Monday, October 28, 2013

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

by Veronica Roth
Read: October 23 - 24, 2013
October 22, 2013 by Katherine Tegen Books (Harper Collins) 
Source: Copy from publisher in exchange for an honest review 
Category: Dystopian

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


  1. I'm not even sure if I want to read this anymore. It's been so long since I read Divergent and Insurgent, so I can't help but wonder if I'd even enjoy those two anymore. I've been seeing so many mixed reviews for this one, but I have this gut-feeling I won't be too satisfied. *sigh* Anyway, thanks for such a thorough review, Lauren - I'm glad that aspects of this worked for you, despite the flaws.

  2. A three-star read for me. Not great but I didn't hate it. I had trouble with the science, too. Seems like a crazy thing to be all nitpicky about but people are nutters. And, yeah, dystopians are wearying -- I've read too many. Life isn't perfect. It's never going to be perfect because we're imperfect creatures. As for the ending -- I didn't love it at all but she really did foreshadow the whole thing all over the place.

  3. I made a point to find out the ending of this one Lauren, I'm that reader that needs to be happy at the end, and when I found out what happened, I knew this would not be a book I would reading. I think Roth is a fabulous storyteller, but I'm having trouble believing anyone who fell head over heels in love with Tris and Four would at all be "satisfied" with how things play out, but I of course haven't read it and only know the end result. I know me though, and that ending is just not something I could deal with, so best to skip it all together. You made some brilliant points as always though!

  4. I'm going to skip reading your review, Lauren! But I do hear (even though I'm trying not too!) that people were disappointed with the ending. :(

  5. You did a great job with your words here. You know exactly how I feel about this series as a whole and that I am not going any further than Divergent. While I was planning on trying to re-read Divergent, the MAJOR spoiler posted on Amazon BY Amazon killed any desire that I had to give this series another try. I like that you mentioned to me that you felt like this book was the stronger of the three. I also think it is interesting that you mention that Tris and Four have similar-sounding tones in the narratives. I wonder if perhaps Roth needs to grow a bit as a writer to develop her voices, because this is not the first time I've heard that.

    At any rate, I hate that the ending wasn't what you wanted it to be - that is such a sad thing when you've waited so long for a series and spent so much time with the characters. BUT I do think that the negative outpouring of ridiculousness V Roth has had to endure because of it like the physical threats and the petitioning for a re-write are just plan dumb. It's her story and that's that.

    Onto others now! Great review, L.

  6. I haven't caught up with this series yet (unfortunately, only Divergent has been finished) but I have heard of the spoiler so I've been waiting to see what you thought about it all :) It's great that you didn't hate it as much as others seemed to. Unfortunately, I agree with the dystopian claim. They all seem to be the same, especially after the first book in the series. Great review, Lauren!

  7. I get what your saying about Four but for me i think it was just so difficult accepting his actions in Allegiant since he seemed so different in the two prevouis books that being inside his head in this one just seemed a bit off. I liked his persepective (although it sounded a lot like Tris') but i couldn't accept his weakness in this one. I feel like if i had read this thoughts in Divergent and insurgent i probably would of but i just couldn't.
    The biggest thing for me about this book that didn't sit all that well was the world builing and secondary characters. I mean serouisly, what were Caleb and Peter's points of being in the book? They hardly did anything! but also I just felt like a lot of the informations world building wise was sort of thrown at us and got resolved too quickly in the end.
    I get what you mean about not wanting the epilogue. I'm in the minority of people who liked the ending of Allegiant and feel like it's what reedemed Allegiant for me but my feelings toward the epilogue flip flop. I guess it gives the reader hope that we can move forward but i felt that everything between Four and his mum just left a bad taste in my mouth. I still couldn't accept how quickly they overcame things between them.
    Anyways great review Lauren. I'd share more of my thoughts on the book but i've talked about this book constantly the last week and reviewed it myself. I'm so done writing full page comments about Allegaint lol!
    Lily @ Lilysbookblog

  8. I didn't notice any difference in the language, actually. I was more focused on trying to figure out who the narrator was, I think haha. I'd need to read the books in order to see if I noticed improvement in the writing itself, but it's good that you (and many other reviews, from what I can tell) have noticed improvement there.
    I liked the discussions and questions this book presented, but sometimes I thought they were heavy-handed and not handled nearly as well as they could (and should) have been.
    Also, I was COMPLETELY unprepared for that ending. I hadn't read any spoilers, and I didn't try to speculate on what was going to happen at all. I finished reading it close to midnight the day after it was released and just ended up having to sit there staring blankly at my walls for a while after finishing. It was hard to get through. It wasn't what I wanted to read either, but I'm okay with that. What I don't think I'm as okay with, is that I'm not really sure this was the necessary ending. It's hard to verbalize what I mean there, but I just feel more like Roth wanted it to end that way to distinguish herself as a dystopian writer, not because it was literally the only choice they had.
    The epilogue was really, really sad. But I actually liked it. Then again, I am not one to normally think the epilogues are cheesy. I like the little bit extra of resolution they provide.

  9. Sooooo weary of dystopians. I don't think I'll start anymore for awhile. Unless they're stand-alones, which is highly unlikely. :P I concur with every sentiment in this review. The series just lost steam for me. :( I haven't checked out the author's thoughts on it, but I don't think I want to. I've finished the series, said my peace, and I'm just done now. It wasn't the ending that rubbed me wrong -- that was fitting -- but it was the way we got there that irked me. Insurgent and Allegiant just didn't have the magic that Divergent did for me, unfortunately.


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