Book: Allegiant (Divergent Trilogy #3)
Author: Veronica Roth
I’m not really sure where to start with this review. I put off reading this book for so long because I found out the ending and now that I have read it, I’m not really sure entirely what I want to say. I’ve seen such strong opinions about this final book, mostly of the negative variety, but I can’t say I have a strong opinion either way. It left me feeling kind of….well the only word I can think of to describe it is ‘meh’. Maybe if I hadn’t known the ending before, I would have had a stronger opinion on it, but it’s not just the ending that made me feel like that, the whole book was kind of ‘meh’. Series finales should go out with a bang and I felt that this one kind of fizzled. Here is a short synopsis of the book:
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.
I got through this one much quicker than I was expecting to, it only took me a couple of weeks, which seems like a lot, but actually given the speed at which I’ve been reading recently, was quite quick for me. It wasn’t that I loved it so much that I read it quickly though (I wish it was believe me!), it was more that I had a few long days in the car coming back from holiday in France!
I don’t usually start reviews by talking about the ending of a book, but with this book, the ending is so polarizing, I feel like I kind of have to address my thoughts on it right away. I had already seen spoilers about the ending before reading (which was one of the reasons why it took me so long to read the book in the first place) and I kind of wonder if that has affected my opinion about the ending, since obviously, I was nowhere near as angry about it as everyone else seems to be. I wasn’t angry so much at the ending Veronica Roth chose because I actually felt like the ending made sense, it was just the way she did it, it felt really anti-climactic. I kind of felt like Tris deserved…..I don’t know more? It’s hard to talk about it without giving too much away, I don’t want to spoil anyone in the way that I was spoiled. All I’m going to say is that the ending was in keeping with Tris’s character and I actually don’t see how else the book could have ended, I just think Veronica Roth could have made it a little more dramatic than she did. I wanted to feel more about this ending and I just didn’t. I also kind of felt like you could see the ending coming…..I don’t know if I’m saying this just because I knew the ending before reading the book, but I felt like there were little hints through the book that suggested how it was going to end (plus even just the fact that this book is from a dual perspective kind of hints as to how the book is going to end). I reckon if I had been more attached to Tris in the first place, the ending would have had more of an impact, but since I never really clicked with her character, it just didn’t pack much of a punch.
I wasn’t overly keen on the dual perspective of the book. I don’t really understand why Veronica Roth suddenly decided to change the perspective in the last book, but I didn’t like it. Usually I like multiple perspectives in books, because I feel like you get to know the characters better, you get a sense of each character’s distinctive voice and you get to see the story from different perspectives, but I didn’t like it here. I felt like there wasn’t enough difference between Tris and Tobias’ voices and if I hadn’t looked at the chapter headings, I wouldn’t have known who was narrating which chapter and I did find myself getting confused as to who was narrating at points. I also found the constant switching kind of jarring to start off with and although I got used to it and could see why she did it by the end, I think it could have been executed better.
In my review for Insurgent, I said that I found Tris annoying through most of the book and in this book the tables turned and it was Tobias who I found irritating. He was so whiny and insecure and sad and whilst I get why being referred to as “damaged” given his family history really hit him hard, I just could not stand him for most of the book. I much preferred the Dauntless “Four” than the whiny Tobias. Also I didn’t feel like I entirely bought into Tris and Tobias’ romance this book. They argued all the time and it was just exhausting and then when they did have sweet moments, it didn’t feel like those moments were earned. They kept fighting and making up and it never really felt like any of their issues were really resolved, they were just glossed over.
I wasn’t entirely convinced with the reasons for the setting up of the factions. The whole Divergents being “genetically pure” and everyone else being “genetically damaged” and the city being an experiment thing kind of came out of left field. I also didn’t feel like it was a very original concept, the whole having two groups and the Genetically Pure discriminating against the Genetically Damaged, haven’t we been there done that? I just think she could have come up with a much better explanation for the world being the way it was. Also I wish she hadn’t left it until the last book to explain how the city came about, because it meant that entire chapters of this book were basically massive info-dumps explaining the set-up of her dystopian Chicago and that could have been avoided if she hadn’t left it all to the last book.
I felt like the plot of the book was kind of slow. Not much really happened until the last 200 pages or so, it was a lot of build-up I felt, for not much reward. There was far more action in Divergent and Insurgent, this book was much quieter, more explanations than action and at points I felt kind of bored. I had the same problem with the last Hunger Games, that it was a little boring, but at least with The Hunger Games, the payoff was better.I think the page count could definitely have done with some trimming, it didn’t feel like the over 500 pages of book was completely necessary. The plot also didn’t really have any connection with the first two books, it felt like a completely separate book rather than the conclusion to a trilogy.
One of the things that I did like about the book was Veronica Roth’s writing style. I’m not going to say that she’s the most amazing writer ever, but she writes in a way that’s easily accessible and there were some really lovely, beautiful, insightful quotes in this book, that made me like it more than I otherwise might have, so whilst I can fault the plot and character development of this book, I can’t say there was anything I could particularly fault with the writing.
I felt like the whole faction/factionless thing sort of fell by the wayside. There was this big buildup at the end of the last book and then at the beginning of this one, of the tensions between the people who wanted factions and the factionless and then it was just magically resolved at the end of the book and it felt like….no things could not have been that easy. I liked the fact that Tobias and his mother made up, but it didn’t feel earned at all. Also from the end of Insurgent, I was expecting the world outside the fence to be…..I don’t know, more? I think what happened here was that Veronica Roth tried to cram too much into one book, and if this was her end plan, she should have either put more build-up into the earlier books or split the last book into two so that there wasn’t so much new stuff being introduced in the last book. I also kind of felt like the ending chapters could have been cut or at least trimmed a little, because by the time I got to the epilogue, I was kind of past the point of caring. I don’t see what the point of having the big ending was, when story carried on for several chapters afterward, it was yet another thing that took away from the dramatic impact that the ending should have had. I reckon a short epilogue after what happened to Tris would have been perfectly adequate, rather than several chapters and then a long epilogue.
I also don’t really get how Tris could have been resistant to all those serums, whilst the science behind the whole genetically pure/gentically damaged thing made some sense, it was never explained how Tris was able to resist all the serums where other Divergents couldn’t.
I really liked the sweet friendship moments with Cara and Tobias, I wasn’t a friendship I was expecting to see in this book, but I really liked it. In fact I liked all of the little sweet moments in this book, whether it be between Cara and Tobias, Christina and Tobias, Christina and Tris, Tris and Tobias etc because moments like that were a bit of relief from the overall more serious tone of this book.
I felt like there were so many new characters and ideas introduced, that character development of the existing characters, aside from Tobias and Tris, kind of stagnated. Caleb for instance, didn’t really show any remorse for what he did in Insurgent and I felt there could have been room to explore that more, but instead, Tris spends the entire book mad at him and they never really talk through their issues until right at the end and even then their reconciliation didn’t feel earned. I feel like a lot more time could have been spent with that thread, which had already been introduced, rather than throwing all of this new stuff in at the last minute. Christina didn’t really do much in the book, aside from being there for Four at the end, neither did Cara, neither did Peter, basically all of the secondary characters were kind of just there with not much development at all.
Overall I think my feelings towards this book can basically be summarized with the word “meh”. The first half was boring, with a lot of info dumping, the second half was more exciting and whilst I felt that the ending made sense, the conclusion overall didn’t feel deserved, it felt like everything was resolved far too easily and far too much was stuffed into this book, where it should have either been built into the previous books or the story should have been extended into another book and this was to the detriment of the world and the characters I felt. Sure there were good parts of the book, but for the most part it was just yet another series finale disappointment.
My Rating: 3/5
The next book I will be reviewing is Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine, the first book in her Great Library series. I’ve never read anything by her before, but I really loved the sound of this book, so I seriously hope it’s as good as I think it’s going to be!