Series: Divergent #2
Also in this series: Divergent, Allegiant
Published by Harper Collins on May 1st 2012
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian
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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.
This book picks up right where Divergent ends. If you have not yet read my summary of Divergent you can do so here. Like Divergent, this book is also from Tris’ POV. This is my least favourite of the books in this series. I’d like to point out that I haven’t read the Divergent side stories about Four and I don’t plan to. I’m not a fan-girl who needs to know what happens in-between and after and learn everything about the characters in a book.
Warning: This article contains spoilers.
The book starts as the survivors who escaped with Tris make their way to the Amity compound. There they are given a place to stay and the Amity decide together that they will not participate in the inevitable war. While in Amity, Tris cuts her hair to her shoulders. She is racked by grief over losing her parents but more so for the guilt she feels over shooting her friend Will. She does not confess this to anyone not even Tobias even though he directly asks her if there is anything else that’s bothering her besides her parents’ death.
Tris overhears a conversation between Johanna Reyes, of Amity, and Marcus and discovers that the simulation attack on Abnegation was orchestrated by Erudite to steal information that only the Government leaders had. He refuses to tell Johanna what this information is and later also refuses to tell Tris the truth when she confronts him.
Peter tries to steal the hard-drive from Tris’ room but she gets there in time and they both start fighting and are detained. Tobias takes the hard-drive from Peter but later gives Tris to hide in the same spot saying that it’s the last place Peter would expect it to be. While detained, Tris is given the amity serum for peace and happiness to calm her and avoid further confrontation between her and Peter. Johanna informs both of them that the Amity receive this serum, in mild doses, in the bread they eat.
Erudite and traitor dauntless come to the Amity compound to look for any dauntless among them, mostly caring about locating Tobias and Tris. Although they wore Amity clothing to avoid detection, Tobias is given away by his dauntless tattoos and shots are fired. Tris saves Peter when someone shoots at him. Tris however cannot fire a gun since she shot Will and freezes when someone tries to shoot her. Tobias saves her and they run trough fields trying to escape back to the city. Tris had also destroyed the hard-drive before the Erudite arrival to avoid them stealing what she believe was the only evidence of what they did.
Once inside the city, they take the train and meet Edward who takes them to a factionless compound where they meet Evelyn, Tobias’ mother who was believed to be dead. Tobias had apparently discovered this fact but had not shared it with Tris which shows you that neither of them trusted each other very much. They are told that the dauntless have been split into two and that the good ones were staying with the Candor while the traitors stayed with the Erudite. Tris and Tobias decide to go to Candor to be with their faction and friends. However, upon arrival they are both arrested under the assumption that they were involved in the simulation attack. It turns out there are other copies of the files on the city’s network which can be accessed at the other faction compounds.
They are both questioned under truth serum and Tris discovers that she can also fight the truth serum but still decides to finally tell the truth about killing Will. They are exonerated as traitors but Christina refuses to talk to Tris for what she did to her boyfriend Will. Tris is reunited with her friend Uriah, whose brother stayed with the Dauntless traitors but is later found to have been a spy trying to see what the Erudite were up to.
The Dauntless Traitors attack Candor headquarters and many people are shot with something that injects a simulation receptor into their bodies. Now the Erudite can force almost anyone to do their bidding through simulations. Thankfully not everyone is shot and they manage to capture Eric. The Dauntless vote for three new leaders (Tobias and Tori are voted and 1 other person). Tobias carries out Eric’s execution.
The Erudite forces Uriah’s girlfriend and two other kids, using a simulation, unto the roof. They repeat a message from the Erudite saying that if a Divergent doesn’t surrender to the Erudite for experimentation that they would continue to kill innocent people. They then attempt to jump of the roof. Two of the three are saved, but Uriah’s girlfriend falls and dies.
Tris sneaks off in the middle of the night to the Erudite compound to save others from a similar fate and is held as a prisoner. This is after she lies to Tobias and tells him that she will not go. She finds Peter there and he escorts her daily to different experiments that Jeanine is conducting on her. Tobias later tries to sneak into the Erudite compound and is captured and held prisoner. Tris is scheduled for execution and discovers that Caleb has been working as a spy for Jeanine. On her execution day, before she is injected with the death serum, Peter tells Tris to be brave. She is then injected and the heart monitor flat-lines. Peter takes Tris’ body out of the room and takes her down the hallway. But she isn’t dead; she was injected with another serum to simulate death but which Peter had dyed the same color as the death serum. Tobias is waiting in a room and the three of them escape to Abnegation where the factionless are now staying.
The factionless and some other faction defectors later attack Erudite but Tris and Christina (who has now forgiven Tris), stay behind to plot, with Marcus, how they will break into Erudite and steal the information that was previously stolen from Abnegation. They travel to Amity to meet with some Erudite defectors seeking refuge there, including Cara, Will’s older sister. Cara admits that she was the one who helped Peter to save Tris from execution. Tris, Cara, Christina, Marcus and some others sneak into Erudite compound but before they are able to steal the information Tris is captured by Tori, who is now a dauntless leader. Tori kills Jeanine and Tobias finds her and Tris in Jeanine’s private lab. Tris is arrested by the factionless for being a traitor and working with Marcus. Tobias is disappointed in Tris but she tries to convince him that the information on Jeanine’s computer will change everything. Tobias searches the computer and they find a video and show it on a large screen to everyone without Evelyn’s consent.
The video contains a message from one of the city’s first inhabitants. The city was set up with the factions many years ago. People volunteered to go and live inside the city in this different way of life in order that people would live in harmony until their offspring would possess an aptitude for more that one faction. These people with who did not fit into any one faction were to be called Divergent. When there are many Divergent, they are to head out into the rest of the world and go to help the people who started the city. The book ends there on a huge cliffhanger. At that point I was so glad I read all the books after they were all completed. I started the 3rd book shortly after.
I, personally, didn’t like this book all that much. I felt that Tris was being too stereotypical of what is expected of the protagonist in a Young Adult novel. She kept saying she would do one thing and did something else contrary to what others needed her to do but every thing kept working out for her. This seriously irritated me. She acted like she wanted to die and did many stupid things to put herself in danger not thinking about Tobias and how he would feel or even, how her parents would feel. She didn’t trust Tobias with her guilty secret of killing Will. I think if she had then the story could have gone differently. But it’s just a book and I can’t cope with too many what-ifs. The only reason I kept reading is because the secrets and surprises in the story were pretty good and I needed to know how it played out.
Insurgent won Veronica Roth a second Goodreads’ Choice award in 2012.