Allegiant -- Veronica Roth
Book 3 (final) of Divergent
As much hype as Divergent has gotten because of its movie adaptation (and the lovely Theo James who is the big screen version of the lovely Four), this series was admittedly never really one I especially loved. Sure, the books have been well-written and fairly intense and exciting in comparison with a lot of other dystopians in recent years. And sure, this trilogy had its appeal. But at the same time, there really wasn’t much to set Divergent apart from every other YA dystopian ever written--save for the fact that there was never a love triangle nor a cynical YA female lead.
Tris can be said to be strong and ideal and kickass. I don’t deny that. And Four is her soul mate OTP counterpart as the strong, broody, hero. They make a great couple and they make a strong pair of teenagers, created to save the world and stuff like that.
I put off reading Allegiant for the longest time ever since word leaked about the ending that had fans breaking into two camps of love or outrage. It was amusing to see all the discussions, the debates, the anger and such stuff. I was indifferent since I was never really invested in these characters enough to care what would happen to them in the end.
Nonetheless, I’ve always been a Happily Ever After™ ending type of person and anything that deviates from that rose-colored ideal tends to give me pause. On the other hand, as I’d already stated, it wasn’t as if I was ever really a huge fan of the Divergent series to begin with.
In the end, I realize why I’d subconsciously pushed the book back time and time again when it was purposefully chosen as a book for my Reading Assignment challenge.
Allegiant (and its preceding two books) is well written, fast-paced, and intense. It’s hard NOT to fall into the story, narration, and progression. I can kind of see why it exploded into something so big--it also probably helped that the book ended up on the big screen.
But that’s probably where my personal likes stop.
I’ve still been quite uncertain about how I’ve felt about the entirety of the Divergent series’ world building. In the first book, the world was slightly confusing and the set-up monotonous--you also end up asking more questions than getting answers and you know you won’t get any of those answers for a while to come. Thus is the life of a trending YA trilogy.
The second book became more fast-paced, focusing more so on story progression and character development, yet we still see very little world building (or at least any that makes sense). Yes, you get to see more of the other factions. But really, who cares when I don’t know why they matter?
Finally, in this concluding installment of Divergent, we get to see the basis of the Divergent world and we get our answers to why things are the way they are. And I’m only slightly content with that. The problem is that it wasn’t all that unique considering all the other dystopian story lines in existence. And also, nothing really made much sense concerning the history of the Divergent world or anything else that we learn anew about factions, the people, and the technology and sciences.
More so, I never got a sense that I understood what time frame this world takes place in or even what what the state of the rest of the world is in, or even what’s actually going on outside of this community of factions. It was explained, but it was still vague.
To be honest, however, what really bugged me the most about this book wasn’t the ending that everyone else seemed to be upset about, though it wasn’t helpful either.
Allegiant was drawn out and dragged on. The beginning of this last installment gave us a meandering journey in which we had no idea what direction the story was going. At least I had no idea what was going on and what was supposed to be going on. And then when the action finally DID pick up, more events occurred that honestly did not make sense to me.
Tobias’ behavior was out of character and a bit hard for me to believe. Tris’ attitude became more annoying as the story progressed. It’s hard to believe that someone who presented as so level-headed and quick on his feet as Tobias would completely lose his composure and end up causing problems. And Tris’ holier-than-thou attitude made me irritated, especially since everything always seemed to work out for her anyway despite how reckless and thoughtless she’d always been and still continues to be.
No. The ending, while eliciting a pang of sadness in me, wasn’t what made me the most frustrated with this book. Although it wasn’t as if I really liked it either. Written well and handled well, yeah. I guess.
But in the long run, Tris’ death just felt a little unnecessary. Yes, it’s sad. And maybe it’s symbolic. But it felt like it was a stupid death because it could have been avoided if Tris would have just been developed beyond her typical reckless, unthinking self. There was no reason why she couldn’t have just stepped back and thought about her options before rushing headlong into danger just because it was her instinct to do so. There was no reason for her and her friends not to think of more options. I might be in the minority here about the ending, but Tris’ death was a needless one. I’m not saying it shouldn’t have happened; I’m saying it shouldn’t have happened the way that it did. There are better ways to stage a symbolic, heroic death, in fiction, and the way that Tris was killed really made no sense when I could see holes where that event might have been avoided if Tris really wanted stay alive.
My frustrations with this book really hinge on how pointless a lot of actions were, how much a lot of things didn’t make sense, how there seems to be no tangible story line outside of that global "this is a dystopian society and we're here to save the world just because", and how the characters just seem less relatable to me than they had even been in the first place.
As far as conclusions go, Allegiant wasn’t the best thing in the world, even if it wasn’t the worst. But it had taken two books just to come up with an explanation for the world surrounding the Divergent series, and it just didn’t feel satisfying, and in a way, kind of poorly thought out. With a draggy progression and a world that made little sense, I would have at least preferred a Happily Ever After™ to make up for it.
This book is a pre-chosen participant in the following Reading Challenge(s):