My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is the second installment in Roth’s Divergent trilogy. It continues the story of Tris, the Divergent who helped overthrow the Erudite faction’s plot to take over the governing of the dystopian society of a post-apocalyptic Chicago.
After finding the way to break the Erudite hold on their fellow Dauntless and stop the planned takeover, Tris and her companions find their way to Amity headquarters where they are given refuge. Erudite and their leader, Jeanine, aren’t finished. They want to round up the Divergent, those among the different factions who have an affinity for more than one faction. Tris finds out there is a secret that the Abnegation, including her parents who were both killed in the uprising, were guarding from being discovered. She determines to find out what that secret is. She and Tobias, along with several other Dauntless, escape Amity and find refuge with the factionless. Tobias learns that his mother, who he believed dead, is alive and is one of the factionless leaders. She tries to persuade Tobias to join Dauntless with her people in finding this information. Tris and Tobias join in an invasion of Erudite headquarters, Jeanine is killed, and they learn that the factionless now rule in place of Erudite. But the secret information has been found and when it is broadcast to the general population, they learn that the factions were created by a group of peacekeepers after the collapse of society and were locked away in Chicago for a specific purpose and were supposed to eventually be allowed out into the greater world again.
It sounds a bit disjointed, I know, but I am trying to avoid too many spoilers here. It should make some sense if you’ve read the first book. This one picks up five days after the attack at the end of book one. All of the action still takes place in the nearly deserted city of Chicago. The setting is still pretty bleak and highlights the feeling of isolation and brokenness of the world. Most of the characters from the first book are here, with a few new additions, notably Evelyn, Tobias’ mother. Tris and Tobias are still sort of dancing around their attraction and commitment issues. Tris, in particular, seems a bit– two-faced, maybe. She comes down hard on Tobias when she thinks he is not telling her the full truth about something, yet she does the very same thing to him throughout the book. She is also dealing with some very real PTSD issues related to her shooting and killing Peter in the attack at the end of the first book. And Tobias is his own teenaged boy trope- moody, broody, and often unpleasant. Still, the characters feel real and if the emotional aspects come across a bit strongly at times, well, we are dealing with a bunch of teens here. Action runs throughout the book with only short breaks between fast and furious. Info dumps are mainly handled by Tris fretting over either Tobias or the clues she uncovers about the real purpose of their isolation in the city. The ending sets up the cliffhanger for the third book reasonably well.
I listened to this as an audiobook, and that is where most of my complaints lie. Emma Galvin is the narrator, and she reads the book with an almost breathless urgency that got a bit tiring after a while. It was like listening to someone on the brink of panic all the time. And then there was the word Erudite. She consistently pronounces it eriudite, which I know is the alternate pronunciation, but it bugs me. It just sounds wrong to my ears. I flinched every time she read it and it detracted from the story. I know this isn’t going to bother some, and it’s probably not a big deal. It was a thing for me.
Those bits aside, this was a decent second book in a trilogy, and sets up the mystery of the third installment. A good YA, with decent characters, a plot that flows from the first and leads into the third well, and plenty of action.
The third story in my urban fantasy series the Yo-Yo Files will be available on January 20 Until then, the second story in the series, Snake’s Alive, will be free on Smashwords. Five and Daemon, the first in the series is also available.
Urban fantasy like the above not your thing? Well, I have science fiction and more traditional fantasy stories available, as well. Look here for all the deets on the above series and the rest of my published stories.