After the Erudite faction used simulation serums on the Dauntless faction to have them attack the Abnegation faction in dystopian Chicago, the trilogy’s main protagonist goes to Amity, the group in the city that honours peace above everything. She, her boyfriend Four, her brother Caleb, her enemy Peter and Four’s abusive Father Marcus goes to Amity, and they are granted refugee as long as they reside in peace there. One day Tris follows Marcus and overhears him speaking to Johanna, the leader of the Amity, and he tells her that the Erudite attacked Abnegation because they were planning to reveal a secret to the city that the Erudite didn’t want to get out. Tris confronts Marcus but he refuses to tell her anything, and she is agitated that he obviously doesn’t find her worthy to bear the secret.
What remains of the pure Dauntless faction and the Abnegation needs to flee again when the Erudite and Dauntless traitors arrive at Amity and discovers the group when they see Four’s trademark tattoos. They manage to jump on a train and find themselves among the factionless – people who aren’t in a specific group for a number of reasons. On the train they meet Edward again – the Dauntless initiate who got stabbed in the eye by Peter in his sleep in jealousy. They learn that the leader of the factionless is Four’s mother, who is supposed to be dead. Four tells Tris that he discovered that his mother never died, but faked her death to escape his abusive father, leaving him behind. They have one of their many disagreements about full disclosure there. Tris and Evelyn hit it off on the wrong foot, and Tris openly distrusts her. Caleb tells Tris that he is taking their friend Susan to safety where most of the Abnegation are hiding now.
Tris and Four leave the factionless to go to the Candor headquarters. There, they are subjected to a truth serum to ensure they aren’t telling any lies. Jack Kang, the leader of Candor, questions them and Four confesses he left Abnegation to be free of his abusive father. Tris confesses to killing Will, causing a rift between her and her friend Christina, who was in love with Will. Four is also angry with her because she didn’t confide in him and he asked her plenty times what was wrong. The Dauntless traitors once again cause distress when they attack the Candor headquarters with Eric leading them. Tris and Uriah (who is also Divergent) realise that Eric is trying to catch and kill all the Divergents. The Dauntless arrive after Tris injures Eric, and he is taken into confinement for questioning.
Jack Kang arranges a meeting with the Erudite, and Tris, Four and some of their friends secretly goes to listen what is happening. The Erudite demands that the Eric is set free, the Divergent are handed over, and that those who didn’t receive the latest serum, which gives the Erudite control over people from long distances, receive the injection.
Four has a fight with Tris because she is always endangering herself. He tells her that he will end things between them if she doesn’t stop her reckless behavior.
Four, Tori and Harrison are elected new leaders of the Dauntless, and Four kills Eric afterwards. Tris and Four meet with the Evelyn and Edward. Tris still dislikes Evelyn, feeling that she abandoned Four as a child to his merciless father.
Tris offers up her life once again to save the Dauntless. She and Christina discover that the simulation serum the Erudite used to control the Dauntless in their attack on the Abnegation causes a faction member to commit suicide every two days if a Divergent person isn’t handed over to the Erudite. Tris goes to the Erudite and is taken captive by Jeanine Matthews. There she undergoes tests to develop a Divergent-proof simulation serum. She discovers that her brother Caleb is a traitor and has been working with Jeanine the entire time.
Four rushes to the Erudite headquarters to save her. Peter helps them escape, telling Tris that he owes her for saving his life. The three of them travels to the Abnegation part of the city, and Tris and Four confess their love to each other.
Marcus convinces Tris that her parents died to save information that Jeanine Matthews wanted destroyed. He wants the information displayed before the attack on the Erudite that can permanently destroy the information. Tris, Christina and Marcus infiltrate the Amity headquarters to tell their leader Johanna what is going on. She and a few other Amity members choose to leave their faction after most of the Amity chooses to remain impartial.
The group infiltrates the Erudite, and they realize that the sensitive information won’t be on the computers everyone can access. Tris heads to Jeanine Matthews’ private lab. There she finds Tori and Jeanine, and tries to prevent Tori from killing Jeanine. She fails after a struggle and Tori stabs Jeanine.
Tris now looks like a traitor, and Four is angry with her for siding with his horrible father. Evelyn announces a new factionless government and society. This causes uproar, but they are unable to do anything because there are so many factionless. Tris and Four reconcile. The secret information is revealed, and they learn that Chicago’s faction system was implemented by an organization fighting for justice and peace. Amanda Ritter, the person relaying the information, tells them that Chicago was sealed off from the rest of the world so that they could regain the moral sense the entire world had lost. When the Divergent population had started to become greater than the other factions, the Amity was supposed to open the gates of the city and let everyone out. They realize that that is why Jeanine Matthews were so intent on killing the divergent – she knew that if they were part of the world again, she would become powerless. Amanda Ritter lastly discloses that she would enter Chicago and become part of its society under the name of Edith Prior, making Tris a certain descendant of Edith.
Who is Edith Prior and what lies behind the gates of Chicago?
Insurgent certainly wasn’t my favorite book in the Divergent trilogy. It seems that Tris and Four is constantly fighting about nonsense, and the book was full of useless events that weren’t needed for the storyline.
However, the book was still readable and good in its way. Jeanine Matthews is still an impressive psychotic maniac, determined to remain in control of their world. Caleb’s betrayal was brilliantly done, displaying how flawed their system was becoming.
The end finally told the readers where the rest of the world was – I had wondered how they would implement the entire globe’s existence eventually.
The series is really good, and although not my favorite book, Insurgent is essential to understand the last book.