Friday, July 26, 2013

The Undefined Gamer: "Insurgent" Review

We did it before it was a movie.

       Taking place shortly after Divergent, Insurgent finds Beatrice
Prior in the middle of a faction war. After the simulation attacks in
the first book that involved mind-controlled Dauntless soldiers
slaughtering scores of the selfless Abnegation politicians, the
Dauntless, now awakened thanks to the efforts of Tris and Tobias in
Divergent, now find themselves split in two. Half of Dauntless allies
themselves with the Erudite (who were responsible for the whole
mind-controlling incident), wearing blue bands reminiscent of orange
Nazi armbands, signifying their betrayal; while the remaining
Dauntless flee to Candor headquarters to face their former faction
members in battle.
      Meanwhile, Tris, Tobias, Caleb, Peter, and Marcus have fled to
Amity, seeking refuge in the faction devoted to farming and peace.
Their safe haven won't last long as the war intensifies, plunging Tris
face first into a conflict that will see her graze death on many an
occasion, and be forced to see friends new and old die.
      When reading Divergent, I always thought that the book was too
similar to The Hunger Games. Both are 1st person POV novels about
dystopian societies in which certain groups of people are separated in
order to accomplish certain tasks. In The Hunger Games, you have the
districts, however in Divergent, you had the factions. Cynthia Roth
seemed to have detected that, as Insurgent rips the Divergent series
from this Hunger Games model and basically does whatever it wants.
      Unlike most YA series of this nature, that mostly follow the plot
of "defeat a big bad, return peace to the galaxy," Insurgent breaks
this model by not having the main focus be on oppressive dictator
Jeanine Matthews, but rather the information that she's holding from
the public. Information that could change everything. Harry had his
Voldemort. Katniss has her President Snow. But does Tris have her
Jeanine? Not really, no.
      Lets just say that it is unlikely that we'll be seeing much of
Jeanine in Allegiance.
      Yet, this model breaking is perhaps one of the best qualities in
Insurgent (as well as Divergent). Characters that Roth treats as
almost untouchable die in a blink of an eye, Events that you think
she's building up to in Allegiance are resolved in a snap of your
fingers. The novel's plot is so unpredictable and chaotic that it
perfectly captures how it is really like to be in a war.
      Talking about realism, like Divergent, Allegiance masterfully wields
its 1st person narrative. You really feel like you know Tris.
Considering the fact that the book handles tough issues like suicide
(Tris wishes to join her dead parents), rejection, and false love, the
book's POV serves only to amplify these issues to the reader.
      As for stuff under the hood, Insurgent is no Great Gatsby. Expect to
find standard amount of literary elements in this work. It's a 1st
person POV YA novel. Think of the target audience. Teenagers. Face it
folks, the enjoyability of the novel is Cynthia Roth's first priority.
      Speaking of enjoyability, Insurgent's enjoyability is double that of
Divergent. A smooth read, you'll find yourself gobbling up pages
faster than you can potato chips.
      Definitely worth a read, Insurgent takes the Divergent series to
places no one expected. I'm looking forward to Allegiance, and expect
the Divergent movie to surpass The Hunger Games in at least reviews,
if not in the box office.
      By the way, Insurgent's Tobias and Peter are homages to the Animorph's
Tobias and Ender's Game's Peter. That's just kickass.

Insurgent gets 5 stars out of 6

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