Insurgent - Veronica Roth " I have a message for the Divergent.
I am Divergent.
This is not a negotiation.
No, it is not.
It is a warning
I understand.(...)
...this will happen again.
It will never happen again."

Intense. Intense. Intense. Wow! What an explosive installment. Action packed from start to finish, Insurgent does not disappoint! While it was, in some ways quite different than Divergent; it did have the same all-consuming feel, the same fierceness as it's predecessor. All things considered it feels like a fitting second book in this planned trilogy. I feel like there's no other way the story could have gone. While it doesn't suffer from the dreaded 'sequel-slump', I still enjoyed it less than I did Divergent, which is why I'm docking a star in my rating. That being said, I still think it was one of the better books I've read recently.

Insurgent picks up precisely where Divergent left off, and from the start Veronica Roth doesn't waste any time with allusions to her previous work. However, she has offered up a handy recap on her blog for those of you who, like me, desperately needed a refresher having read her first book sometime last year. I thought this was perfect because no space is lost in this book; it gets down to business straight away and doesn't. let. up. Our hero Tris is still living in the aftermath of the events of Divergent and the effect is staggering, as it should be realistically speaking. She has suffered and lost so much and it's a challenge to come to grips with everything. My heart really went out to her. All that loss and no time to cope, or rest.

One of my favorite things about Tris is that she is a kick-a** female lead. Roth seems especially gifted at character development. Tris evolved nicely during the course of Divergent and she continues to evolve and change throughout Insurgent. In the first part her decisions are shaped in large part due to her affected state of mind and while she could be a bit frustrating bordering on aggravating; it was also really believable. I was annoyed with her but I could also understand. As the story progresses however, so does Tris. I thought it was realistically and seamlessly brought forth. Very human and very real. Sometimes reality is tough and frustrating...but thankfully Tris doesn't stay stuck in her despair throughout.

Another thing I find the need to praise Roth for, is her ability to keep focus of her story. This is not a romance novel and she manages to keep the love-stuff as an enjoyable bonus throughout. I'll admit that some aspects of the romance were annoying to me at in Insurgent, something I didn't feel at all during Divergent: It seemed to me that Tris and Four should have just been honest about most of the secrets they were hiding. I can see it was done to keep the intrigue at a maximum but I just felt that they lied and argued a lot, and much of it was pointless and could have easily been avoided. It's nothing that was entirely detrimental to the story itself, but it felt a bit much at times. With how their relationship developed in the first book, I just expected a bit more from them.

As far as the main plot goes though, I have no complaints. Everything progressed at a perfect pace and rhythm and seemed to flow effortlessly out of the events of book one and what was happening in this book. And there are plenty of surprises along the way. I love an author that can surprise me and when you find out the twist, it still holds up as logical with what came before. Coupled with the addictive style in which Roth continues to write in, and we have an amazing addition to this trilogy.

I also really enjoyed learning more about each individual faction along with Tris. As she better understands each faction's strengths, weaknesses, mentalities, prejudices, and redeeming qualities so does the reader. I feel that this book really delved deeper into what was introduced previously. And learning the true nature of each faction, along with how they relate to one another was a fascinating highlight to me. Each faction has such a distinct mentality and set of values, it really adds to the depth of this unique dystopian world. I have to say that after finishing book 1, I already wanted more faction details, so I'm glad Roth delved in like she did this time around.

For those who haven't read it or finished it yet, the ending will make you want to freak out and curse the indefinite and increasingly cruel 2013 release date for the final book. One of my favorite aspects was learning so much about what it means to be 'Divergent' and how rare Tris is for having an aptitude for 3 factions. I look forward to how everything will wrap itself up in the conclusion to this intense and addictive tale!