Insurgent by Veronica Roth picks up right where Divergent left off. It starts off at a good pace, but started to drag in the middle a bit for me, but picked up again at the end.
I found Tris to be a weaker character in the second book. She spends much of her time being afraid to hold a weapon or even defend herself when she is attacked because she is still upset at killing WIll. Halfway through the book I wanted to slap her and tell her to get over it already. The entire book is her going from one emotional crisis to the next. One moment Tris if for their world of factions and then she's against it. She stupidly goes off and risks her life thinking it will save others, but there is no logic to any of her actions.
The relationship between her and Tobias is rocky throughout the entire book. Now this may be a natural progression in their relationship as they move on from being hormonal, lovesick puppies. But after awhile I got tired of reading the scenes where they are together. Tobias constantly tells Tris to not be reckless; she promises to be careful, but then stupidly goes off and does something. And the constant lying between the two annoys me. He lets his daddy issues get in the way of anything Tris says. Then, Tobias stupidly goes off with his mother; a woman who abandoned him when he was a boy. If Ms. Roth wants to build their relationship she is going to have to build a real one; one where they stop keeping secrets .
Of course, many of the characters seemed weaker in this book and Caleb's betrayal was no surprise. I saw it coming in the first book.
Secrets abound in Insurgent. Besides Tris and Tobias not being truthful, Marcus has a huge secret which goes beyond trying to be important. Tris is the only one who sees Marcus' knowledge as important. But, Tobias ignores her sentiments, another annoying factor.
Jeanine has some secret knowledge about how to control the factions. The secret knowledge could have just been told to her instead of making her and the reader wait until the end to find out what it is. Though an interesting twist at the end, it didn't surprise me. It will be interesting to see how she ends it all in the third book.
And where was the world building? There wasn't much in Divergent, but the book was so fast paced that I didn't care. I figured that maybe there would be more information about how Tris' world came into being as she tries to learn the secret that Marcus has and stop Jeanine.
SPOILER-SPOILER-SPOILER-SPOILER: Jeanine dies at the end. I'm not sure how the story will continue with the villain dead at the end of the second book.
This book could have been better. It was nothing but a 500 page emotional rolloer coaster in Tris' head. It definitely suffers from second book syndrome. Most trilogies have this problem: the first book is great, the second one lags, and the third picks up the pace for an ok ending.
I do think the Ms. Roth needs to work a bit to help her writing mature. It still reads like someone fresh out of high school. Many of her sentences begin and end in the same way. They are the same length and lack variation. I know she's young and managed to get a publishing contract, but that doesn't make anyone a great writer. I am starting to wonder if the books got hyped up before they ever had a chance to be turned into something great.