by Veronica Roth
I was out of commission, flat on my back, and going nowhere. I had finished Insurgent and quite liked it, and so I was lying in bed and shaking with chills and wondering where I had put volume 1. As it turns out, volume 1 was on my iPad, just like volume 2, and so it was easy to spend the day revisiting it. And, while in principle that day might have been more profitably spent with, say, Eagleton’s After Theory, I wasn’t sure that the fever dreams of critical theory would mix well with the fever dreams of fever.
The book holds up better than I had feared. The pacing of the opening is superb on rereading, and the boot camp sequence is wonderfully done. There’s nothing much to learn from the romance, but we don’t usually read about the love of a pre-teen girl for a boy two years older in order to seek instruction or wisdom. I’m not sure I like the rest of the plotting, and I think Roth is so good at building worlds that she destroys them before actually putting them to use. This is wasteful and unsound, but I suspect that the great Moral of this series is that invented worlds are a renewable resource.