The second installment in the Divergent saga, which charts the rise to power of Tris among the bloody warfare of dystopian Chicago, as she tries to save her friends, family and city from war while grappling with her own inner conflicts. Insurgent is the second installment in Roth's Divergent trilogy, the first book of which has already been reviewed. Set in the future among the survivors of post-apocalyptic America, in Chicago, the survivors and their children are divided into five factions based on personality type or family affiliation: Amity, Erudite, Abnegation, Candor and Dauntless. When teenagers come of age, an aptitude test determines which faction is most suitable for them. The protagonist Tris Prior is a member of Dauntless, as are her friends, though she was born in an Abnegation family, and her dirty secret - that she is a Divergent, or in other words does not fit narrowly into any one faction - is something that she has so far hidden in order to avoid becoming a target in a rapidly escalating war between the factions in the previous novel.
Click here to see the rest of this review
Tris and her friends - her romantic interest Tobias, her brother Caleb and friends Peter and Marcus - seek refuge in a camp protected by the Amity faction. They were unwittingly a part of an Erudite plan to kill the Abnegation, and Marcus knows the Abnegation died to hide some secret, though he won't reveal what it is. However, Erudite soldiers track them to the camp and a fight erupts, forcing Tris and her friends to flee, but they end up prisoners in the Candor camp until an Erudite infiltration (led by an ex-Dauntless named Eric) ends up killing many of the Candor, which Tris and her friends do not want. As always, the battle for control ends up happening through the mind-altering powers of advanced serums, which the Erudite (led by the antagonist from the first novel, Jeanine) use to turn Dauntless soldiers into obedient robots, but which does not work on Divergents like Tris. Tris manages to overpower Eric until backup arrives in the form of Dauntless soldiers, who then elect Tobias, Tris and Harrison as their new leaders. Tobias executes Eric for his crimes. Caleb and Peter have disappeared, however.
There is a race now to destroy the Erudite, who have reacted by creating a new controlling serum which works from over distances - one which will cause Dauntless to kill themselves on a regular basis until the Divergents step forward and reveal themselves. While Tris attempts to save some Dauntless from acting on this serum, she does not save all of them, and in guilt and sadness she decides to sacrifice herself to the Erudite in case it saves lives. To her shock, Tris finds that Caleb and Peter have betrayed her and are working for the Erudite. Tris is made a subject of test serums under Jeanine's supervision, and then finds that Tobias came after her to try and save her - and is now a test subject too. Jeanine mentally tortures Tobias to try and make him give up the location of refugee areas where factionless people and other ex-faction people are hiding, but Peter, remembering his debt owed to Tris because she saved his life once, saves them. He tells Jeanine he will execute them, but once he has a chance to get them alone, lets them escape. Tris insists that Peter come with them, and he comes knowing that he will die if he remains behind now.
At the Dauntless safe house, Marcus reveals that Jeanine now possesses the secret that the Abnegation died trying to protect, and that the only way to stop the Erudite from winning and preventing the destruction of the secret in the upcoming battle, is to broadcast the secret to all the factions. In the ensuing battle against simulations in the Erudite camp so that one of the Dauntless can hack into Erudite computers, Tris manages to fight her way through, but another Dauntless kills Jeanine before they can interrogate Jeanine on how to get into her computer.
In the wake of this bloodbath, the factionless emerge as the new political power, as they outnumber the survivors of the factions, and will lead the new government. Tobias plays the secret that Marcus and the Abnegation knew about: it is a video, in which a woman named Amanda explains how the factions of Chicago were created. They are the result of centuries of genetic engineering, which eventually went out of control and led to extremely narrowed and incomplete personalities. The factions were created in order to restore balance of values and personality traits, and the city was sealed off from the rest of the country in order to provide the engineered genes from spreading. However, the engineers always knew that nature would eventually correct itself, and that is how the Divergents began to appear. The faction Amity had instructions to open up the city and connect with the rest of the country once the Divergents had grown to a significant portion of the population. And on that explosive and shocking note, the novel ends.
Best part of story, including ending:
I enjoyed the raised stakes and character development for Tris and her friends (though "friends" is a loose word for many of the characters in this series).
Best scene in story:
When Peter tells Tris that he won't save her again next time, and Tris replies that she might not spare him next time.
Opinion about the main character:
I loved Tris' guts and determination, it's nice to see an empowered but NOT entitled female protagonist.
Tris, a teenage who possesses the characteristics of different factions, continue to struggle for peace and acceptance in this second book of the Divergent series. Beatrice "Tris" Prior lives in a city where the members of the society are divided into five factions: Abnegation or the selfless faction, Amity or the peaceful faction, Candor or the honest faction, Dauntless or the fearless faction, and the Erudite or the intelligent faction. A person is born with a certain faction, but when they turn 16, they attend a Choosing Ceremony where they can freely select which faction to join. They would become initiates of their chosen faction and must pass the rites. If they will fail, they will be sent away to live as a factionless.
Tris was born with Abnegation parents, but during the Ceremony, she chose the Dauntless. Despite choosing a faction which has the highest attrition rate for its initiates, Tris was able to pass and become a full Dauntless. Their faction's main purpose is to provide security for the entire city. At the end of the first book, the Erudite, the group responsible for education and scientific advancement, used a simulation serum on all the Dauntless. The serum allowed the Erudite to access the minds of the Dauntless so that they can control them for their own benefit. The Erudite's first agenda: kill all the members of the Abnegation, for reasons yet fully unknown. But Tris was Divergent, a person who can be profiled for more than one faction, thus presenting a complex mind which allowed her to resist the effects of the simulation serum. Tris was able to save the Abnegation, but at the expense of her parent's lives.
Insurgent begins right after the events of Divergent. Tris, the girl who was responsible for preventing the total annihilation of the Abnegation faction, travels to the Amity compound with her brother Caleb, Peter, Tobias (previously known as Four), and Marcus. There, they met the other refugees from the Abnegation, the ones who survived the attack by the Dauntless. Upon entering the compound, Tris and her friends were stripped off of their weapons and were provided food, shelter, and clothing. However, Tris was able to sneak in a gun, just to make sure of their safety. Inside her quarters, Tris hid the flash drive containing the simulation data which she and Tobias stole to stop the Erudite. The next day, the people from Amity declare that refugees from the war are welcome to enter their compound as long as they follow the set rules to maintain peace and quiet. This was done to make sure that the Amity are not taking sides in the ongoing war.
Soon however, traitors from the Dauntless and Erudite raided the Amity compound in search of the remaining Abnegation. Tris and Tobias barely managed to escape with Caleb and Susan, another girl from Abnegation who had affection towards Caleb. However, the train that they boarded was full of factionless, people that were not members of any of the five factions. What everybody did not know was the factionless are grouped together in order to survive. The party was escorted to the factionless compound where they met Evelyn, Tobias's mother who was long thought to be dead. Evelyn revealed that Tris's father was a member of the Erudite before deciding to switch factions. She also had plans of taking over the entire city, thus she asked help from Tobias to convince the Dauntless and other refugees to assist her in her plans. However, Tobias vehemently refused so he and Tris travelled to the Candor headquarters to find out what's happening, while Caleb and Susan left for another Abnegation safe zone.
When they arrived at Candor, they were immediately escorted to Jack Kang, a representative of Candor, who accuses Tobias of different crimes. Tris and Tobias were injected with truth serum and were placed under interrogation. Through the truth serum, anyone will be forced to answer a question truthfully. Tobias revealed a number of family secrets but it was there that Tris admitted she killed Will, despite the fact that she was able to fight the truth serum. Christina, a lover of Will, was in the audience, she and Tobias were shocked by the revelation. Christina and Will were both in the same initiation class as Tris, but Will was killed by Tris for self-defense when the simulation serum was still in effect.
Traitor Dauntless attacked the Candor compound, and shot a lot of people with a new simulation serum. But allied Dauntless were able to save the compound from being controlled by the enemies. Jack then arranged a meeting with Jeanine, the leader of the Erudite faction, in order to come into terms and minimize death tolls. During the meeting, Jeanine sent one of her minions as her representative while Tris, Tobias, and their Dauntless friends Lynn and Shauna, spied nearby. An encounter soon erupted where Shauna was shot.
Back in the Candor headquarters, the allied Dauntless held a meeting where they elected new leaders. Tobias was one of them. The remaining Dauntless returned to their compound, and Tobias and Tris then set a meeting with Evelyn. Tobias agreed to assist the factionless with their plans of taking over the city. However, Tris was reluctant and tried to warn Tobias. When a new type of simulation was activated by Jeanine, which caused members of the Dauntless to commit suicide unless the Divergent are surrendered to Jeanine, Tris decided to go to the Erudite headquarters to turn herself in. There she discovered that her brother Caleb was working with Jeanine to held develop the simulation serum. Tris was subjected to multitudes of test. Tobias tried to save Tris but was also captured.
When Jeanine felt that her tests on Tris are producing no significant results, she declared that Tris will be executed. However, Tris and Tobias were saved by Peter, a Dauntless she once saved. They proceeded to the old Abnegation sector where they learned that the Dauntless and factionless are ready to implement their plans. When Tris met Marcus, Tobias's father, she was informed the data that Jeanine stole and tried to hid from everyone else must be made public.
Tris travelled back to the Amity compound where she asked help from Johanna Reyes, the representative from Amity, and Cara, Will's sister. Together, they tried to infiltrate the Erudite compound to steal back Jeanine's data. At the same time, the Dauntless and factionless began their assault. Before Tris and Marcus were able to retrieve the data, Jeanine was killed by Tori, one of the new Dauntless leaders. Tori then declared Tris a traitor and had her arrested. Evelyn announced a new factionless government, and she appointed herself the leader.
While being held captive, Tris found out that Caleb and Tobias were able to retrieve the hidden data. A video was played showing a woman named Edith Prior, a possible ancestor of Tris. Edith revealed that everyone in the city was part of a government experiment. Due to the corruption experienced in the outside world, the members of the government decided to seclude a number of people where they established the faction system. This was done to save the humanity. She also informed them that once there are a significant number of Divergents present, the Amity, who guarded the gates going to the outside world, must re-open them once more.
Best part of story, including ending:
The book showed themes of political struggle and survival which were subtly masked behind romance.
Best scene in story:
The scene were Tris and his friends first arrived at the Amity compound was described in great detail, which reflects how the author was able to conjure creative descriptions of the location.
Opinion about the main character:
What I really hate about Tris is the fact that her emotions sometimes cloud her judgment. But despite this, Tris is a very persistent and brave person.