Author: Veronica Roth © 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: YA Literature & Fiction
Subgenre: Action & Adventure (Science Fiction), Social & Family Issues (Values & Virtues), Science Fiction (Dystopian)
Book received by: Purchased at retail store
Tris and Four return in this third and final installment of the Divergent trilogy. From their split perspective comes the story of their exploration beyond the fence. They learn that knowing of the world beyond their boundaries is different from understanding it and people within it. Relationships will be tested, new allegiances formed, and while everything seems different, in many ways, nothing ever changes.
Busy moms (& dads), I really wanted to like Allegiant. No, I wanted to love it. I read Divergent and Insurgent in a matter of days…a difficult feat for most of us with small kids. When I dove into Allegiant, it was with the same fervor. Right off the bat, I knew I was in for disappointment.
Okay, maybe not right off the bat. But the moment I flipped to chapter two and saw “Tobias” under the chapter heading, several things were ruined for me. First, the end. Why consistently tell a story through single POV for two entire (long!) books, only to change it up in the third? Suspicious. Second, the flow. When you’ve become accustomed to a certain narrator’s voice it’s jarring to have a sudden shift. Imagine the trilogy as one book instead of three. You’re two-thirds of the way through that book and the author suddenly introduces a new narrator. What?!?
Once adjusted to the new, split-POV style of Allegiant and my nagging theory about the end of the book, I dove into reading. In some ways, the characters stayed true to their story arc, with Tris maintaining her aversion to weapons and struggling to reconcile her strong feelings for Tobias (Four) with inability to let him in. Caleb, it seems, will always double-cross his sister. Four has changed by Allegiant, no longer the confident and strong Dauntless, now a weaker, inconsistent and angst-ridden character. Most of the adults in the book, both new and old characters, have unrealistic or illogical behavior. Other secondary characters are carried forward into this book and go with Tris and Four to the Bureau, the monitoring site for their home, dystopian Chicago. Important characters continued to die, much as they did in the two previous books, but their deaths did not seem to move the plot forward. In fact, the plot suffered the greatest death in this book. There are layers of details that don’t add anything to the story but more words on pages and plot holes that make on marvel that this book was written by the same woman who wrote the first two. The plot itself seemed thin, as if Roth was unsure how to wrap up the great cliffhanger end from Insurgent, so she created a series of explanations for the “experiments” run in several major cities, including Chicago. You could probably write an entire review on this part of the story alone, so suffice it to say, it fell flat for me.
Where Roth is capable is in maintaining a sense of curiosity in the reader. The tension in Allegiant may have been less intense than the previous two books, but she did manage to pull me through to the end. Her writing style reads easily, even through dialogue exposition of the how’s and why’s about the Chicago-experiment, the Bureau and its role and the somewhat-unbelievable science. Then I reached the end. After Divergent I marveled at the creation of this world and the people who live in in, hungry to know more. Insurgent left me chomping at the bit for the big reveal of what exactly lay beyond the fence. Allegiant made me wish Roth had figured out how to wrap up the store about four hundred pages earlier than she did and in a way that brought some satisfying closure to the series. The book was more than five hundred pages, majority of which I would describe as disappointing. Consider yourself warned if you go forward with reading Allegiant. It’s not the worst book I’ve ever read, and I did manage to read the whole thing. But it’s a far cry from good and I don’t plan to read it again.
Have you read Allegiant? I’d love to know your reaction! How did you feel about the end of this book and trilogy?
Is Allegiant on your “to-read” shelf? Have you read other books by Veronica Roth (such as Four) or another YA sci-fi/dystopian author? Please share your thoughts in the comments, I’m always on the lookout for new books to add to my shelf, and new authors try AND any I should avoid!
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Happy trails and may the good books be plentiful! 🙂
Featured image: Book jacket.
- Symbol art © 2012 Rhythm & Hues Design
- Jacket art & design: Joel Tippie