|Allegiant by Veronica Roth|
Book 3: Divergent series
October 22, 2013
Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Young Adult Dystopia
Source: Personal purchase
One choice will define you.What if your whole world was a lie?My Review:
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?
The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.
But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.
I'm avoiding major spoilers in this review, and in doing that please forgive some vague notions and references, but understand I hate it when people spoil books for others, so I will try very hard not to do that to you :)
I read Divergent four times and Insurgent twice, because I loved them. I was blown away by those two books. But at the end of Insurgent I was very nervous about where things were going to go next. It felt like the beginning of something new. And in a sense, it was. In reading Allegiant, it felt like something, or rather several things, were just off. Here are some of my issues with Allegiant:
1. Reading Allegiant felt like I was reading the beginning of a completely different series. I don't mind that it was different, except that the differences lost the flow and integrity the first two books had for me. Even though I could see the connection Roth was trying to make, the storyline still felt disconnected from its predecessors.
2. The pacing dragged for me, which was so unlike the way the first two books were. My nerves were also very high considering people trying to spoil everything for me, so I had to avoid a lot of internet stuff. If it weren't for that spurning, it would have been very easy to set this book aside, because it was slow. I was actually very tempted to set it aside and read something else, but my investment in this trilogy and those spoilery people out there helped me maintain my focus. The first time I read Divergent, I read it in a day, then immediately re-read it. Allegiant took me longer and I wasn't compelled to flip through the pages as quickly.
3. Too much info-dumping. There were several info-dump sites, and it just really took away from the pacing and story. This is another reason why this book felt like the start to a series rather than the end of one. Part of me expected Roth to add a fourth book because there was so much added info.
4. There were plot holes in the end, and I think if this book had been more thought through, it could have been extended to a fourth book, the storyline reworked to flow better and convey Roth's message and intention better. Also, I found it odd that this scientific society that develops these highly complicated serums, that they couldn't create serums or other advancements for other medical issues.
5. The character development was off, or lacking. If anything, I think most of the characters regressed. The squabbles between the main characters were quite annoying and even redundant. While the other characters just seemed to fade into the wallpaper, offering bits and pieces here and there, but not nearly the forces they were previously. The other characters felt wasted and didn't offer very much, except for the intermittent heartbreak or a splash or jealousy for effect. And honestly, I just didn't love Tris and Tobias as much in this one the way I did before, though I probably liked Tobias slightly more because he wasn't as full of himself as Tris was. Her character development made her out to be so great and so wonderful and always right and it just didn't work for me. At least Tobias could be humble, and I did appreciate that.
6. The dual POVs slowed everything down. This factored into my previously stated pacing issues. There also wasn't a clearly distinguishable voice between Tris and Tobias. Several times I had to go back to the heading of a chapter and find out who was narrating. More often than not I had mixed up the character in my head and thought the opposite person had been speaking.
7. The action plateaued for most of the book. There were a few good, intense scenes, but they were resolved quickly. Even the climactic scenes in the end weren't really all that climactic. There was a lot of thinking and self-reflection and philosophizing.
8. The message just didn't work for me and wasn't as poignant as I think Roth intended. And while I can appreciate the attempt, the message of this last book, even the message(s) didn't feel complete.
9. I also can handle an ending that's not all rainbows and kittens, but the ending still has to make sense to me. This one, while I can see Roth's reasoning, still didn't feel necessary. Or make complete sense. I have multiple issues with it. But the ending was not the deal-breaker for me. I don't mind a twist to an ending, and welcome authors who want to go against convention. And this one could have worked if it had not been for things that had already happened in the book.
10. Plus, this book on a whole, was just way too depressing. Kinda made me want to pull an Al and jump in the chasm. I don't know if it was for shock value or because Roth is just a negative "life sucks" kind of person or because this is her perspective on the future and that everything needs to be tragic, but on the whole Allegiant was just depressing. Not that we didn't have our tragedies in Divergent or Insurgent. These are not happy-go-lucky books. But Allegiant just took it a step further, a step too far.
Do I have anything positive to say? Well, there were a few lovely moments between Tris and Tobias, some meaningful thought and intentions to the story. I think for some people, this book will work really well for them. I've seen high ratings on this book from others, and I'm glad that this book lived up to their expectations and they gleaned enjoyment from its reading.
Personally, I just feel let down, and once again, it's not because of the way it ended, but the overall book itself. I know many people are disappointed with the ending, and if I'm being honest, I am too. But overall, even if it had ended differently, this book still would not have been at the same caliber level as the first two books. I tried very hard throughout the entire book to give Roth the benefit of the doubt and not put preconceived notions and expectations into this book. I know the first two books were a lot to live up to, but I don't think I've been let down by a book like this in a while. So am I glad I read it? Still not sure. Would I recommend it to others? Good question. I think that would depend on if you are a series-finisher and how dedicated you were to the first two books. Will I re-read it? No. I even told my husband to read the first two, and then let his imagination run for the third.