Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Book Review: Allegiant

by  Veronica Roth
Date Read: 11/23/2013
Rating: ★

Okay.  It’s been about a week since I finished off this book and I think I can coherently write a review for this.  I think this leans toward 2.5 stars.  I will start off by saying I am disappointed by yet another YA series conclusion this year.  Both series were my two favorite series ever, and both ended in tragic disappointment and anger (the other being Clockwork Princess).
First I will start off with the two POVs (Tris and Four’s).  While I liked the change, I think it should have been done that way from the beginning [spoiler: especially with Tri dying in the end.  If you didn’t want everyone to expect that was what was going to happen (after all, how do you conclude a story when the character dies), it should have been done since book 1 ].  But also, the two voices were so similar.  It was hard for me to determine who was talking.  The only identification you had was on each new chapter page.  If you forgot mid-chapter, you were out of luck.  Their voices needed to be much more different.  I felt like I lost a lot of the book because I constantly had to remember who was talking.  This was a total fail on the author’s part of making sure her characters were different.  And their personalities had been very different, but I think as soon as she started writing both, she ended up blending them.

The change in setting was frustrating for me too.  This book was supposed to be a dystopian society, but as soon as they leave at the beginning of this book, everything we know is thrown away.  Not to say they are not still in a dystopian society, but it is not what we think.  This was something that was very hard for me to get over.  Now, I can accept the whole scientific background to this whole thing seeing as I majored in Biochemistry and genetics is very interesting to me, but it completely changed the type of story this was to me.  It took me a good 300 – 400 pages to get comfortable with the change. I felt like there should have been more foreshadowing about this twist. I  felt like the beginning of the series did not lead us to the end of the series. 

Now, I was super excited that we finally got a clear definition of what “Divergent” is.  With the movie coming out, I was trying to figure out how to define “Divergent” to my husband, knowing that he would ask at some point.  And before reading this book, I couldn’t figure out a good definition.  So it made me start questioning how well the first books were written if I couldn’t even define the title of the first book!  So it’s nice to finally know what it truly means. And I think it was a good way to do it. I just feel like the lead up to the realization could have been done much better, and much smoother.

There were some fights between Tris and Four in this book that didn’t seem real.  It just seemed like something thrown in to create tension – not done nearly as well as the first two books.  Tris was never this jealous, know-it-all like she is in this book. I actually got to the point where I didn’t really care about her [spoiler: And that is probably why her death didn’t affect me as much as it was supposed to ].  She suffered from what my husband and I call, “Bella Syndrome”.  We grew to not enjoy the main character because of who they become over the length of the series.  Tris’s behavior was very out of character for her and it frustrated me.  And her constant know-it-all attitude really made me angry.

I did like some of the other character relationships that were built in this book though.  And there was a twist with a character coming back from the dead.  We also got some background information on Tris’s mom, which was actually very interesting.  That was probably the most interesting thing to me in this book – which when you think about it, is pretty sad.

The big fight at the very end was pretty much non-existent.  I actually didn’t like how it was ended. I felt like she got herself in a spot where she couldn’t get her characters out of it any other way. [Spoiler: I hate that what they did to the institute was exactly what the institute was going to do to their loved ones.  What makes that any better?  The institute people have people who loved them too and they will not remember each other.  It’s just frustrating that Roth couldn’t have come up with a better way for them to win the fight.  If you’re going to have a good guy and a bad guy, the good guy can’t just counter the bad guy with the same thing he was doing.  It was a total cop-out.  She took her story to a place that she couldn’t get out of, so this was the only way. ]

Okay, so now let’s talk about that ending.  I’m going to be putting most of this in a spoiler, though honestly, if you’ve paid attention to how this book was created and reviewed, you can probably determine the ending anyway.  [Spoiler: I am so frustrated that she killed Tris.  I did expect it about half way through the book, but I was hoping she would do it in an epic way that at least had a big impact on the world.  But she didn’t.  I don’t feel like Tris’s death did anything for making the world a better place.  All it did was allow this “tragic” ending.  Okay, she gave up her life for Caleb’s, which is cool because he had done so many awful things to her.  But really, her death didn’t do much.  If perhaps her death helped them stop the institute from doing what they were going to do some other epic way, okay that would have been better. Or the death should have been some type of Christ archetype (I give credit to this to my husband).  In Harry Potter, Harry actually goes out and dies in the forest, but he comes back to life.  That death and rebirth has a big impact.  But Tris just dies, and for nothing.  I wish this had been done better.  And I hate getting attached to a main character and then they die.  If this is what Roth thinks is a good ending, then I do not plan to read more series from her in the future. ]

So overall I am very disappointed with this book.  There was a lot of wrap up at the end, but it wasn’t really about what the world became.  It was more about the characters (Tobias) dealing with the events of what happened.  I wish we had gotten more world wrap up.  Their immediate world changed, but they didn’t really change anything else that happened in the rest of the world.  Other experiments are still out there and don’t know what they are.  This series could have been an epic win, but in the end, all it did was epically fail.


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