Novel Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

I was pretty excited when Insurgent by Veronica Roth came out. Divergent reminded me of Hunger Games in so many ways (see review here), and I could hardly wait for the sequel. When this book came in the mail, my daughter and I debated who would read it first. Since I was in the middle of a book, she got it. 🙂 At last my turn came. I hopped in, full of eager anticipation. So the blurb!

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.

“New York Times” bestselling author Veronica Roth’s much-anticipated second book of the dystopian “Divergent” series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

Available at Barnes & Nobles || The Book Depository

Hmmm…. I guess I’m a bit shocked. I am beyond astonished I didn’t like it nearly as much as Divergent.

I’m really not sure what happened to this book. It’s like the manuscript came back from beta readers with LOTS of suggested changes. Then the changes were made, but no one read through it to make sure everything made sense in the end.

For example, [View Spoiler]

Anyway, the entire book is filled with plot holes and inconsistencies. The Erudite are supposed to be geniuses, or at least logical, but they spend more time asking questions everyone knows the answer to than applying their logic to important tasks… like not letting people with questionable loyalties guard Tris.

Character analysis. I was so not fond of Tris this time around. She was so intent on killing herself, I’m not sure why she didn’t run back to the Dauntless compound and throw herself into the pit. It certainly would have been more effective than risking her life, so others felt obligated to save her and risk getting killed themselves.

Even my beloved Caleb fell through. There was a point I was so proud of him. I thought, now here’s a hero. Resourceful, dedicated, and level headed. Then I found that Caleb was just a simulation in Tris’s head. Talk about your major bummers. He turned out to be the biggest liar of all. And Tris continued to fawn over him until the end. I would have kicked his butt to the curb and never looked back. “To the left, to the left. Everything in the box to the left.”

The ending. I hit it and found it terribly anticlimactic. I think it was meant to be a cliffhanger… end in a way to make me eagerly anticipate the next in the series. But when I hit the big reveal, it was more with a shrug and an “oh.”

This book had so much potential to be good. Unfortunately, it dragged and most of the real story didn’t start until the last 100 pages.

So how did I come up with this rating. Despite my many complaints while reading Insurgent, I clung to a three star rating. I kept telling myself, this had to be at least three stars. After all, Divergent was pretty decent. Every time I hit one of those plot inconsistencies, which were many, many, my rating plunged to 2 stars. Then I’d read on and convince myself Insurgent would pull out of the slump… we had to make it to three stars. Then another plot hole would hit a page later.

I truly wanted to give this 3 stars, but this book was so poorly executed, it seemed dishonest to give it anything more than 2 stars. When I looked through other books which have earned 2 stars from me, this one didn’t even rank that high. I’m totally bummed and feel awful this book wasn’t better. I wish there was a way to take this book off the market and put it through a developmental editor before rereleasing it. Cut the filler, fix the plot screw ups, and make Tris more like the survival Tris in Divergent. This might inch its way to a 1.5-star read, but I hesitate to even go that far.

As it is, I don’t see myself purchasing the next book in this series. I feel like something went horribly wrong, and the people the author should have been able to trust to tell her the truth fell through. I read Divergent and know the author can do better. I’m just not willing to bet my money (or time) on more of the same I got from Insurgent.

I am Candor, hear my truth!

Novel Review: The Peculiars by Maureen Doyle McQuerry

As you’ll see below, the blurb has promise. It offers a little bit of all the genres I love. And I have to say, the cover is interesting. I definitely wanted to delve into the meat of things. So… before the review, the blurb!

This dark and thrilling adventure, with an unforgettable heroine, will captivate fans of steampunk, fantasy, and romance. On her 18th birthday, Lena Mattacascar decides to search for her father, who disappeared into the northern wilderness of Scree when Lena was young. Scree is inhabited by Peculiars, people whose unusual characteristics make them unacceptable to modern society. Lena wonders if her father is the source of her own extraordinary characteristics and if she, too, is Peculiar. On the train she meets a young librarian, Jimson Quiggley, who is traveling to a town on the edge of Scree to work in the home and library of the inventor Mr. Beasley. The train is stopped by men being chased by the handsome young marshal Thomas Saltre. When Saltre learns who Lena’s father is, he convinces her to spy on Mr. Beasley and the strange folk who disappear into his home, Zephyr House. A daring escape in an aerocopter leads Lena into the wilds of Scree to confront her deepest fears.

This book was provided by the publisher from NetGalley
Available at The Book Depository || Barnes & Nobles

This book surprised me a bit. I’d expect a lot more, but by the end of the book, not much had been resolved.

I wasn’t at all fond of the heroine. She thought she was quite clever, but sadly she wasn’t very bright. She was a horrible judge of character, made extremely poor decisions, and pretty much made life difficult for those around her with her actions. I honestly can’t think of one thing the main character did which enhanced the book.

For the most part, she acted more like a secondary character than the star of the show. As such, it made it difficult to want to follow her journey.

The ending had a cliffhanger feel to it. As I mentioned, little had been resolved. However, there’s no indication this is book one of a series.

Normally, I don’t stick with a book this long (34 days, Goodreads says). However, the book was like following breadcrumbs. I kept expecting more… hoping an event would redeem the entire book. Alas, this book remain just shy of interesting–enough appeal to get me to read a few paragraphs at a time but not enough to keep me engaged for very long.

I started this book expecting to truly enjoy it. I’m just so shocked I found so little to like about it. Overall, this book left me unsatisfied.