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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Audible Book Review: Insurgent: Divergent, Book 2 by Veronica Roth

This is an engaging story with strong emotions, good action and surprising twists. The audio is well done if you prefer listening to reading.
Play Insurgent: Divergent, Book 2

Insurgent: Divergent, Book 2
Genre: Dystopian
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0
Insurgent: Divergent, Book 2 | [Veronica Roth] 

Publisher's Summary
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.

This story picks up after the initial battle between the Dauntless and Erudite that closed out the first book, Divergent. Tris and Tobias (Four) are on the run with others of the Dauntless who survived the attack. They must seek ‘asylum in either Amity or Candor.  But the peace loving Amity faction doesn’t want to get involved or take sides.  They might provide shelter but they will not provide protection.  When conflict breaks out they learn some unpleasant control systems are activated.

Pushed on to Candor, Tris and Tobias are challenged as traitors based on a negative interpretation of  the images of them from the battle. When forced to respond under truth serum they reveal secrets they have held from each other. Can they truly love each other if they have not been able to trust fully?

They are threatened at Candor too when the Erudite use more Dauntless ‘drones’ under simulation serum to attack in order to weed out all the people who are Divergent.  The Erudite leader is set on experimenting on the Divergent until she can develop a serum that will control them. The only other alternative is to eliminate the Divergent. Tris is a primary candidate for the testing.

As Tobias chooses to work with the Factionless, Tris secretly works with a leader from her parents’ home, the Abnegation.  Although Tris knows that Tobias will see this as a betrayal, she is convinced that certain truths must be revealed at whatever cost.

I really loved the underlying messages regarding human diversity that Ms. Roth portrays.  Although the factions have specific strengths it is interesting to see individuals with mixed traits cross the boundaries of the groups.  Tris has to deal with the guilt and grief of killing one of her good friends in the first book.  She struggles with this and, although a bit harsh, I liked the strength of one of her new friends who pushes her out of her depression saying “You are Dauntless. It’s time you acted like it! People die. That’s what happens in war.”  Tris has to make hard choices and these added to the intensity of the book.

There was a section in the middle that dragged a bit for me. I had to recall that Tris is only 15 or 16 trying to cope with her family loss, her guilt and the war surrounding her. Also, I recognize that for teenagers first love can be a consuming thing.

The action picked up for the ending confrontations. There are twists and secrets that leave a stunned group of combatants at the close of this book. I can think there are a wide variety of choices for the characters to face in taking their next steps.

This series is really good entertainment with some interesting observations of social behavior underlying the governmental system set up.  I bet this would make good discussion material for classes in high school and college. I look forward to learning where the author takes the characters in the final book.

I enjoyed Ms.Galvin's narration which is steady and strong. She provides good character inflection and emotional intensity for this engaging story. 

This is from my own Audible Library.

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