Monday, 23 September 2013

A Temporary Reprieve from Sequelitis

I just wanted to stop by (and take a break from my novel) to let you know that I found it: the ever-elusive, almost mythical, sequel that's better than the original. I know, I was shocked too. It felt a bit like stumbling across a unicorn: completely unexpected and astounding. I had to share the good news with you! So gather around ladies and gentlemen and let me tell you about this great sequel:

For those of you who haven’t heard of Insurgent, it's the sequel to Divergent by Veronica Roth. Whilst I liked Divergent, it wasn’t a book I raved about to friends. It was an interesting concept, different enough from the numerous dystopian novels out there—thanks to The Hunger Games, and it was well written. But Divergent often felt like a set-up book, similar to the first film in a franchise, where you're introduced to all the characters and learn about the world. It’s not until you near the end of the book that you discover the “big bad” that will continue throughout the series. Whilst it wasn’t an instant favourite of mine, it was interesting and entertaining enough that I decided to buy the second instalment in the trilogy: Insurgent.

The first book was more of a personal journey of self-discovery for the main character Beatrice. Whilst I like smaller, intimate stories that place a character in a complex world/situation, the problem was that Beatrice was often a hard character to like. In Divergent, Beatrice was intentionally devoid of humour and warmth, so much so that she almost felt one-dimensional, and at times, was hard to relate to. However, in Insurgent, she was a more fleshed-out character that I grew to care for.

Insurgent was a bigger book—not just by length—but by themes, action, drama and romance. Everything was cranked up a notch, which had me flipping through the pages with much enthusiasm. It wasn’t quite a “can’t-put-this-book-down” situation, but it was pretty close. Insurgent placed the characters in situations that immediately had me thinking, “ooh, this is going to be good”, and Veronica certainly delivered on those expectations.

Insurgent is definitely one of those rare, endangered species that I want to gather together with other great sequels—to protect them—in hopes that they might multiply and spread throughout the book world. If you’re a fan of dystopian novels, especially The Hunger Games, then you’ll really like Divergent, and maybe even love Insurgent.

Have you read any great sequels lately, or have you read the Divergent series? What did you think?

Make sure to catch up before the movie is released next year.  Check out the trailer here.