Read May 01 2015
Book 3 of Divergent
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 meaningliess. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend to 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.
Allegiant took me pleasantly by surprise. I picked it up, wanting a nice, breezy read after one of the ponderous tomes that makes up the A Song of Ice and Fire series, and it was a lot better than I thought it would be.
I started reading the Divergent trilogy because a good friend recommended it to me, after having picked it up for $5 at Dymocks. It quickly spread among my friends, with them all ranting and raving about it. I was kinda late to the party – to be honest, I didn’t see all that much in it. It was good, sure, but it didn’t stand miles above other similar books in the genre.
And then came Insurgent, which to be honest, I don’t really remember much about, maybe it was a filler kind of book?
Anyway, back to Allegiant. As with most of my book thoughts, the following is rife with spoilers.
Things I liked:
– The infamous love triangle. Because it wasn’t there! Yay! What a strange world it is when the lack of a love triangle heralds a momentous celebration! Love triangles are cheap, and more often than not just thrown in there for a bit of useless dazzle. Roth characterizes the relationship between Tris and Tobias well – while they have a few insecurities about their other hanging out with another good-looking person, they don’t get overbearing about it. It’s just a little tinge that they think to themselves. Which I totally get.
– Props for killing Tris. But… and I hate to say it: does even this feel contrived? Does anyone else get a vibe along the lines of “no one will be expecting this so let’s give it to them”? I mean, she had basically survived the death serum, and we were all like yay and then next thing you know, she dead.
Things I didn’t like:
– Telling the story from two points of view. I don’t dislike multiple point of view stories, it’s just that Roth did an awful job of creating two distinct voices. Tobias and Tris read as basically the same person, which is pretty confusing at times. I was constantly switching back to the start of the chapter to see who was narrating.
– The plot. Basically pretty much everything about the plot. First up, where on earth did it go? The only thing Allegiant had in common with Divergent and Insurgent was the characters. The focus in Allegiant was centered on the whole genetically pure vs. genetically damaged issue, while Chicago and all its problems were basically pushed aside and left to rot. The whole transition felt rather clumsy, and introducing a whole other angle is just an cheap way to come up with a resolution.
Oh, and that’s another thing. I’m not sure how much knowledge Roth has about genetics, but the whole damaged genes basically being the cause of everything is… heh. I guess technology really is crazy in the future, because we have all sort of funky memory serums and fear serums and we can manipulate genes to the point where the exhibited phenotype is to knock out all but one trait in someone’s personality?
The ending. I have a few problems with the ending. Firstly, how does Tris survive the death serum? Yes, she does suffer from amazing super awesome protagonist syndrome (I mean, wow, her mum is from the outside world!!!!), but at least some sort of explanation would be nice. Even if it is a ill-founded “your genes are amazing” one. Secondly, the resolution is to mind-wipe the Bureau into believing that they were campaigning for equal rights between the GP and the GD? Seriously? That’s how this crazy bam-bam trilogy is going to end? Okay.
– The pacing. So utterly boring in the beginning, and then a switch flicks and everything happens.
But all in all, I want to stress that I didn’t dislike Allegiant. The above does sound quite negative, but it could have been so much worse. I mean, Roth really did try. She tried to come up with one of the better dystopian society explanations, she tried to make the plot unique, and there were some golden characterization moments, especially regarding Peter.
A little extra: you know, sometimes it’s hilarious to read the make-out scenes in books and imagine how they play out. My personal favourite was: “I breathe against the side of her neck, unable to move. Finally we kiss, and it is a relief.”