest issue with this book was the writing quality. I enjoy the story. But not all of the actual writing seems necessary. And my arm hurts right now from holding INSURGENT too long while I was reading the last of it. Have you seen the print on the hardbacks? (Which I got because they were a boxed set… I didn’t see a boxed set of the paperbacks.) TOO BIG, in my opinion. Not large-print big, but paper-wasting big. If you’re not going to cut some of the text through edits, at least use a smaller font so that your readers aren’t lugging around a five-pound book. (Yes, that’s an exaggeration, but still. And yes, I know that Harry Potter books had the same length issue. My same complaint stands about those books, with the possible difference that the font needed to be a little bigger on the Potter books because the readers were – marketed as – younger.)
Anyway. Did I like INSURGENT? Yes, mostly. There were moments in the middle of the books that I wondered why I bought them instead of getting them from the library, but I mostly like the book. (You can tell that the author was young, though, I feel. It feels like an early book and not a more polished book by a more experienced writer.) As I’ve said, I like the story a lot. I’m hoping that more polishing time was spent on ALLEGIANT, because I’m planning to finish the series and want to end the books on a positive note. We’ll see.
(Oh – and I stil haven’t seen the movie. I’m curious to see how that changes my take on the books. Kinda want to finish reading the whole trilogy first, though.)