Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Genre: YA Dystopian
Sequel to Divergent
Summary from the inside jacket: "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."
Whew! This novel is a whirlwind of excitement and action. Several times I wanted Roth to slow down so that I could process what had just happened, especially as I was still digesting the politics of the city and was trying to remember who certain people are. It will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat.
Tris, the main character, was not as self-reflective in this novel as Divergent, probably because her world is falling apart. But her struggles with grief and guilt were fascinating and heart-wrenching, and I felt as if I was experiencing her emotions along with her; Roth does an excellent job of portraying the depth of her character's emotions.
This novel is also realistic; there is a war raging in the city, and the author is not afraid to kill off characters, which I believe pulls the reader closer to the story-world and protagonist. Roth also makes the main love relationship true-to-life by showing that they had arguments and conflict. I didn't like this at first because it just made me annoyed with these two characters, but that's how real relationships are, no matter how deeply two people care for each other. The conflicts/arguments made this relationship that much more real and stronger. Sometimes I did think that Tris didn't seem too perturbed when her relationship with Tobias was rocky, and there needed to be more emotion and thoughts on her part about it.
Overall, I give this novel a 4 out of 5 for the above reasons and recommend it to 16 yr olds and up mainly because of violence. I liked Divergent more, but it is still an excellent novel.
What I learned: People have the potential for both good and evil inside them and are not usually one or the other. There is a difference between self-sacrifice and self-annihilation.
Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Genre: YA Dystopian
Last novel in the Divergent trilogy
"The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered-fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she's known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.
"But Tris's new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature-and of herself-while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love."
I won't say much about this novel because I'm afraid I will give something away if I do. I enjoyed seeing Tris continue to change and learn more about herself and love in this novel. I was a bit disappointed by the big unveiling of the mystery of what lies beyond the fence. I'm not sure why; it could be that it seemed slightly anti-climatic or cliche. I also kept waiting for the characters to use the airplanes in a cool way since they were mentioned several times, or even in a more symbolic way. Ah, well, authors aren't perfect. The decisions were more complex and had greater consequences in this book, which I enjoyed seeing and predicting.
Warning: this is a sad, possibly/probably tear-jerking novel. Knowing this might help as you read the end. It was hard reading it, but I'm glad Roth ended it the way she did. (You might be asking how?! but you must read it to find out! No spoilers here). I give Allegiant a 4 out of 5 and recommend it, like the others, for 16 yr olds and up.
What I learned: Life is hard, but people can help mend each other back together. (Isn't that a lovely idea?) Love is not easy either, but definitely worth fighting for.
Sometimes I hate finishing a series because I get attached to the characters, but not so much with these novels. I loved all these characters, but I'm ready to leave their emotionally-draining lives and let them recover, as I do as well.