When we first met Beatrice "Tris" Prior, she was leaving behind her selfless faction of gray-wearing Abnegators in order to join the thrill-seeking Dauntless, falling in love with a mysterious boy named Four, and trying to protect her deadly, dangerous secret: That in a world based on single-minded adherence to one of five distinct principles, she is one of the flexible-minded few who have been branded by the authorities as a dangerous Divergent. But in "Insurgent," the second book in Veronica Roth's dystopian trilogy, the secret is out—and by the secret, we mean ALL THE SECRETS.
Tris, along with the other surviving members of her family and faction, is struggling to survive in the wake of the Erudite massacre and government takeover that left most of Abnegation dead. Loyalties are being tested. Sides are being chosen. War is coming, and with it, a series of terrible choices. And Tris, haunted by guilt and grief over her role in the uprising (among other things, she was forced to murder her mind-controlled best friend), finds herself torn between the boy she loves, the responsibilities she can't escape, and the tantalizing promises of a man who claims to know the secret of what lies beyond the fall—a man who tried to destroy the life of the person she holds most dear.
"Insurgent" is a compelling follow-up to its predecessor, "Divergent" (although anyone trying to pick up the former without having first read the latter will be completely lost, so be forewarned.) The action and intrigue pick up without a hitch as Tris, Tobias and their straggling band of rebels seek shelter at Amity headquarters, the first of several faction stops for the fleeing survivors and a wise choice of setting by Roth. Each faction tests the asylum-seekers through the lens of its own ideology, putting Tris and co. through a fascinating psychological wringer that nicely illustrates the trilogy's overarching themes of free will and moral relativism...and, of course, there's plenty of tormented teen romance and no small amount of indiscriminate bloodshed. (Don't get too attached to any secondary or tertiary characters if you know what's good for you.) Though Tris' near-suicidal recklessness and overwrought exchanges with Tobias feel the slightest bit redundant by the book's conclusion, the imaginative action and glimpses of a sprawling conspiracy (hello, book three!) are serious attention-grabbers, and the portrait of a shattered, derelict, overgrown and abandoned Chicago is evocative as ever.
Have you read "Insurgent"? Are you itching for book three? Sound off in the comments and on Twitter!