Audiobook Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

19 02 2013

Insurgent by Veronica Roth (Divergent, Bk. 2)

Read by Emma Galvin

Harper Audio

Length: 11 Hrs 22 Min

Genre: Young Adut Dystopian

Quick Thoughts: Insurgent is a fast paced, action packed near future adventure novel filled with apocalyptic visuals, a fascinating world and a cast of fully drawn characters. Any fan of Young Adult Dystopian novels should be thrilled with Insurgent, and Roth should expect a horde of fans clamoring for the next book in this series.

Grade: B

They say the key to any relationship is communication, and since I want the relationship here with those who may stop by The Ole’ Guilded Earlobe Weblog to be a good one, let’s talk about communication. The more I read, the more I think 90% of plots in books would fall apart if people would just talk to each other. The problem is that literary characters have all these great reasons for not sharing valuable information. They may not trust someone, or worry that if they tell someone something that happened it would cause that person not to trust them. They spend so much time trying to figure whether or not to tell someone something, or exactly when the best time to reveal something is, that it allows the plot to go on an on, when in reality, the right word to the right person would have had the story wrapped up at about the novella range. It seems this lack of information sharing is even more prevalent in Young Adult fiction. Not only does a character not talk about things because the boy or girl of their dreams may not be all crushy on them if they do, adult won’t tell teens crap because they are just kids. Even if the young person is key to the survival of their group or the overthrow of the dystopic order, adults will rather keep it to themselves than tell some a young person whether it be a bratty outsider or their own responsible progeny. So, when I think of all the important traits a young adult protagonist needs, the most important is the ability to eavesdrop on adults. Hell, even Harry Potter probably would have ended up as basilisk chow if he didn’t have all the tools he needed to sneak around Hogwarts, and spy on adults. So no matter how competent, how cute and perky, or how tragic and moody you are, if you are the star of a Young Adult novel and you can’t find ways to gain information from unexpecting adults, the odds will never be in your favor.

After the shocking finale of Divergent, the Dauntless faction is split up, and those loyal to their faction are being hunted along with Abnegation by the tech savvy Erudite. Now, with the city on the verge of war, Tris and Four must search for allies and uncover secrets to prevent more death and the rule of as oppressive system, with the key to everything possibly being her Divergent status. Insurgent is a fast paced, action packed near future adventure novel filled with apocalyptic visuals, a fascinating world and a cast of fully drawn characters. I loved the thought and detail Roth put into her world, and how she lovingly developed each character, making them jump off the page. The plotting was strong, all though it did meander at moments. At points it got bogged down in the inner struggles of Tris, romantically, ethically and politically, but Roth does a good job pulling it all together. Yet, despite all the awesomeness she packed into this novel, I didn’t fully connect with it, the ways that many others seem to have. The problem, for me, was in the world she created. There’s nothing wrong with it, and she deftly creates this interesting societal structure, but it didn’t ring true for me. One of the things I love about dystopians is following the natural extrapolations of the process of the breakdown of our society. Like with Divergent, I had trouble seeing the structure of Roth‘s world being a natural development of the world we live in. I felt like I do when I try and read comic books, the world just doesn’t fit exactly for me. It was like I was in the Matrix, and not a true version of the world. Now, I understand there is a reason for this, and Roth does take steps to explain some of this feeling, but, I still found myself feeling a bit cold as I read it. All that being said, my qualms where more due to my preferences as a reader, and not any problem with this book. Any fan of Young Adult Dystopian novels should be thrilled with Insurgent, and Roth should expect a horde of fans clamoring for the next book in this series.

Emma Galvin again gives a solid reading of Insurgent. She is fast becoming one of my favorite Young Adult narrators based on the thoughtful detail she puts into her work. Galvin doesn’t assume that the main character sounds like her, but uses her voice to reflect the character that Roth creates. Galvin does a great job pacing the many elaborate action sequences that Roth sets up, keeping the flow, yet never muddling the action. Insurgent is a wonderfully produced and narrated audiobook. The characters feel real, and Galvin gives the setting a hyper reality that seems to fit in with the author‘s intent. It’s nice to have a Young Adult novel narrated in a way where the teenagers seem like teenagers, and the adults seem like adults.

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3 responses

19 02 2013
russell1200

It is a fairly common illusion to think that the world would be better if people would just listen to you. Most people spend at least some time as flies on the walls of disaster.

I have come to learn, and I think this is common with age, that it is not the listening that is a problem, but the caring about others opinions.

My son (age 9) is a classic case. He always wants us to hear his side of the story, but is generally because of his youth unable to empathise with other viewpoints when under stress/frustration.

19 02 2013
Nise' (Under the Boardwalk)

I often yell at the characters to just talk to each other, but agree, if that happened, the story would be over! Even though this book was a page turner for me, I was a bit underwhelmed, but do look forward to the final book.

16 03 2013
Rachel Bradford

I really enjoyed Insurgent but I think that part of it was that I was in the mood to really love it. 🙂

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