by Roth, Veronica

"As war surges in the dystopian society around her, sixteen-year-old Divergent Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves-and herself-while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love"-

While the hugely popular Divergent (2011) welcomed dystopian fans of every stripe with its irresistable concept and hybridization of genres, this sequel is more for hard-core fans-a good thing if you're a devotee but a bit overwhelming for fence-riders. Rocked by the recent simulation war, the five factions engage in increasingly dangerous power plays to pick up the pieces. Tris and her love, Tobias, both daredevils of the Dauntless faction, are key players in these skirmishes, most of which focus upon the fiendishly logical Erudites and almost all of which are complicated by backstabbers and turncoats. It remains a great deal of fun to watch these cliques-taken-to-extremes duke it out with their various strengths and weaknesses, and Roth delivers the goods when it comes to intense, personal violence (no superpowers to be found here) and compelling set pieces (as when Tris undergoes a public "truth serum" interrogation). Newcomers, and even some old hands, might get buried under all the transposable characters and faction minutia, but those who stick it out will be rewarded with quite the cliff-hanger HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Divergent was the kind of best-seller juggernaut debut authors dream of. With high-profile movie rights already sold, you can bet you'll see this sequel on everyone's must-read list. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

In this addictive sequel to the acclaimed Divergent (2011), a bleak post-apocalyptic Chicago ruled by "factions" exemplifying different personality traits collapses into all-out civil war. With both the Dauntless and Abnegation factions shattered by the Erudite attack, Tris and her companions seek refuge with Amity and Candor, and even among the factionless. But the Erudite search for "Divergents" continues relentlessly. They have a secret to protect-one they fear could prove more catastrophic than open warfare; one they will slaughter to keep hidden... Rather than ease readers back into this convoluted narrative, the book plunges the characters into immediate danger without clues to their current relationships, let alone their elaborate back stories. The focus is firmly on the narrator Tris, who, devastated by guilt and grief, reveals new depth and vitality. While taking actions less Dauntless than recklessly suicidal, she retains her convenient knack for overhearing crucial conversations and infallibly sizing up others. Her romance with Tobias is achingly tender and passionate, and her friends and enemies alike display a realistic spectrum of mixed motivations and conflicted choices. The unrelenting suspense piles pursuit upon betrayal upon torture upon pitched battles; the violence is graphic, grisly and shockingly indiscriminate. The climactic reveal, hinting at the secret origins of their society, is neither surprising nor particularly plausible, but the frenzied response makes for another spectacular cliffhanger. Anyone who read the first book was dying for this one months ago; they'll hardly be able to wait for the concluding volume. (Science fiction. 14 & up) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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