I HAVE DONE BAD THINGS.
I CAN'T TAKE THEM BACK,
AND THEY ARE PART OF WHO I AM.
Tris has survived a brutal attack on her former home and family. But she has paid a terrible price. Wracked by grief and guilt, she becomes ever more reckless as she struggles to accept her new future.
Yet if Tris wants to uncover the truth about her world, she must be stronger than ever... because more shocking choices and sacrifices lie ahead. From GoodReads.
“Do remember, though, that sometimes the people you oppress become mightier than you would like.”
On finishing Divergent which I thought was good but not great, I had a deal of reluctance about reading Insurgent. I was not wowed enough by the first to want to immediately dive in to the second and I have heard very conflicting comments about the sequel. When I did start this book I made sure I was well and truly ready for it and I got off to a good start. I didn’t have even a fraction of the questions about the premise (which drove me mental in Divergent) and the pace was moving along quite nicely.
After stopping the deadly simulation, Tris, Four and the rest of the small party need a chance to regroup and make a new plan. Their hopes are often dashed as no matter where they try to go, they are followed, ambushed and hunted down. Eventually they touch base with the Factionless which sets them on a new path with renewed vision. Unlikely alliances are made and broken, and we discover that the Abnegation were slaughtered to protect the secret about The Big Outside.
As I said, I’d started off really enjoying Insurgent and telling people how much better it was and how much I liked it. And while for the first week of reading I powered through, the further I went the more annoyed I became to the point where I was deliberately avoiding reading it because I wasn’t enjoying it.
We are in a factionless storehouse, and the factionless, who are supposed to be scattered, isolated, and without community…are together inside it. Are together, like a faction.
While I was impressed with the progression of the plot – we visit the Amity faction grounds, we spend time under Erudite control, and we find out that my suspicions about the powerlessness of the Factionless was confirmed. I really enjoyed the time spent with the Factionless, despite their abominably unsanitary eating practices, because it perfectly answered my question about how a group of outcasts, some with very specific training and skill sets, were able to band together and used being overlooked and underestimated to their advantage – and for this reason the ending had me laughing at the stupidity and blindness of the other factions. All of this seemed really promising and I was pleased that Roth was managing to overcome Middle Book Syndrome.
“Don’t pretend this is only my problem,” I say. “If I don’t trust you, you don’t trust me either.”
And then Tris and Four made the decision to stop talking to each other because of reasons or something. Tris and I will never be friends. While I admire her strong willed, determined fighting spirit, I find her a hypocrite and it always manages to come between us. But I would not once have thought I would describe her as stupid, yet that’s what she became. Granted, when I was sixteen both my parents weren’t shot in front of me, I didn’t shoot my best friend and no one tried to overthrow my government. Tris has had a nasty case of PTSD to work through in Insurgent and I think Roth did a good job of expressing Tris’s experience. However I could not understand the reason why Tris and Four suddenly stopped trusting each other with their thoughts and feelings and why they both simultaneously decided to stop communicating altogether.
These two have both walked through each other’s Fear Landscapes multiple times – they know each other’s values, big events, motivations and thought processes. Not to mention that being put into someone else’s fear scenarios is the best kind of ‘What are your hopes and dreams?’ discussion you could possibly have. Yet these two both seemed to forget each how well they knew the other time and time again in ways that didn’t make an ounce of sense. I can only fathom that this was done to add Drama and Feels to their relationship to keep the plot going, but all it achieved was a giant wedge between the two of them and a gaping chasm in any ability I had to relate to them. I was so completely frustrated by these two that I was actually hoping Tris would die a book sooner.
“You are not your parents. You are a sixteen year old girl who doesn’t understand that the value of a sacrifice lies in its necessity, not in throwing your life away! And if you do that again, you and I are done.”
In that vein, I enjoyed the subtle remarks in the this book about what would happen if Tris died, because Roth was clearly planting the suggestion of what was to come. It is making me curious to find out exactly how it happens in Allegiant though because Tris has made a transformation in to Bella 2.0, making pointlessly self sacrificing decisions that hurt other people when they try to rescue her. As I said, I understand that Tris has a lot of PTSD and with that goes a degree of Depression which is affecting all her decision making skills – or lack thereof. Both these diseases have the power to be totally debilitating and Tris IS lacking from a sense of self-worth because of this, but anytime someone ‘had to die’, Tris put both hands up and danced on the edge of her seat harder than Hermione trying to answer a question. This rarely ever served any purpose and was completely at odds with her drive to avenge her parents and uncover the truth they died they to tell.
In terms of defeating Jeanine and Erudite, it makes even less sense and Tris is the one true bargaining chip they had to negotiate with and because part of what makes her ‘special’ is that she has traits for Erudite and was the best chance of understanding and defeating the enemy, however underutilised she was.
I still have a lot of questions about the whole concept of being Divergent. Jeanine takes Tris hostage to experiment on her and during the simulations that have been adjusted more specifically, Tris still manages to defeat them. But we are still no closer to understanding why. Tris notices that Four’s eyes are off and fights the simulation – so is it that Tris is simply more observant than others, even those that created the simulation, that makes her special? Or is it her decision to stab herself with a knife that bends what makes her Divergent in a ‘There is no spoon’ metaphor? OR, does her subconscious somehow notice that something is wrong and plant things for Tris to notice so that she ‘wakes up’? And, like with their belief that people can only show aptitude for ONE thing, do they honestly believe that there are only two reactions to a simulation; Normal or Divergent?
As much as I’m curious to see how Roth will pull off explaining the Divergent concept and how it fits in with this new narrative of The Outside that she’s set up, I’m still finding it very difficult to find the drive to continue reading the series. I want to see what kind of government the Factionless will set up, I want to know why Outside created the Factions for everyone in the first place and why they created this little bubble of a world and kept themselves away to hope that what grew was better. Do these things make me look forward to reading the book, though?