Something funny happened to me as I was reading "Allegiant".
I didn't go in with a completely unbiased mind. I hadn't enjoyed "Divergent" or "Insurgent", and, as an added bonus, I'd also spoiled myself thoroughly about the ending (I'm the kind of person who clicks on the spoiler tag. Curiosity is my middle name.) I had a ton of preconceived notions, and I thought that this would be a fairly straightforward, for-the-sake-of-research-and-goals type of read.
It didn't turn out to be like that. Because, halfway through the book, I had this thought, and once it took root, suddenly I saw everything (the whole series, not just this book) in a completely different light. I daresay it changed my entire opinion of it. It started off with me muttering about how Tris never struck me as a particularly interesting narrator, and how she was so annoyingly perfect, and how she didn't learn anything. And then I thought:
What if this wasn't Tris' story at all? What if it's Four's?
Content note: Discussion about abuse, sexism and gun culture under the cut.
"I don't like him anymore, if that's what you're really asking. But yes, at one time I did, and it was clear that he did not return that particular sentiment, so I backed off," Amar (Four's former instructor) says.
- Allegiant, p. 356
Translation: I expressed a romantic interest towards a teenage boy I used to teach. He was on the run from an abusive home situation and he obviously carried quite a lot of demons.
Well, goodness, Amar, it was sure nice of you to back off as you put it. Hard to imagine what would have happened had you not respected Four's boundaries.
And how, pray, did you find out that he did not reciprocate?
(I swear, I'm not trying to read things into the text, but the book just keeps serving stuff like that, I can't even!)
I sat on reviewing this for a long time. I have been trying to discern how I really felt about it. The up swell of hate this has generated isn't really something I can understand. If anything, I feel that the second book was the "bad" book in this bunch. I'm glad that it got moving semi-quickly in this book.
The faults I have found with the series is it basically reiterates itself over and over again, with slightly more dire circumstances. The confusion of the dual narratives is something I understand complaining about. They had the same voice and without differentiation it just felt a little pointless. After Four's narratives, he would show up and tell Tris everything that happened...which is something that could have been done without being taken away on the 14th rebellion against x, y, z.
This book doesn't fall flat, but it does pale against the first book. I never felt as captured (although I did feel more involved) as I did in the first book.
All in all this book provides the emotional depth that the 1st book couldn't and all the character development that the 2nd really should have had.
Spoilers, like in the first sentence
In answer to did she just kill Tris for shock? I don't feel that she did at all. I picture it this way: In action movies people dodge thousands of bullets and have infinite ammunition against their enemies, or infinite deus ex machina. People die in war and people sacrifice in rebellions; I guess I'm saying I appreciate Tris' sacrifice.
The one thing it robbed any character of is Caleb's redemption, which to be honest was clunky to me. No one just offers themselves up after 2 lines of dialogue.
I recommend this series, as it is entertaining and interesting. I just pray people can make it through Insurgent.