Allegiant by Veronica Roth

This review is spoiler free if you’ve read the first two books.

allegiantAllegiant (Divergent #3)
Author: Veronica Roth
Category: Young Adult
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: 10-22-13
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. – Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although I think that most people reading this have either read the book or have heard about the ending, I am going to try to keep this review spoiler free.  Perhaps, at some point, I will do a more in-depth reason for my feelings  with examples, but here are my thoughts, for now.

Make no mistake that this story is well-paced and action packed.  Veronica Roth knows how to draw people in and she succeeds in Allegiant. The dual POV was a great addition to the story because I always love seeing something from two different perspectives.  I’ll say that it was probably one of my favorite things about this book.  The setting and world was as solid as always, at least in the beginning, and the writing flowed really well, even with the change in perspective.  Getting the point of view of Tobias was something that I thought added to the story, though looking back, I think that it should have been a tip-off that something extremely dramatic was going to happen.

Now that the entire series has been published, I can say that I always felt that this book had a lot of religious themes in it.  The overtly Christian themes of forgiveness, sacrifice, hope,  and free will, to name a few.   I think sacrifice probably comes across most obviously, as Tris and Four try to leave their Abnegation roots, but cannot help being pulled back into that way of thinking; that the greater good is served by choosing sacrifice and that sacrifice can be very brave.   Forgiveness also plays a big role, especially in this installment, since there is a lot to be forgiven of many people.  Tobias must try to reconcile his feelings about the past, Tris must decide if she can ever forgive Caleb, and Will’s death is still a specter that will not leave the collective memory of the core group of characters. Continuing that theme, was the idea that one of the people that we have gotten to know had to fulfill the role of being a Christ-like figure, meaning the person who must make the greatest sacrifice.   While you could argue that one person in particular made more sacrifices than others, I think that everyone in the core group that has survived the first two books has made great personal sacrifices.

Tobias was allowed to be much more vulnerable in this book, and I felt that he, more than anyone else, took on the most realistic transformation.  Tris has lost both of her parents, Tobias must contend with the knowledge that both his mother and father are alive.  On top of that, what they discover outside the gate of Chicago and what he discovers about himself was one of the best parts of this book, although the “truth” about Chicago did seem a bit convenient, at times.  The world building fell apart quite a bit once they left Chicago, with many things about the outside that seemed too convenient.  The history of Tris and Caleb’s mother was also really interesting, but it almost seemed that it was thought of after the fact because when you think of it in terms of the frist two books, it seemed bit like a puzzle piece that you are forcing into its spot; it kind of fits, but  it doesn’t look quite right.   I thought the whole plot line involving the serum, which started sounding less and less scientific, was a bit weak and, like Mrs. Prior’s history, not woven into the fabric of the story enough for it to feel genuine.

I really liked Tris in the first book.  I liked her less in Insurgent, and in Allegiant she seems to have become more two dimensional than ever. I don’t know why, but I felt less of a connection with her in each book.  Her transformation into some sort of super-soldier who was inexplicably resistant to all serums and hailed as a new leader was not character development, it seemed like a convenient set-up.  Don’t get me wrong, I am all for the tough ending.  In a series like this, I expected a tough ending, but I also expected it to make sense.  I expected that tough ending to be the only way out.  I usually prefer it over a purely happy ending, but only if it works and only if it seems supported by the rest of the story.   I know that the author planned the ending from book one, but the details surrounding it; the circumstances around that gut wrenching ending just didn’t seem to me to be the ultimate answer.  Perhaps in the mind of the author, it was, but I didn’t feel that it was communicated to me, as a reader.

I also felt that some very important plot lines were simply dropped.  I wanted more exploration of Caleb and his reasons for betraying everyone.   If you are going to make a big deal about forgiving him, there needs to be more to support the reasons behind the need for forgiveness in the first place.  He was such an interesting character and his entire development was just pushed aside.   Tris’s decision about Caleb, and what she took away from him in the end, seemed almost arrogant.  This seemed so inconsistent since this whole series hinges on choice.  What will you choose?  Tris took that choice away from Caleb, which would be ok, if the why of it was shown.  Instead, it was a simple “I used to hate you, now I forgive you, hand everything over to me.”  I was left with the feeling that the most shocking ending as written instead of the one that was supported by the story.

Overall, I can’t really say how I feel about this book.  It was very good.  It was well written.  It definitely hit me like a punch in the gut.  On the other hand, I thought some of the resolutions were disingenuous.  I realize that this sounds like a pretty negative review, and while I was as sad about the ending as everyone else, I don’t think that’s what bothered me the most.  I think the feeling that this book was written in a rush, without the care that was taken in books one and two, is what really disappointed me.  As John Green so aptly pointed out, the world is not a wish granting factory and books do not owe us a happy ending.  I guess I just expected more back-up from character development and world building than I got, and it’s a shame that the drama of the ending is going to make critical reviews seem like a reaction to that one thing rather than what I feel are legitimate points about the storytelling.  I know that books do not owe me anything.  I am not demanding a re-write or other such ridiculousness, as I have seen in the last week, but I also felt obligated to share my views on a popular series that weren’t all love or all hate.  If the goal is to make an impression and make me think, Allegiant certainly accomplished its goal.   I got the intensely emotional book I wanted, but the support structure for the sadness felt as if it was built on the need to shock rather than to give the characters the ending was worthy of such a engrossing series.  That being said, I don’t regret reading this series and it will still be on my always recommend list.

I would love to hear your thoughts, but please keep the comments spoiler free.

Find Veronica Roth online:
Website
Twitter

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Kate @ Ex Libris


330 responses to “Allegiant by Veronica Roth

  1. I finished it yesterday & this book has been on my mind ever since. I think you nailed it when you said if the book got people thinking & talking, then it definitely did its job. Thank you for writing such a well thought out review.

    I’ve seen a lot of complaints about the ending, but the reasons for those complaints were never truly backed up. You defined a lot of my own questions. I stayed away from social media & did not click any links that discussed Allegiant until I had read the book. I knew SOMETHING was going to happen, but I wanted my reading experience to stay as pure as possible. So thankful that it did!

    I cried a lot towards the end, and especially after THAT MOMENT. The revelation that these characters come to is what I am going to take away from this. The sacrifices they made are not happy endings, but its reality.. and that is something that I feel more books should portray. I feel that VRoth took a brave chance on this ending and I am pleased with the outcome.

    1. Oh forgot to add this… the dual POV. This was actually what I liked least about it. I didn’t get a definite sense of who was speaking. Often times I had to flip back to the beginning of the chapter to remind myself before I got even more confused.

      I am so used to VRoth speaking in Tris’s voice that it was difficult to transition away from that. As you said, in the end, its obvious why this dual narration is presented in the last book. I never even considered that before I read it though. So interesting.

      1. I keep thinking of things, haha.. BEWARE THIS MIGHT BE SPOILERY! Did you ever wonder about how openly & easily they discussed plans while in the compound at the Bureau? If they knew the Bureau was spying on the city.. wouldn’t they have been more cautious of that?? That stood out to me in a big way.

        1. admin

          That was definitely a big hole in the world building outside of the city. Why didn’t anyone attack the Bureau more often? That didn’t make sense.

      2. I REALLY DID NOT LIKE THE DUAL PERSPECTIVE! I don’t like it when authors deviate from their previously established story-telling because all of a sudden they need something different. If Insurgent was told all from Four’s perspective, it would have made A LOT MORE SENSE! but I don’t like it when it changes and there is no balance in a series.

  2. Agree, 100% . It wasn’t just the end that I am struggling with, it was really everything that happened after they left Chicago. I liked the two POV, but like the other commenter literally had to go back to the beginning of a chapter to see who is speaking. I have read several multiple POV books and never struggled with keeping track of my characters. Not sure if that was because it’s a series or if it’s that their voices were a little too similar at times. All in all, I liked the book… I just really wanted to love it.

  3. I’m still trying to come to terms with the ending. I read VR’s blog post about her reasons and perhaps that help me see a little more where she was coming from. But I also felt like this installment seemed like she rushed to write it, like you. And I would have liked to have known more about Caleb and his motives of betrayal. But anyways, still a good read for me.

    1. I’m listening to the audio of this right now. I’m about 3/4 of the way through and agree with you about a lot of the things you said.

      I also didn’t care for Tris and Tobias’s relationship in this book. I felt like they started bringing out more of the worst in each other instead of the best. Maybe it’s just the narrator but Tris came off as this very arrogant know it all, I’m always right person.

      Even though I’m not done and tried hard to avoid spoilers I pretty much figured out what must have happened. It’s kind of obvious with the huge reaction and then I saw a spoiler on a comment on a photo Veronica Roth posted on instagram. Now, I’m anxious to see if I feel the ending is justified. The way I see it if you’re going to do something like that you better have a really, really good reason. lol. Sorry for the super long comment. I really enjoyed your review though! 🙂

  4. I had a lot of mixed feelings about this book. Not with how it ended, I actually don’t care about that. It was, like you said, the fact that there was SO MUCH that was just NEGLECTED in this book, and so much that was RUSHED and underdeveloped.

  5. “I think the feeling that this book was written in a rush, without the care that was taken in books one and two, is what really disappointed me. As John Green so aptly pointed out, the world is not a wish granting factory and books do not owe us a happy ending. I guess I just expected more back-up from character development and world building than I got.”

    Yes to what you said above. I had no complaints about the ending, but still didn’t love the book. Like Ginger, I found the dual POV confusing. I though the transitions between the action and the romantic scenes were awkward. I think the book tried to incorporate too many new ideas (like the GP vs the GD) rather than work with existing themes and story lines.

    That said, I understand why so many people felt upset and betrayed by the ending. I think when YA authors feel pressured to make every book have a swoony romantic storyline, that might give readers the expectation that a long-suffering couple will (and should) find happiness at the end. I don’t really feel that way, but I am old and jaded 😉

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