Insurgent received mostly positive reviews from critics. Trade publication Publisher Weekly received the novel enthusiastically: "Roth knows how to write. So even though this second book of the trilogy that began with Divergent feels like a necessary bridge between the haunting story she created in book one and the hinted-at chaos of book three, readers will be quick to forgive. . . The author has a subtle way of pulling readers into a scene (“The outside air.... smells green, the way a leaf does when you tear it in half”), and the novel’s love story, intricate plot, and unforgettable setting work in concert to deliver a novel that will rivet fans of the first book." Kirkus Reviews said "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." Roth has admitted a number of continuity errors in Insurgent, an aftereffect of overlapping novel drafts.
Awards and nominations
Insurgent won Favorite Young Adult Fantasy & Science Fiction and Author of 2012 in 2012's Goodreads Choice Awards. It was also nominated at Children's Choice Book Awards for Teen book of the year and Author of the year.