by Veronica Roth
Read: October 23 - 24, 2013
Published: October 22, 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books (Harper Collins)
Source: Copy from publisher in exchange for an honest review
Series: Divergent book 3
Find: Goodreads | Amazon
One choice will define you.
What if your whole world was a lie?
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.
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.
NOTE: I don't directly mention any major spoilers below, but it is easy to infer some things from my reaction to the book, so please be cautious if you've yet to read Allegiant.
1) Allegiant has some really beautiful language in it. I think the writing is stronger than it was in the first two in the series, or at least this one felt the most planned out. Lovely, poignant thoughts on forgiveness, grief, love, sacrifice, bravery. Especially as Tris and Four reflect on themselves, each other and different characters in this book. This story more than the others is thoughtful and poetic, and I can tell that Roth had a lot of things she wanted to say. Still, it doesn't quite retain the fire that was present in Divergent.
2) This story was not a particularly fast read, especially in the first half. There was a lot of time spent explaining the broader context for this world and tying up loose plot details from the first two novels. The second half is more action oriented, and focused on a direction/problem. I appreciate that Roth took time to close up plot holes, though it did make the series feel much more information focused at the end, and the final book not as quickly paced.
3) This book made me realize that I'm weary of dystopians. Government secrets, everyone trying to control or subvert everyone else. Resistance movements. Revolutions. High body counts. Dystopian trilogies are starting to feel like an endless cycle of the same thing to me. Basically, there is no perfect world, and trying to fix it by controlling people in some way just makes everything worse. The further I got into this series, the more the dystopian sameness was revealed.
4) In many ways I think this book belongs to Four even more than Tris. For one he shares the narration with her so we finally get inside of his head. Four is even more introverted than Tris, and we learn a lot about him here - his obsessions, fears, insecurities and strengths. Although Tris has matured throughout this series, the major growth in this story arc belongs to Four.
5) I know people have complained that Four seems different in this book. I'm not an expert on this series - or on Four, whom I know is beloved by many, but I'm not convinced that's the case. Or at least, I think it is impossible to get the full picture of him without being inside of his head. Like Tris, he presents a hard front, and internally thinks a lot that he doesn't share. But, I can understand frustration with some of his choices, as if he and Tris were rehashing what they'd gone through already in the previous book.
6) Sometimes I had to really pay attention to tell whose voice I was reading. Even though Tris and Four’s reactions to situations are often different, their tone is very similar. Still, I do like that we got both their perspectives, and I loved seeing how well they truly saw and understood each other, as well as complimented and supported the other. I liked seeing Tris through Four’s eyes and vice versa.
7) I had some trouble conceptualizing and understanding all of the “science” presented in this book. I’m also not sure I could ever really see the differences between Divergent and non-Divergent people, beyond how Divergent people react to simulations. I guess that’s the point, though someone remarks in this book that one particular person displays some Divergent characteristics and not others. I don’t think I could ever see that.
That said I really like the discussion in this book about how responsible people are for their actions when they're genetically predisposed to act certain ways. Does it give them an excuse for their behavior?
8) My emotional reaction to how a series ends affects my overall feelings of it, almost more than anything else. In hindsight the conclusion of Allegiant is not all that surprising, and I get it. Roth made the point she was pushing in this book. But it is not at all what I wanted, and still it didn't make me happy. That is important to me, as petty as it sounds. Roth said in an interview that she hoped that readers would find the end of this book satisfying. I can't say that was the case for me. But I think that's a very subjective thing for a reader, and Roth was effective in her choices at least.
9) Although I hate spoilers being broadcast all over, I’m actually glad that I got wind that this book might end differently than I hoped, because I was able to prepare myself for it. However, I’m also glad that I didn’t just pass this book by when I found out that it might not be what I wanted. Still I will be very careful about whether I recommend it to anyone else, and I know I won’t be able to handle re-reading it again.
10) I could have done without the epilogue. I do appreciate that we got to know the result of these characters' actions, but emotionally it was too much for me to handle at the time that I read it. Perhaps I'll feel differently with time.
If you want to see the spoiler things I had to say about this book, look at my review of the book on Goodreads.
If you're interested in what author Veronica Roth has to say about her ending, including spoilers, see her MTV interview, HERE.
Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Series conclusion