Saturday, November 16, 2013

Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth

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.

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.

Told from a riveting dual perspective,
Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

Released: October 22nd 2013         Pages: 526
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books   Source: Library

Unpopular opinion alert.

The more I think about it, the more I'm not sure why I gave such high ratings to Divergent and Insurgent.  Divergent was four stars, with Insurgent more like a 3.5 that I hesitantly rounded to four.  Now, when I think back about my reading experience with both of them, I feel like I was trying to like them more than I actually did (this is more prevalent in my review of Insurgent). 

With Allegiant, I wasn't going to put any more effort into liking it than it deserved.  I was done "trying" to like this series; my feelings are too mixed for that.  I'm not even sure why I bothered with Allegiant--maybe I was still hoping that I could finally give one of these books four stars without reluctance.

Towards the beginning of this book, when Tris and Tobias are outside the compound, the infodump begins.  A massive infodump.  I sensed it coming on and went all Ned Stark on it.


I understand that there was a large amount of information that needed to get to readers somehow, but did it really have to come through extended conversations and drawn-out monologues?  For much of the book, especially in the middle, the plot slowed almost to a complete halt in favor of this infodump.  That is, chapters of infodump punctuated by Tris/Tobias makeout scenes that felt repetitive and unnecessary.

I've never been a fan of Tris.  Either she rushes into things without thinking about them, or she sits and deliberates about something for hours when I'm sitting here wishing she would just get on with it.  She is contradictory, at times.  It's not okay for the people running the experiments to "reset" Chicago, but it's okay for Tris to "reset" these people?  This makes no sense to me, and I couldn't respect this decision.  She's also highly insecure in her relationship with Tobias.  Check this out:

"A pretty girl asks you to meet her late at night, and you go?" I demand. "And then you want me not to get mad about it?"

Two things.  First: as soon as Tobias so much as looks in this other girl's direction, Tris freaks out and feels threatened.  Tris, you aren't the only girl your boyfriend gets to talk to, alright?  Second: what, so if the other girl wasn't pretty, Tris wouldn't be mad?  That is messed up.

I'm a little more fond of Tobias.  He has the more interesting backstory and the more interesting personality.  I've never loved him, but he always came across as a stronger character than Tris.  As for everyone else...the side characters seemed flat.  There are so many side characters in this series--combining them might have helped solve this problem.  Also, for some reason, the character names in this series bother me to no end.  Nobody seems to have a name that fits them.  I don't know why, but the names just never sat well with me.  Did anyone else notice this, or is it just me?

Another problem I had was with the separate point of view chapters.  This book is told from two perspectives, those of Tris and Tobias.  There was no differentiation at all between the two styles of narration.  The voice was the same for each.  It was easy to lose track of whose chapter I was reading at any given time.  If I stopped in the middle of a chapter, I would actually have to go back to the beginning of the chapter to check who was narrating before I resumed reading.  Also, this book was full of odd metaphors that kind of worked, but not really.

I have to give Veronica Roth credit, though, for *spoiler--highlight to read*killing Tris.*end spoiler*  It's an incredibly gutsy way to end a series.  I wasn't expecting it--I don't think anybody was.  If I had been more attached to the character, I would have been shocked and stunned, which was the intended effect.  Since I never cared for her, though, most of the impact was lost on me.  Still, though, I was touched by Tobias' emotions at the end, and his determination to keep on living, despite the circumstances.  This, for me, gave Allegiant a tiny bit of redemption.

Overall, it's hard to decide between two and three stars for this one.  There were so many things that bothered me, but at the same time, I didn't hate it.  More often than not, I just felt apathetic while reading.  It's a 2.5 star book, if anything, so I suppose I'll have to round it up, because I'm having trouble justifying two stars for it, because I didn't dislike it that much.  A hesitant three stars, then.

Similar Books: It has a similar feel to Shatter Me, Inside Out, and Under The Never Sky, both of which also feature female main characters, romance, and a dystopian (or at least futuristic) setting.  It's a dystopian novel that alternates between a male and female point of view like Legend.

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3 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed Divergent once I got past its daft premise and less than three-dimensional characters. I found that book suspenseful and action-packed and pretty well-written for a 22 year old author. I gave it 4 stars (because I liked it) but I'd say it was a 3 star worthy book really. But Insurgent was a huge disappointment to me. It was so dull! All I remember about that book was that Tris wandered around between the different factions and had lots of arguments with Tobias. I didn't *hate* it but I was apathetic towards it, like you were with this one. I still plan on reading Allegiant though. I've come this far with the series so I might as well. I'm actually quite looking forward to the Divergent movie too. I'm curious to see how well it does at the box office.

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    1. Yeah, Insurgent mainly consists of Tris wandering and arguing with Tobias. I felt the same way about Allegiant, too--I didn't care about the story or character all that much after Insurgent, but I just wanted to finish the series for the sake of finishing it.

      I've never liked the "it's good for an x-year-old author" idea. My view is that if a book is going to be professionally published, it shouldn't be because it's good when considering the author's circumstances. A book could be awesome, for a book written by a 10-year-old, but that doesn't make it worthy of publishing. When writing reviews, I refuse to cut authors any slack just because they're only whatever-years-old.

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  2. I get what you mean about that last point and I can see why that would annoy you. I don't feel that you can excuse bad writing because of an author's age either. I don't actually think Divergent is badly-written though. I wouldn't call the prose scintillating but I do think that Veronica Roth is a good writer and that her books are worthy of being published. It's just that with more time and experience on her hands I feel that Roth could develop into a great writer.

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