Insurgent - Veronica Roth Maybe it's not this book, maybe it's me. If I recall correctly, I'd written in my review of Divergent that I found it hard to deal with the numerous plot holes and just the avalanche of inconsistencies and things that don't make sense in this series' world. The sequel has not rectified this, but while I should really just suck it up and ignore the deficiencies in world building, the truth is that I can't. If anything, these flaws have gotten more distracting and that's only made me more frustrated.

Once again, I have to wonder how on earth it is possible that this faction system even came about in the first place. And how is it that this society has managed to function under it for so long before this? Organizing the population into five groups (well, six if you count the factionless) based on their personalities and aptitudes just doesn't really make sense if you consider how much variation there is in human beings. But the book makes it sound so simple, using such clumsy and unsophisticated science and explanations to prop up these ideas, it's enough to make anyone with even a minimal understanding of human behavior to want to bang their head against a wall. I realize this is sci-fi/dystopian fiction, but the premise is just so implausible I found it difficult to suspend my disbelief.

It also doesn't help that I just don't find the main character and narrator Tris Prior to be all that interesting, and so by extension I don't find the other big part of this novel, which is the romance, to be very interesting. I hate to say this as well, but Tris reads a bit like a Mary Sue, always central to the conflicts at hand, and is more talented and extra special even amongst the other Divergent. She's sixteen, but also appears more competent and knowledgeable than everyone else, which includes the adults.

Though to be fair, it doesn't seem like any adult or any character for that matter in these books are capable of much complex reasoning or thought. I admire the author for wanting to tackle some very adult and mature subjects in these books, but it sort of lessens the impact when everyone seems to have a five-year-old's view of the world. Here's one example: Tobias, our main protagonist's love interest and prominent member of Dauntless, left his old faction in his youth to escape his abusive father Marcus, and the response by some of the other Dauntless is to call him a coward for it. What can I say? Dauntless isn't exactly known for being classy. Anyway, Tobias' solution? To confront Marcus in the middle of a crowded cafeteria and proceed to beat the crap out of him in public, presumably to win back the respect and faith of his fellow Dauntless and prove to everyone that he is not in fact a coward. This, along with the Dauntless idea of jumping out of moving trains as a way of proving you are brave, or the Erudite custom to wear glasses to show that they are smart, are just some examples of the type of schoolyard logic you will find in this book.

I also don't think the adults in this novel actually sound very much like adults, and in general I find the written dialogue very awkward. This makes the main villain sound like a cartoon character when she speaks, and also made for a lot of cringing on my part when Tris and Tobias have their blundering conversations about their relationship.

In some ways, I think this book might have worked better as a hard sci-fi novel. It would have been easier for me to accept all the trappings of this world as the strange customs of a unique alien society, instead of a screwed up dystopic future version of Chicago. Anyway, I still plan on finishing this series (I assume it'll be a trilogy) because I've already gotten so far, but I'll have no problem waiting for the next book. Any speculation as to what it'll be called? My guess is: Emergent.