Insurgent (Divergent)

Insurgent - Veronica Roth It's taken me forever to write a proper review/reflection on "Insurgent" - primarily because I feel like I'm not sure what to say about its impact on me - it definitely didn't take me on the rollercoaster ride that "Divergent" had done. If anything, it left me with more questions and liking fewer characters than I had in the previous novel. I thought quite a bit about it and realized, I still liked Tris as a character, but I think her characterization in this book was much weaker, and there were so many pacing issues that I thought "What happened? What the heck happened?"Don't get me wrong, I actually did enjoy parts of this novel - the action scenes, when they hit, were decent, and towards the end of the novel, even if it left me with some pressing questions about the big plot point that's supposed to lead into the next installation of the series, I thought "Insurgent" was okay. It's rather underwhelming for a second novel in a series, however, and I expected the worldbulding and more plot threads to be tied in this one. Unfortunately that wasn't to be.The novel picks up where the previous one left off, with Tris and Four on the move and arriving at an Amity haven where they can stay as long as they don't make trouble there. Of course, they end up making trouble to an extent, as Tris and Four end up clashing with some of the locals. Not to mention they're being chased by the Erudite, so a lot of the time (at least for a good portion of the book - I want to say a little over half of the book) they're spending their time on the run. There's a lot of bickering between Four and Tris that didn't really make sense to me, and while there are some decent action scenes, it doesn't feel like much happens in a good portion of the book. Granted, I like Tris's proactive nature, but I don't know how I felt about her sacrifices and noted betrayals through the story. She did what she had to do, I didn't see where she had to keep guilt tripping herself in spurts for the things that she did in the midst of surviving. And what was with her throwing herself into the fire of sacrifice in this book? Sometimes even for conflicts that were so petty that she knew they were traps and ended up being rescued by people who had the sense to come up with backup plans which she did not have. Judging from her characterization in the first book, she should've known better, she should've been more of an apt fighter and seen it coming. Ugh. Tobias/Four actually turned me off in this novel. I liked him more in the last book because so little was known about him and he seemed kinder, yet firm to Tris - more of an aide, but at arms length in spurts. But here? He comes across as a big, untrusting jerk. The on again/off again relationship dynamic they had in this novel seemed so contrived that it slowed the momentum of the novel more than it played up any kind of strengths in conflict. There are quite a few character deaths in the novel, but instead of them having impact the way some of the losses did in the previous novel, it's more like they come and go. I mentioned in my review of Suzanne Collins' "Mockingjay" that I watched the conclusion of an anime series called "Space Runaway Ideon" where the character deaths depressed me because there were so many and there was such a build up of getting to know those characters over time and the way they met their end made my heart hurt to the point of numbing aches, even when the death sequences themselves came in rapid succession. Here? The character deaths weren't as potent. Here, you get to know a character and either they're gone or they don't have proper enough scene time to develop beyond a base structuring.Then there's the ending, which I had mixed feelings about. On one hand, there's a conspiracy at hand and a betrayal I didn't see coming, but reflecting upon it - it didn't make a whole lot of sense. There were some plot threads that I felt weren't tied even as the momentum built in the last portions of the novel, but I wasn't satisfied with the way the book left on the cliffhanger and didn't at least address a few of those untied threads.I started off wanting to give this novel around 2.5/3 stars, but upon reflection, it's probably a solid two stars for me. I liked parts of it, but I didn't love it enough to give it higher. I'm still curious about the next installment in the series, but it disappointed me considering the strengths of the previous novel.Overall score: 2/5