Monday, June 25, 2012

Audiobook Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)
Author: Veronica Roth
Narrator: Emma Galvin
Series: Divergent, #2
Released: May 1st 2012

Publisher: Harper Audio
Lenght: 11 hrs and 22 mins
Buy: Audible

One choice can transform you - or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves - and herself - while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.
Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable - and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.
New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth's much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.
Middle book syndrome, thy name is Insurgent, and you’ve never been this painful before. I realize this is not a popular opinion. For every negative review out there, Insurgent has fifteen positive ones, which I guess makes me the odd one out, not for the first time.

But seriously, wow. If you’re ever struck by a sudden desire to read a book about nothing at all and don’t know what to choose, look no further – Veronica Roth will satisfy your curiosity. I was one of those people who neither loved nor hated Divergent: I thought it was fun but full of holes worldbuilding-wise, I thought the characters were interesting, but needed more work, and I thought the action scenes were reasonably well-written, but certainly not mind-blowing.
None of those things apply to Insurgent. I only mention them to clarify that I didn’t expect much to begin with. But after the first few chapters of Insurgent, I realized that even those weak expectations wouldn’t be met. It is one of the emptiest books I’ve ever read: you go searching for plot and come up empty; you try finding some character development – empty. Good action scenes… well, some, but without an actual plot to keep me engaged, they felt empty nonetheless.

I usually enjoy writing plot summaries, but this time, I spent 10 minutes staring at the blinking cursor, having absolutely no idea how to put this lack of anything meaningful into words. I just keep going back to Tris instead. And since I already mentioned character development, I’d like to know what on earth happened to her? I wrote this plenty of times in my reviews: if I don’t like the main character, I simply can’t like the book! (Unless, of course, the whole point of the book is that I dislike its protagonist, which most definitely isn’t the case here.) I might have enjoyed Insurgent at least a little bit if not for Tris’s constant whining. This entire book is one big pity-party, a series of unnecessary, meaningless sacrifices. People kept turning to her to analyze the situation, but she was the least logical among them. At least with the real Dauntless you know where you stand… they shoots first, ask questions later… if at all. Tris whines first, makes idiotic decisions, lies to the only person who actually cares about her, whines some more, shoots when she has no other way out, then whines because she was forced to shoot. Rinse and repeat. Her guilt over killing Will was fine up to a point, but when she became self-destructive over it, I started thinking that she should have done everyone a favor and let Will shoot her instead! That was the only other option: kill him or die, but instead of accepting this, she was determined to destroy herself (and Tobias) because of it.

The narrator, Emma Galvin, saved the book for me. She truly did an outstanding job. Sometimes a narrator just grates on me for no apparent reason, but the exact opposite happened with Emma: she is so good that I’d be perfectly happy listening to her read grocery lists all day long. She is what kept me going around the middle, when I would have given up otherwise.

There is no hope for me and this series. I wanted to be excited about the third book, but I doubt I’ll even read it. Everyone has their list of dealbreakers, those things they just can’t get over in books, and whining and self-pity are at the very top of mine. (You can read this lovely post about dealbreakers at The Readventurer.)

When book three comes out, I promise I will be excited with and for my friends. I swear I will. I just doubt I’ll read it myself.


  1. You are not along, Maja! I was pretty disappointed with Insurgent, especially after enjoying Divergent when it came out.

    Tris really annoyed me and I couldn't look past it, she drove me nuts even though I was trying to be sympathetic towards her, it just didn't work for me.

    I will read book 3, in the hope that it brings with it some of what I loved from Divergent.

    Nicely review, hun!

  2. Aw Maja, I wish you could have liked this more but that was a great review! I agree with your points about Tris to a certain extent. I also found her decisions in this book weren't the best and her attitude bothered me too. Still, I think you know I loved this book overall. ;) Even though you probably won't be reading book 3, you can cheer along with me. ;) Lovely review, Maja!

  3. Aww. That's really sad that you didn't enjoy the book, Maja. :(
    I hate when that happens too. I understand what you mean about Tris' behavior though. It's really nice of you to be cheering along with your friends before the third book comes out ! :)
    Great honest review, Maja.

  4. I definitely don't think you're alone on this one, Maja. I haven't read either one of these books but I've seen a few readers express disappointment about this one.

    Oh man, whining and passivity are so annoying to me too. I always just want to shake those characters, like "ARGH, just make a decision already!!!" Definitely on the long list of my dealbreakers. You should totally post your list!

    Really nice, honest review. You and several other readers have convinced me not to read these.

  5. I know where you are coming from on this one. I enjoyed it overall but I totally hated Tris and her whining and her self destructive behavior and the realtionship between Tris and Four is not the same. This certainly lacked the adrenaline rush that you get with Divergent. This in my opinion, is a second syndrome book.

  6. Oh, Maja, this book really did follow the middle book syndrome, didn't it? I was going to lower my rating because of that but didn't because Four and I are eloping and I thought it was unfair to him LOL x) (Just kidding!) But I completely agree about Tris's decisions -- I could understand her guilt about Will and everything, but sometimes I just wanted her to be that strong, sure, and brave girl I fell in love with in Divergent. It's too bad that you won't be reading book three, but I'll wave at you at the sidelines from the core of the race! x)

    Beautiful review, Maja! :) <3

  7. SO glad that I didn't spend time waiting for this book. Like you, I thought Divergent was just "meh" and I wasn't excited at all for "Insurgent". After reading your review, I think I'll plan on picking it up with book 3 comes out and will probably skim a lot of it.

  8. Awwww Maja, I'm sorry you didn't enjoy this book! I actually loved Divergent and I thought Insurgent was better than Divergent. Tris did frustrate me at times such as how she did not trust Four enough in the book but wow, I'm interested in listening to the audiobook now since you said the narrator was good!

    Anyway, awesome and honest review, Maja! <3

  9. Awww I'm so sorry this book didn't work out for you Maja :( Tris was really whiny and it did get infuriating up to a point as she kept risking her life constantly, but I think I loved it that little bit more than you because of Four, I loved the side we got to see of him in this book. I'm sorry this has put you off the rest of the series, but at least you gave this book a shot! A great honest review my love! :)

  10. It's always interesting seeing reviews of books where I had totally different opinions. I understand where you come from though. Great review!

  11. Disappointing when you don't love a book. Thanks for the review!

  12. Maybe I'll wait for book three to come out before I read this. I loved Divergent but I find whining & self-pitying very annoying too. I can see being sad over Will but it was a kill or be killed situation. What could you do?

    Thanks for the excellent and honest review. :)

  13. LMAO! Oh, Maja. Your little opening their had me snorting like a pig. Funny how books about nothing don't work as well as TV shows about nothing (ie Seinfeld, Girls).

    I still haven't read Divergent and really have no interest in doing so. I guess I'll be skipping out on this series all together. I've already had my fill of books about nothing this year (Across the Universe).

  14. I really hated this book. I finished it and still haven't reviewed it, nor will I probably ever finish a review. To me, there was honestly not one thing that redeemed this book. People get excited about the ending and "cliffhanger" and I just wanted to say, "WHAT?! ARE YOU EVEN PAYING ATTENTION? THIS WORLD MAKES NO SENSE!" I was just shaking my head in agreement throughout your entire review. I'll read the third book but it will mostly be just to see how the author tries to close up this mess. I was just thinking of a visualization of the books: Imagine, if you will, that a book, it's characters, plot points, world building, etc. are all cattle. In Divergent, the cattle were fenced in but there were a few holes in the fence where animals kept running out. In Insurgent, every single animal escaped and is just running around the countryside. What is the possibility that Roth can wrangle it all under control for book 3? Yeah, I thought not.

  15. Great review, even if I did enjoy Insurgent you picked up on the not so brilliant bits.

  16. Yay! Someone who has similar opinions. I was so freaking excited to read Divergent (I finally got to it a couple of weeks ago) and all I could think was THIS is what everyone's so in love with? It was such a let down. Sigh. Sometimes, I just don't get it.

    It will be interesting to see if I get any haters when my review goes up next month.

  17. I liked this book, just not as much as everyone else. I am looking forward to Insurgent, just not particularly dying for it. Maybe I'll re-read Divergent to see if I love it the second time around :)

    Irene Jennings of Photo Booth NC


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