For fans of teenage adventure and bravery, twenty-two year old author, Veronica Roth renews the fervor of The Hunger Games with her Divergent trilogy – a fantasy young adult thriller based in the not too distant future. With Insurgent, the second book now on the New York Times best seller list, Divergent – the first book – is already in paperback. Those predictable cliffhangers are torture, so I bought the paperback, placed it on my shelf, and waited patiently for my number to come up on the library waitlist for Insurgent. After reading the two books in less than two days, I was rewarded with yet another hanging element – to be published Fall, 2013. Maybe the intermittent movies will sustain the momentum.
Beatrice Prior, aka Tris, lives in a world of the future with limited choices at sixteen years old. When her aptitude test fails to designate a “faction,” one of several adult living options with names defining the group, she defies tradition by leaving her home in the selfless, community-oriented Abnegation group, and opts for the challenge of the exciting warrior Dauntless clan. Through her harrowing training, she connects with other teens, vying for acceptance, and meets her true love, an eighteen year old instructor, Tobias, nicknamed Four.
The story follows the formula of a coming of age exploration, with futuristic omens and narrow escapes from both internal insecurities and jealous friends. The plot is fast-paced, easy reading, and Tris is a match for Katniss, and a fun beginning to Roth’s futuristic rebel cause.
Insurgent continues the quest for a better world that will use the talents of the five factions: Erudite (the brainy ones), Amity (peace and love for all), Candor (mostly honest), Dauntless (brave), and the idealistic Abnegation (selfless). Tris, with her brother Caleb and true love Tobias, along with foils Peter and Marcus, find the factionless – the future version of homeless – who have banned together to form a rebel army.
The action in this book has more romance and violence, with references to teen jealousies and clicks, and not as satisfying as the first book. The ending is the requisite cliffhanger, but the dystopian world view seems hopeless.