137 of 211 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Give it time to sink in.
My reposted review of the book:
I finished the book around noon yesterday and I had avoided spoilers. Its been about 24 hours since I've read the book, and I'm glad I've spent some time to reflect on it and try to figure out how I feel. At first, I loved the book until the very end. But then I went from being completely devastated and angry at Veronica Roth to now...
Published 4 months ago by Anjali
1,720 of 1,838 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Why Allegiant is one of the worst books I've ever read
**SPOILERS! RUN AWAY!**
First, let's address the elephant in the room that is the topic of most discussion about this book: The ending. I want to make very clear that I am not a person who needs a happy ending in a book, nor did I even really expect one in this series. I don't read books because I expect to see "...and they lived happily ever after" on the last...
Published 3 months ago by Penny
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1,720 of 1,838 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Why Allegiant is one of the worst books I've ever read,
This review is from: Allegiant (Divergent Series) (Hardcover)
**SPOILERS! RUN AWAY!**
First, let's address the elephant in the room that is the topic of most discussion about this book: The ending. I want to make very clear that I am not a person who needs a happy ending in a book, nor did I even really expect one in this series. I don't read books because I expect to see "...and they lived happily ever after" on the last page. In fact if this book had ended with some flash-forward to the house and kids like certain other series did, I would have been just as annoyed. That's lame. I don't need happy. What I do need and expect, from any book, is an ending that makes sense and satisfies the story.
This ending was not that ending.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. The real reason I give this book one star is because the book, as a whole, was awful. I'm sorry, but this is one of the most shoddily written books I've ever read in my entire life. And I say this as someone who absolutely adored the first two books in this series. I say this as someone who read Fifty Shades of Grey ... and Allegiant has officially taken that book's place as the worst book I've ever read. And I debated somewhat on that, but I decided that Allegiant wins because, while Fifty Shades was an affront to literature indeed, I don't actually wish I could go back in time and unread it. I wish to the heavens that I had never read Allegiant.
Let me first talk about the writing style. Roth employs the use of a dual narrative in this book, a departure from the first two books. I am not opposed to this style at all - in fact, I welcome it, as I find that a single-person narrative can sometimes be restricting. When done right, a dual narrative can allow a book to tackle parallel storylines and provide insights that you wouldn't get from following the story from one person's perspective.
This dual perspective was a mess.
When you use two first-person narrators, you have to (a) give them different perspectives to justify the use of this gimmick in the first place, and (b) make sure the voices are distinct so readers can actually tell who is speaking. Allegiant fails on both counts. The only reason this style was used is because of how the book ends, because beyond that there was simply no purpose for it. We did not get any new perspectives on either the story or his personality through using Tobias as a narrator. Whatever new information he learned without Tris being present, he passed it on to her anyway so it became repetitive. Outside of those moments, the two were pretty much in the same place the entire time, so we had no real parallel storylines going on, and having them in the same place made it very difficult to tell who was actually talking.
And this is the real failure with the dual narrative: Tris and Tobias were written identically. I, along with every single person who has reviewed this book, found myself constantly flipping back to check the chapter heading to remind myself who was talking. They were written like they were the same person, which is a shame because one of them is supposed to be a dude. What happened to Four the badass, the Dauntless legend, the one who was sensitive but tough, the one who took charge rather than let other people lead him? Well, apparently he was out buying tampons, because Allegiant turned Tobias into a 15-year-old girl. And a damn annoying one that I wanted to slap. With dueling angst-ridden girl voices, it was impossible to tell Tris and Tobias apart because they sounded exactly like each other. Actually, Tobias didn't sound like Tris in this book because Tris didn't even sound like Tris. Both characters were wildly different from how they were written in the previous books - Tobias becoming a whiny pansy and Tris a nagging know-it-all shrew. This made it that much harder to tell who was talking, since they weren't even the same people we knew. It was like they were both replaced by a third person who inhabited their bodies simultaneously.
Roth simply does not know how to write in another voice than, presumably, her own. I predict that the narrator in her next book will sound suspiciously like Tris even if it's a 75-year-old Japanese man.
Now that that's out of the way, let's get down to the meat and potatoes of why this is one of the worst books I've ever read: The plot.
This entire series has been building up to the Big Reveal: What is outside the fence that surrounds Chicago? Why were these people placed here? Why was the faction society really created? Now we're finally getting our answers. And it's even dumber than I ever could have imagined.
The series' premise was pretty flimsy. How could human beings be broken down by a single trait? Why would anyone think that segregating people based on their differences would be conducive to maintaining peace? Clashing ideals and competing belief systems have been the cause of mankind's wars since the beginning of time. And most of all, why is it no one apparently leaves the city, never even seems to occur to anyone to try? These plot holes were apparent from the beginning, but until now the story still worked mainly because it wasn't self-conscious about the premise. The previous books focused directly on the plot, not back story, and so you could ignore the "Why"s and just assume it would be addressed at the end. This book not only addresses the premise at last but brings it front and center.
Roth has said that she didn't really know where this story was going when she first started the series. This obvious fact finally catches up with her in Allegiant, as the entire premise completely falls apart with the most illogical, nonsensical, scientifically bogus back story that was ever pulled out of a person's ass.
Here's the skinny: Many years ago, in order to cure people of undesirable traits such as cowardice, selfishness, aggression, low intelligence and dishonesty (sound familiar?) - which were believed to be the cause of all of humanity's problems - some moron scientists figured out how to remove the specific genes that caused these traits. The alterations began to take effect after a few generations, and what they discovered was that removing the gene for one trait just enhanced another bad trait (um, duh), leading to a war between those who had been genetically altered and those who hadn't. The morons sought to correct their mistake by rounding up scores of genetically damaged people, sticking "corrected" genes in them, and locking them up in a controlled environment to wait for them to reproduce enough times for the bad genes to heal and return to a state of genetic purity (aka divergence).
First off, any genetic manipulation, whether removing or adding a gene, would manifest right in the subject being altered. It does not take multiple generations to appear. And so, if these people had the technology to remove a gene at one time, they can use that technology to put that same gene right back where it came from - and fix it at one time.
But even if the scientists were unaware of this, why would they put everyone in the experimental cities? If the goal is for these people to pass on these "corrections" for their descendants to be "fixed," they could do that anywhere. And, in fact, should - reproduce with the genetically pure people so the damaged genes will be watered down. But isolating them and forcing them to interbreed will only a create a founder effect: with no variation in this small genetic population, the damaged genes they carry will only become prevalent over time. They will just as likely make the defect stronger and eventually create new and perhaps even screwier genes through mutations as they would achieve any imaginary genetic "healing." If these people are such a scourge on society, the only reason it would be prudent to round them up in one place is so they could blow them all up at once.
This also doesn't work as an explanation for the society being divided into factions. They say they added this "nurture" component to some of the cities to see if it would help. How would encouraging their inborn behavior help? How would this aid the goal of "genetic healing" to isolate the people even further by keeping like aptitudes together so they end up reproducing with people with the same strain of genetic damage they have? The bad genes will get even worse.
And it still doesn't explain why no one ever leaves the city. So they were being watched. So what? These people were trapped for some 200 years with no idea what they were doing here, and no one in that time ever thought, "Hmm, I wonder if there's anything outside. Let's go find out"? Human beings are curious animals. If we were not inclined to explore our surroundings and push past barriers, most of the planet would be uninhabited. And Roth expects me to believe that an entire population stayed where they were, for that long, not knowing why they were here or why they couldn't leave, because of a fence and some guards with memory serum? How would that stop anyone? How does that explain why they never even tried? Unless the manipulations also involved removing the common sense gene, these experiments wouldn't have lasted eight weeks, never mind eight generations.
Was this really the best she could do? It's like she just ran with the first dumb idea that popped into her head without thinking it through or doing any research despite basing the ENTIRE PREMISE around a researchable topic. Honestly, just five minutes on the Wikipedia would have told her why it wouldn't work. Science fiction needs some level of plausibility. It doesn't have to make complete sense to OUR world logic as long as we are shown why it should make sense to the story's world logic. But this doesn't even hold up within the logic of the story - the experiment is inherently counterproductive to its purpose and an unrealistic waste of time with no context provided for why anyone would be so stupid, and retroactively applying this explanation to the story presented in the first two books just creates more plot holes.
But the worst offense is that this backstory is just anticlimactic and LAME. "Guess what, kiddies? Your lives are really a science project, there are cameras everywhere and people have been watching you Truman Show-style this entire time from a command center literally right down the street and yet somehow none of you ever figured this out for 200 years." Great idea. That's totally believable and doesn't make everything that happened in the series feel pointless AT ALL. Please. And throwing this nonsense in at the last minute? Might as well just say the whole thing was a dream. Suspension of disbelief can only go so far, and then a story is just too dumb to take seriously.
Sometimes a wacky concept only works if you accept it as is. She should have just left the premise alone and not tried to explain anything.
A lot of people say the ending ruins the series. For me, it's this backstory that ruins it because I now feel like I've been led on a wild goose chase as it is clear that Roth had no real plan for her story and was making it all up as she went along. The whole thing has the agonizingly awkward feel of an author who realized too late that she wrote herself into a corner and then half-assed her way out. Here's what I think: She had this idea for this funny little city with people living a funny sort of way and wrote a book around this idea with no intention of having any larger story behind it, but then she had to write two more books and realized she needed to come up with one after all. And so she crammed a series' worth of explanations into one book to make a "real story" out of it - and somehow ended up writing a completely different story altogether.
I think the moment she decided to find a scientific reason for divergence was the death knell for the story, and not just because her decision to have divergence be nothing makes the whole series feel like a waste of time. It seems she couldn't think of a "larger story" that worked to this angle AND stayed in line with the plot points she already wrote, so she opted for Biology For Dummies over continuity and twisted the story right out of coherence. The radical shift in story direction from ideological warfare between factions to science run amok and civil rights, taking the characters completely out of the current plot and inserting them into a new story so random as to be irrelevant - it feels like a book out of a totally different series rather than the conclusion of an existing one. It's all too far removed from the current story, like Tris and company crossed the fence and accidentally walked into the wrong book - one with choppy writing, characters who either fade into the wallpaper or undergo lobotomies, nonexistent worldbuilding, themes as subtle as a two-by-four and plot holes the size of minivans.
And worse, it's boring. Once the characters arrive at the Bureau the story comes to a halt and the book becomes one big infodump, but rather than making discoveries everything is just thrown at them. The big revelation felt very forced, like the author was saying to the reader, "Okay, this is what I came up with..." Just explanations upon explanations that somehow never really explain anything. And retcons! Oh, the shameless retcons. Remember when Edith/Amanda said she was a leader of an organization fighting for justice and peace and the Divergent were the signal for the people to come out? No, the video was a lie and they never wanted them to come out at all. Um, why would the video even exist, then? Am I not supposed to notice that Roth was just dropping this cliffhanger because she decided to switch tactics after Insurgent? The Bureau supplied Jeanine Matthews with the simulation serum to lead the attack on Abnegation so they wouldn't reveal this video. Um, if the Divergent are so precious, wouldn't it have made more sense to slip memory serum to the Abnegation so they wouldn't release the video, rather than instigate the slaughter of a high proportion of genetically pure people in the faction? And the big one, Natalie Prior was working for the Bureau and was inserted into Dauntless as a spy. Um, if she knew what was really going on and that the Bureau was saving Divergents, why wouldn't she help her own daughter escape? Why would she give her own life to save this video and reveal the "truth" if she knew it was a lie?
Anyway. It's at this point that we abandon the old premise and become immersed in a flimsy new construct where people are labeled by their genes and we are served an after-school special about prejudice so preachy and obnoxious that half the time I felt like the book was yelling at me. The world outside the fence, a paint-by-numbers mashup of every dystopian cliche ever written, is never fully fleshed out and so the reader can't connect with any of it. The trips to the Fringe serve very little purpose in advancing the story, and Tobias getting involved in their "uprising" was mind-boggingly stupid. Why in the world would Tobias, who intrinsically distrusts people and expects the worst of them, accept Nita's plans on face value when he barely knows her? Because he's bothered by the fact that he's "genetically damaged"? The Tobias we know wouldn't have even cared about that. It made sense for him to fall for Evelyn's lies in Insurgent because she was his mother and he was desperate to believe in her, but he knows nothing about Nita or any of these people and has no loyalty to them. Total character assassination for the sake of an utterly random plot point. Seriously, why is this story suddenly all about a battle for genetic equality?
And you know the whole factionless/Allegiant war, the thing the series used to be about? That all pretty much takes place offscreen and is barely even included in the book. And don't get me started on how it ends. Big Bad Evelyn, hellbent on world domination, plans to just kill everyone as the final step in said world domination plan. And she throws that all away because her son says pretty please with sugar on top. What??? Evelyn was never portrayed as anything other than a cold, calculating megalomaniac. But the son she never gave a crap about begs her to be his mommy again and, poof, she's not evil anymore? Give me a break. I might have forgiven the lack of buildup if she at least didn't cave so easily. Because it was Too Damn Easy. So easy that I wonder why Tobias didn't just do that 400 pages ago and saved me the trouble of thinking this story was going somewhere. And to top it off, Marcus just accepts her peace treaty and agrees to leave, just like that? Who are these people and what happened to the real Eatons? I actually don't mind that Marcus slinks off to who knows where and nobody even cares. It's a fitting end for a terrible man who only cared about how much he mattered over others. But I don't buy that he would cave so easily, either. What a lazy cop out.
And speaking of crap, let's discuss the ending. From cheap racism allegory to cheap religious allegory. Tris's sacrificial death. Like I said earlier, I don't need a happy ending in a story. I am not even opposed to the main character dying. I'll let you in on a little secret: I was spoiled on this detail prior to reading the book, and my reactions were, in order: annoyance that I had gotten spoiled; sadness that Tris dies; excited curiosity for the story; and then sadness again as Tris's death sunk in and I actually cried for a half hour - and I hadn't even read the book yet. I cried because I grieved this character, not because I was angry or disappointed about her death. I thought the idea was actually pretty cool. I never would have guessed that Tris would die. How many times in these books do the heroes miraculously survive against all odds? Every time. How refreshing, in theory, for the hero to actually not make it out. I was intrigued.
And then I read the damn book.
I think most people who do love this ending only look at the situation within the actual moment of sacrifice: The idea that Tris would take her brother's place. I agree with this. It is literally the only authentic or believable moment in the entire book. Of course Tris couldn't let Caleb die for the reasons he said; she is way too selfless slash stupid to let someone throw their life away when she could step in for them. The theme of this whole story, as the book repeatedly tells us, is about sacrifice. Tris was Abnegation at heart, and so her actions make perfect sense in the situation. She did what she had to do. The problem, though, is why she had to do it in the first place - how the situation came about.
When Tris offered to sacrifice herself in the previous books, it was because she found herself in a situation to do so due to circumstances beyond her control. But here the characters go out of their way to create the situation for absolutely no reason whatsoever.
The entire storyline was contrived just to shove the sacrifice in her lap.
The plan to release memory serum onto the people at the Bureau was totally arbitrary. They make no effort to come up with another plan to stop the Bureau from resetting the experiment, and there were much more logical options available to try. Why not work toward a plan to sabotage the vessels deploying the memory serum over the city? Why not try to evacuate everyone? Why not beg for a temporary stay of execution while Tobias talks his parents down from their war plans, since that's precisely what he ended up doing anyway? That was the reason David ordered the reset to begin with, so if they'd just done that in the first place they could have nipped the reset in the bud right off. But somehow the only thing they can think of is a mass memory wipe.
Here is where the story lost me: They learn the Weapons Lab is rigged with death serum, but rather than set out to try to get the passcode or hack into the system or disable the trigger somehow or just THINK OF ANOTHER IDEA, they immediately elect someone to go on a suicide mission. This attack wasn't going down in the next five minutes. They had 48 hours and they make NO effort to think of a plan where someone wouldn't have to die. Well. That's conveniently stupid.
And that death serum trap - can you say "random plot device"? Roth uses a slew of these to basically deus ex machina her way through the plot. Evelyn wants to kill everyone with death serum. The Bureau wants to stop this with memory serum. Our heroes want to stop THEM with more memory serum. It's all artificial conflict; it's contrived. Somehow there's a serum to magically fix any problem and yet the gang ignores all the myriad ways they could use them. Why not get truth serum from the Candor, since evidently it's very easy to drive in and out of the city all of a sudden, and coax the passcode out of David? Why do they need to release the memory serum en masse? Why not just get some from the Amity using it to keep people in the city and use it directly on the folks in charge of the reset? Or take the sample Tobias planned to give to one of his parents and use it on David? It is unfathomable that they wouldn't even think to try anything else with someone's life on the line. Logic, schmogic - gotta work that sacrifice thing into the story somehow!
Amazingly, it's Tris who proposes this foolish plan in the first place. Tris can be tough and unforgiving, and I get that she would want retaliation against the people responsible for the attack that killed her parents (Retcon alert!), but she is not evil, or stupid. It was glaringly out of character for her to denounce the Bureau's plan to erase people's memories as wicked and depraved, a fate worse than death, only to then suggest doing the exact same thing to them - even though most of the Bureau workers were innocent. Why is this a better option? Her answer: It isn't, but this one saves the people THEY care about. What? Who is this person? Dismissing one group as expendable to save your own interests. The Abnegation would be proud. This moral relativism might work in another context, but it's counterintuitive to Tris's death as a testament to her selflessness for her to die committing an ultimately selfish act. The others even acknowledge what a questionable plan this is but concede that they don't know what else to do. That's not an excuse. It's not okay just because you can't think of a better idea, and for them to act like it is was also out of character.
And in what world would Tobias think that Tris would EVER stand by and watch her brother walk to his death? She's pulled this crap before and he's always called her out on it. Maybe getting his period interfered with his radar.
It would be different if the plan was a last-minute, last resort idea; if all alternatives were proven inaccessible and there was just no other way; if the characters had been established as morally bankrupt morons prone to jumping to extreme worst-case scenarios before working through problems rationally. But none of these is true. In her last moments, Tris says true sacrifice comes from necessity and not without exhausting other options. Exactly which options did they exhaust? This situation was not necessary; it was impulsive, irrational and just plain idiotic. And for what?
Since this book did such a good job of effectively reducing the city to pointlessness, I actually wondered why it even mattered if the reset happened or not and why I was supposed to care - especially since literally none of the characters we cared about were in any danger. I get that they care and they need to stop it, but the larger issue of reprogramming the Bureau's agenda was laughably absurd. So they tricked one building full of people into believing in genetic equality. So what? The rest of the world still doesn't. Nothing changed beyond Chicago, and what happened here was ludicrous. They all just accepted the lies they were told? Nothing contradicted them? These people answer to a higher authority overseeing the experiment in other cities. The government would just replace these workers with new ones who hadn't lost their minds. The idea that they would let them stay in charge and turn Chicago into some GD/GP utopia wasn't believable either.
THIS is what our hero's final moment is built on?
I would have no problem with Tris dying, would even applaud it, if the circumstances truly called for it. As I said, I knew her fate going in, and so I anticipated a good story, an epic death for a truly epic character. A hero's sacrifice. But there are way too many holes in this story to justify a sacrifice by anyone. Roth needed to deliver Tris to her destiny but failed to create a believable, organic or even vaguely logical path to take her there, instead using cheap plot devices, actions with no logic and characters behaving woefully OUT of character to force the story into its prearranged conclusion. And while one might blame this on a lack of creative skill, truthfully I believe the problem is simply that she rushed through this book and did not take time to properly think out the plotline for her ending. The unfortunate result is a hastily put together concoction that is too flawed to support its goal. It rings false, and it is very jarring to place such a "real" moment at the end of what feels like a fake story.
Even if we accept the nonsense that put Tris in the Weapons Lab in the first place, her death was still unnecessary. She survived the death serum by sheer force of will, proof that she did not want to die - but now the plot officially no longer required her to die. I admit I am not opposed to the irony of Tris the Invincible being taken out by something as mundane as a couple of bullets, but the scene in which David confronts and shoots her felt too convenient and contrived just to ensure her death. The actions, once again, did not feel organic to the story or the characters, and so I was acutely aware that it was not David's hand pulling the trigger, but Roth's. She was forcing the story to kill her. But why?
When the main character dies, it should be integral to the plot. Either it was the unavoidable result of preceding actions, or the required catalyst for later actions. We know the former is not even remotely true, but what about the latter? What did her death create? If Tris could have carried out the mission without dying but was killed some other way anyway, it had to be because her death was needed to move the story forward - her death, and not the mission itself, was an instrument of change on its own.
But her death didn't do anything. It didn't move the plot. It didn't motivate the other characters into actions that moved the plot, nor did it change them in any way. Her death didn't save the city. The memory serum would have worked the same way even if David hadn't shot her as she was setting it off. Nothing that took place in the aftermath of her death was actually the result of her death.
Tris's death was meaningless from a plot perspective and served no purpose beyond the thematic point of sacrifice. And while the relevance of this theme to her character is clear, the failure to incorporate the necessity of her death into the narrative makes it seem merely arbitrary.
I read Roth's blog where she explains Tris's journey in trying to understand sacrifice. The first time Tris attempts sacrifice, it's for love but unnecessary so she lives; the second time it's necessary-ish but not for love so she lives. But this last time she got it right, love AND necessity, so she dies. Congrats, Tris, you did it for the RIGHT reasons this time! You know what you believe in now! Your search for identity is over and so you've no need to traverse this earthly plane anymore. And so you shall die, because you earned it!
I find it disturbing that this story about a girl's quest for identity, which speaks to the reality of so many young readers, ends by basically saying that since she has found her sense of self she no longer needs to go on. Becoming whole doesn't mean your job is done now! That's when the real test begins - true, honest and certain of who you are and what you want to do. This is when you start living. What does Tris gain by dying?
This final act is meant to be the culmination of Tris's story of growth and discovery, but she achieves her growth when she realizes why she must take Caleb's place. Her understanding of sacrifice is satisfied in her willingness to die for him, because she loved him, because there was no other way; actually dying neither added to that point nor made the sacrifice any more real, and her actions don't tell us anything we didn't already know. We always knew she was selfless and brave and willing to sacrifice herself. Even though she wasn't "trying" to be sacrificial this time - she was just trying to do right by her brother - she is still doing the same thing she always does, because this was always who she was. It doesn't add to our understanding of her for her to do it again. I am also alarmed by Roth's logic that Tris's death honors her parents, who died for her. Her mother's ghost/hallucination even appears to tell her how proud she is of her. (Whatever.) Yes, when I sacrifice myself for my child, I don't want her to honor my beliefs by living a good selfless life. I want her to go out of her way to risk her life in the name of selflessness just to prove herself to me. Sure.
Tris found her way back to Abnegation when she decided to take the risk for her brother. She did not need to die to do so UNLESS DYING WAS THE ONLY WAY TO DO IT. But it wasn't; she was able to survive this. Forcing her death is just forcing the point for its own sake, as all story outcomes would have been exactly the same if she had lived. The story did not need Tris to die. She only died because the author felt that she should, because "her journey was over." That is contrived. That is dying for the sake of dying.
That is pointless.
When you do something as controversial as killing off the main character, even if it was planned that way all along, you absolutely must execute it properly. The story must be tight, the writing flawless - otherwise it falls flat. This was not executed well at all. It was not fulfilling; it was empty and unsatisfying. There was no emotional payoff, no promise of hope, no real resolution. A book with a devastating ending can leave a reader emotionally spent but satisfied, if there is some purpose to it. But this ending came off as too senseless, and so, like most senseless tragedies, it just leaves you feeling traumatized. And angry.
Writers should not tailor their stories a certain way purely to appease the audience - that would be pandering - but a published author has a certain responsibility to take their readers' expectations into consideration. Roth once stated that she felt the Harry Potter series would have been better if Harry died - that it would have been the most powerful moment in the story and an incredible act of heroism. In explaining Tris's death, she says that Tris had earned an ending as "powerful" as she was. I am a little disturbed by her romanticized notions about sacrifice and death, obvious Christ parallels and all, in books aimed at young audiences. J.K. Rowling has said she did consider this ending for Harry, but she knew that such a twist, "powerful" or not, was just not what her audience wanted.
Roth would do well to learn this lesson in understanding your audience. Her idea was fine in theory, maybe, but probably not for a YA fantasy series. I suspect this is why so many readers complained of feeling "cheated" by this ending - this isn't what they signed up for. Personally I love the idea of Tris going out in a blaze of Abnegation-style glory, but I'm several years outside the target market and so that may be why this type of ending doesn't bother me in principle as it does others. What does bother me, though, is how horribly executed it was. The whole affair was crap.
The whole BOOK was crap.
Now, I don't think all the blame for the absymal nature of this or any book falls squarely on the author. I think when a series is an established success, the editors and publisher likely don't feel the pressure to crank out a truly quality product since they know it's going to be a bestseller regardless. This book really needed three or four more rounds of rewrites before it should have ever been allowed to go to print. It reads like a rough draft. Guaranteed moneymaker or not, I can only assume the editors were drunk when they let this through.
1,371 of 1,470 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Read if you enjoy being depressed and disappointed,
I finished this last night and afterwards I felt just dead inside. I absolutely hate when a series ends leaving me feeling unsatisfied and even, in this case, angry. I feel kind of betrayed by the author.
I loved Divergent. The book had its faults, but I really fell in love with the whole story, the characters, the romance between Tris and Four, the Factions, etc. I read and re-read Divergent probably 8-10 times. I bought the audio book version as well. I was SO PSYCHED about the movie! I bought Insurgent and devoured it as well. It didn't have quite the same magic for me that Divergent did, but I still loved it. So I was REALLY psyched to read Allegiant.
And maybe my hopes were too high.
I don't know.
That doesn't change the fact that this book utterly and completely disappointed me.
For real, SPOILERS!
READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!
**What's outside the fence?**
I was really excited, after reading the 'cliffhanger' ending to Insurgent, to find out what was outside the fence. I had my theories, and I was right about some, wrong about others. I was expecting the cameras and Truman Show-esque thing, but I was not expecting all the genetic manipulation crap. As soon as our heroes get outside the fence, there are chapters and chapters of info dumping and, to be honest, it's kind of dull. We learn that Chicago (and some other cities) were created as 'experiments' because of genetic manipulation gone wrong. Supposedly these cities were an attempt at creating more 'genetically pure' people (aka Divergents). This is so far-fetched and bizarre, but I was willing to go along with it.
**Tris and Four**
I wasn't against the dual perspective, though once I finished the book I realized why she HAD to write it in a dual perspective. However, I don't think it was done well. There were several times where I would get halfway through a chapter and not remember who I was in the head of at the time, mostly because the two narrators had identical voices.
Tris has always been an interesting character to me. I really liked that she was tough, but a little vulnerable and naive. I liked her progression through Divergent and Insurgent. She doesn't really progress much here. We've always known Tris is a selfless person who is more than willing to sacrifice herself for the greater good, or for her loved ones. That doesn't change here. More on that later. She does become kind of arrogant and holier-than-thou here, and it really started to bug me. She's 16, but she often acts (and everyone treats) her like a grown-up. She is pretty much always right in Allegiant and she makes sure everyone knows it.
Four was awesome in Divergent. He loses all of that awesomeness in Allegiant. He becomes quite whiny and pathetic to the point where I actually wanted Tris to break up with him. She probably should have, considering some of the stupid and completely out of character stuff he does. I really hated seeing him reduced to this quivering mess of a boy who does nothing but wax poetic about his mommy and daddy issues. Four was always strong, and he is the polar opposite of that here.
I did enjoy the progression of their relationship though. Some people have complained about the scene where Four accuses Tris of being jealous, but I actually liked it. I like that they, FOR ONCE, acted like TEENAGERS. Unfortunately that was a tiny part of this book, and for the rest of it they act like 30-40 year old worldly adults.
**THE END OF THE CONFLICT**
So we have Four's mother Evelyn running Chicago like a factionless tyrannical dictatorship. Johanna and Marcus running the Allegiant, trying to reinstate the factions.
Evelyn has been portrayed as a nearly heartless person, hell bent on making all the Factioned people clean toilets like the Factionless had to do for so many years. At the height of the conflict, she is willing to allow a "Death Serum" to kill pretty much everyone in Chicago in order to avoid going back to the Factions. This is when Four arrives and says "Hey Mom, I'll be your son again if you stop acting like a monster" and she goes "Okay."
She then negotiates with Marcus and Johanna. Marcus wants to take over as evil dictator and Johanna says "Nah, you're not gonna do that" and Marcus just says "Okay."
Roth has not shied away from killing off characters in the first two books, but I felt like most of that had a purpose. Tris' parents in the first book, Al (due to the guilt over his own actions towards Tris), Jeannine in Insurgent, and more. Deaths in Allegiant come just as rapidly and have even less meaning. Tori dies in a very sudden manner, and then is mostly forgotten about. She was referred to as the leader of the Dauntless, but she is killed and then is nothing more than an afterthought for the rest of the book.
Uriah's death is given a lot more page time, but only as a way to make Four feel like total garbage for getting involved in the rebellion and to make Tris "right" once again.
The biggest death of all was Tris, and this was the biggest disappointment to me. I will be straight up honest - I LIKE a happy ending. I read YA because I like knowing that things will most likely end up happy overall. I read romance because I know there will always be a happily ever after. HOWEVER, I can deal with a bittersweet ending so long as it feels satisfying and feels like closure.
Tris' death was NOT that ending.
Caleb's betrayal was a huge part of Insurgent, and that continues on in Allegiant. He has a LOT to atone for in Allegiant and when he volunteers for the suicide mission to help save everyone, he does it because he wants Tris to forgive him. And he doesn't want to live with the guilt of what he did. Instead of letting him, Tris forces him to let her go instead. I understand this. Tris forgave him and doesn't want him to die because he feels guilty. I get it.
Caleb doesn't get that opportunity to redeem himself. While I understand that Tris acted the way she had to act, that doesn't mean Caleb can't take a bullet for her. That doesn't mean he can't force a redemption. Instead, Tris dies in a completely unsatisfying scene that left me going "WHAT THE HECK JUST HAPPENED?" Caleb lives and basically still is the coward and traitor.
Caleb NEEDED to redeem himself. He needed to take that bullet for Tris and die.
Instead, we get this messed up ending where Caleb lives. Peter lives (gets his mind erased BY HIS OWN CHOICE and gets to start over). Marcus lives (just disappears somehow). David (Tris' murderer) lives (also gets his mind erased and even though he's an evil murderer, no one cares because he doesn't remember). Almost all the bad guys live and get to have perfectly happy, normal lives.
This is NOT SATISFYING.
THIS IS POINTLESS.
Sorry, but this book was awful. I wanted to love it. I REALLY wanted to love it. I was willing to deal with all the weird genetically damaged stuff. I was willing to deal with the complete dismantling of Four's character. I was willing to deal with a lot, but Tris' pointless and needless death... NOPE. This death felt like it was here for shock value only. So the author could be "edgy" and "different."
Unfortunately, all she did for me is ruin the entire series. I won't be re-reading Divergent or Insurgent anymore. I won't be re-reading Allegiant. And I definitely won't be seeing the movies that I was once so excited for. Knowing how depressingly it ends ruins it all for me
969 of 1,089 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring, repetitive and monotone,
I know everyone is harping on the ending, but that isn't even the problem in this novel. I don't expect much YA novels to be Hemingway, or Rowling even, but reading Roth's monotonous and continuously stilted, short sentences for the duration of this story made me long for some artistic flare. A bit of purple prose, even.
My main problem is that Roth, for having decided to alternate POVs to both Tris and Tobias, has created no discernible tonal differences between the two. Neither develop a distinct personality and that leads to a boring read. If each chapter title did not state whether it was in Tris or Tobias' view, then I would not have been able to tell who was the narrator, aside from situationally figuring it out. Both viewpoints really do read that similarly.
Again, the very minimal diction (not to be confused with the bare style of The Road, an artistic masterpiece in simplicity) also leads to little passion. For all the kissing that Tobias and Tris do (a lot), there's little romance and tension. Unfortunately, this style also renders the rest of the novel, including all those action scenes, as repetitive and somewhat boring.
Finally, about that ending. I give a lot of leeway to authors. They can do whatever they want, even if it devastates me, as long as it serves a purpose. In this case, I don't see how the ending served the story for the better except for "shock-value," mainly because the end is filled with too many plot holes. Plus, by the time I even reached the end, I was already bored to apathy.
And just to be clear, my low-ish rating of this novel was not affected by the ending. I found the rest of the novel to be far more problematic.
532 of 613 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars you've got to give them hope,
Ms. Roth had a lot of opportunity with this book. But because of her huge readership, she had a lot of power and responsibility too. She needed to write a good story. I don't mean "write a happy story." I mean write a good story as in one with a coherent plotline, robust characters, and emotional tension. These are simply the qualities that readers trust to get from Ms. Roth based on the first two novels, and it is in this point that Ms. Roth completely fails with Allegiant. We can see this from the many negative reviews: If you're going to kill off a main character, it had better make sense and not strike thousands of readers as arbitrary. If you're going to write in two voices (and sacrifice the ability to deeply understand one character's psyche), make sure that the voices are different enough that readers don't get confused. If you're going to create a power hungry character in Evelyn, don't make her transition at the end seem like it's a senseless and unbelievable 180-degree turn. Allegiant has none of the memorable and multi-dimensional characters that were introduced in books 1 and 2 (Nita is far less developed than Al or Johanna). The tension from the training fights and simulation attack in Divergent, as well as the tension in the attack on Erudite headquarters in Insurgent, are replaced by bumbling revolutions and counterrevolutions that do nothing more than alienate and confuse the reader into wondering "why do I care?" And on top of all this sloppy mess is the ending, written as if its aim is to shock this blustering treatise on eugenics into being a captivating novel.
In his Nobel Prize speech William Faulkner said, "the poet's, the writer's, duty is to...help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past." Yes, Faulkner is probably not often cited in a YA novel review, but his words certainly resonate here. An author has a prerogative to tell a story, but also has a responsibility to help the reader care about the story. A good writer knows that you do this by making the story relatable and believable. Whether you're writing Nobel prize literature or a good YA story, you have to bring out basic human values like bravery or empathy in an authentic and relatable way. Readers need to say, "Even though I'm really different from the character, I understand why he/she did that because I can imagine what he/she feels like." We know from the first two novels that Ms. Roth can write this way, but something is off in Allegiant because for all of its lip-service to bravery and self-sacrifice, it uses 500+ pages of fluff and still the Christ ending doesn't feel authentic, relatable or true to hundreds of reviewers.
Let's talk a little more about that ending; my opinion about it is a little more personal. Author John Green recently tweeted that he wants "stories to show me a bigger world than the one I know." And I completely agree. One of the things that annoyed me about this ending, however, was that it didn't show me a bigger world than what I know; it showed me what I already know. In real life I've lost people I love. I know how difficult it is to keep going, and so reading the end of this book felt like looking at a reflection. I don't need a book to remind me of the reality I live in every day. I need a book that shows "what's possible," instead of "what's actual." A "bigger world," to me, implies hope. Hope that there could be a world in which senseless loss is not the norm. In which children don't have to deal with losing family, losing friends, losing hope like they do every day in the real world. Harvey Milk once ended a speech with the words, "you've got to give them hope." I know that he was talking about a much more significant topic than a YA novel, but his words still fit. For me, and for the many real people who live with much more loss, destruction, war, and tragedy than I, we could use a little hope.
All in all, this book is not worth the reader's time and emotional investment, and the experience of reading it completely threatens the value of the first two installments. So many reviewers say that this trilogy is not worth reading. But no one should finish a trilogy and think, "I wish I hadn't started the trilogy." When the reader trusts an author enough to start a trilogy, it is the author's responsibility to finish that trilogy well. I wish we could go back in time and have the Ms. Roth who wrote the first two books rewrite the third book. That Ms. Roth understood how to write a good story and how to connect the reader to the story. I think that if she wrote this book using the same integrity with which she wrote the first two, hundreds of negative reviewers and I could feel enjoyment, satisfaction and contentment instead of disappointment, bitterness and regret.
389 of 449 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars I think YA readers are much more intelligent than this: SPOILERS!,
I posted this review on another forum in response to the never ending comments about the ending:
1. There were too many "climaxes", and unfortunately none of them happened on a couch in a hotel with hundreds of private rooms. Buh Dum Bum!
2. The serums: it makes sense on a "futuristic/dystopian" level to have some kind of biological technology that would be able to alter people's minds/DNA. The flaw in this installment was that VR didn't fully develop the divergent DNA as evolutionary or just resilient to these particular strains. For example: we know that over time we all develop immunity to some antibiotics. If the Chi town people were around 7-8 generations down of this initial genetic shift, some of them would have developed immunity, therefore the Bureau was needed to keep evolving the strain of serum to meet these needs. VR never went into that aspect, only barely, and mostly just to set Tris apart from the rest of the divergents, or GP's. This plot line, IMO, was necessary for us to tie together the whole reason for Janine wanted to get rid of divergents in the first place, especially since she knew about the outside world. Simply not enough about that, but more to it later.
3. Evelyn's choice was unrealistic for the Evelyn that VR created, but not as a mother in general. The more realistic shift would have been for Tobias to give her a truth serum first, and then see how she really feels about him. Then give her the choice to take the memory serum once he sees that she really does love him. I have no clue why VR didn't think of that plot device first.
4. Uriah's coma is unrealistic in a world where the bio tech is so advanced that they have no means to revive a brain, but they can alter your genes for memory loss (which only targets certain parts of memory: ID, EGO, etc.)
5. The USA concept would have been much more developed if there was another installment, perhaps a prequel story of Edith Prior as a girl or maybe her parents.
6. The POV. I'm not sure why no one has mentioned this, but it was almost like VR read the Allie Condie trilogy, which IMO is MUCH better than the Divergent trilogy. In Condie's the WHOLE story is in POV with the two main characters, so you get to see the different personalities develop throughout. This is what makes the difference in creating dynamic protagonists vs. static protagonists. Tris was static: she never really went through any catharsis or personal transformation. She remained true to her original self, albeit a much braver and aware version of that self. It was Tobias who changed and became a second protagonist in the third book. Had she really thought this through she would have had both POV from the first book.
7. Not to beat a very dead horse here but Tris' death could have played out with her surviving the death serum, but in her weakened state, she falls prey to the memory serum. This would have kept her alive, but with no memory of Tobias. Then we would have been able to see, if after two years pass, she really truly had those qualities of sacrifice and bravery, as we were able to see that the memory serum really didn't change the core aspects of Peter. Then the real tragedy would have been Tobias having to exist near a person who he loves but has no memory of him. We could have seen him trying to befriend her and with his new self awareness, seen if they could have fallen in love again without all the baggage.
8. David was a crap villain compared to Marcus, and Marcus just breezed right on out into the fringe. A worse conclusion for David could have been that everyone finds out about who he really was and they make him till fields or some other crappy job. But because he works for the government he gets to still hang around? Once again, if memory serum just erases your memory, but leaves your core personality traits intact, then he would have eventually reverted to his old self.
9. Tobias working for the new government with Johanna is a great way for him to explore his new found qualities, but how about telling us what plans they have for this new government? What are his job duties? Is he trying to make do with what they have, or actually find a way to make a better world? Once again, this concept is much more fleshed out in Condie's novels.
10. Family first? Tris said her family was dead and Tobias was her new family. It is a point in this world that they are able to choose the people who they consider family by picking a new faction or staying with the ones they came from in the first place! Why did she suddenly feel the need to sacrifice for a brother who tried to kill her and never explained his reasons other than his boss was persuasive? puh-leeaaasseeee!
11. Since it's a YA novel, I will agree that the scenes were a bit racy, but even in Twilight they consummate after a wedding, so it's something that VR could have addressed with a similar plot device. However, I come from the generation of Judy Blume where teens having sex is a realistic way to shape and develop characters. It seems that this sexual tension between T & T was going to have to come to a conclusion at some point.
Disappointing for a final in a trilogy. Some editor, somewhere in NYC, is getting fired for rushing this book, when clearly VR needed more time to think and develop her ideas. You don't see anyone rushing George RR Martin, because we don't mind WAITING FOR QUALITY!!!!!
WOW! I think I just wrote a book report!
I should have written this sodding trilogy myself!
Who's with me???!!!!!
178 of 204 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Frustrated & Let Down,
You know how author's outline their novels before they start writing. I'm pretty sure that this was Veronica's outline:
Title: This Book Is Bound To Be Great Because I'm Going To Make It Really, Really Sad
Outline: a. Tragically Ironic Death: Kill off Tori, only to find out pages later that her previously thought dead brother
was actually alive
b. Pointless Death of Very Likeable Character: Uriah
c. Pointless Death of Main Character: Tris
d. Leave 2nd Main Character Sad & Alone: Tobias
e. Let All The Worst Liked Characters Live: Tobias's Mom, Tobias's Dad, Tris's Brother, etc, etc
Seriously though, apart from all the really unnecessary deaths, this was just a really terrible book. The writing was bad, the plot was bad, the character development was non-existent (both new & existing characters), and many of the characters acted very out-of-character so to speak. Based on the previous two books, I do not believe that Caleb would have offered to be exposed to the death serum (ever!), I do not believe that Tobias would for a second believe that Tris was going to let her brother die (of course she was going to go in herself, Tobias would absolutely have known this and would never have left Tris at this point, no matter how much he wanted to see Uriah's family), and I also don't think that Tobias would have gone along with the original plan that got Uriah killed in the first place. The Tobias of the first two books was smart, determined, observant, and was a leader. The Tobias of Allegiant was whiny, impulsive, did I say whiny, and was completely a follower. Old Tobias would never have jumped into that original plan, with a group of people that he hardly knew. He also likely wouldn't have been too concerned about the whole GD/GP thing either.
Also, did any one else feel like the plan at the end was really preposterous. They all thought that it was really unacceptable that the memories of the people in their city were going to be erased, so they decided to instead erase the memories of everyone outside their city instead!?!? I kept waiting for someone to speak up and say 'Hold up a minute, this is a really terrible plan.' Why did everyone just so blindly follow Tris with no questions? Why did Tris think this was a good idea in the first place? I understand that she didn't want the people in her town to have their memories wiped, but I don't see the Tris of the first two books thinking that it would be acceptable to wipe everyone else's memories instead.
Uugh, it's been a few days since I finished Allegiant, and I still find myself very frustrated with this book.
I fear that Veronica Roth is going to think that all of these 1 & 2 star reviews are simply because the book didn't have a happy ending, and that is not the case. There are many books in this world that I love that have tragic endings (Game of Thrones, Harry Potter 4-7 (7 because of Dobby & Fred :( ), The Fault in Our Stars, Atonement, etc.). My problem with this book isn't that it didn't have a happy ending, it's that the novel that led up to the ending was poorly planned & poorly written.
I'm sad to say that up until last week, I was very excited about seeing the Divergent movie, but that I now find that I couldn't really care less. Farewell Veronica Roth, in the future, when I am walking through a bookstore, and I see that you have come out with a new series, I am going to continue walking and will instead buy a book from an author that I consistently like.
666 of 780 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars If you loved the first two in this series... leave it there and imagine your own ending.,
There are no actually stated spoilers in this review, yet they can be inferred.
I devoured the first two books in this series when they were released by Harper Collins 18 months ago. They are both wordy and overlong, but I loved them anyway. They were amateur, but that's okay. I enjoy plenty of "amateur" books. You know the ones, the ones where the author is untried, hasn't quite found her groove, isn't quite sure how to get her point across.
One of the things I loved the most was that the typical formula in YA dystopian books was that the heroine is depressed in the third book and it's painful to get through. Why is that good? Because Insurgent was that book for the Divergent Trilogy. Tris was a wreck in that story. She made foolish decisions, put herself in danger, teased death at every turn. It was depression, hopelessness, recklessness. It was painful, but I was hopeful because if we saw that behaviour in book 2, then book 3 was something to be excited about. There would be growth.
Then I was even more excited when I saw that this story was categorized as Teen Romance. So, not only would we see Tris' emotional growth, but there would be relationship growth for Tris and Tobias. After all, romances have "rules". They may be unwritten, but they are understood. And people who read romances are ticked if those rules aren't followed.
I read the first 12 chapters of Allegiant before I pottered off to bed. I was enjoying it. Getting inside Four's head was a lovely surprise and it seemed that he and Tris were going to figure things out. Before I had a chance to come back to the book I started hearing about negative reviews for the book. One or two and I don't think much of them. But that number was rapidly rising as my morning continued forward. While at the grocery store I stopped before the wall of hardcovers and couldn't stop myself from nabbing one off the shelf. I thumbed to the epilogue, skimmed enough to tell me what was going on, put the book back on the shelf, and then my emotions warred between anger and hurt.
Miss Roth broke one of the cardinal rules of romances. And she broke my trust. I don't care about realism. Life is emotional and sucks as it is. A story can be written where it's realistic in some areas, yet still allows us to hope in others. Quite frankly, life isn't worth it without there being hope. Can hope be argued in this story? Sure. Was the final scene poignant? Yes. I GET it. But that doesn't make it enjoyable. When I read a single book that drags my emotions through the mud, I want a payoff at the end. Something to make it all "worth it". Well, that goes triple when I'm dragged through a trilogy. As a reader, you're waiting for that moment. That payoff. Those words that leap off the page as if the author is saying, "See? You just had to trust me. I made you sad and hurt and ache before, but it's all worth it! See? See!"
Yeah. This book? Not worth it and makes me feel as if I wasted my time rereading Divergent and Insurgent this last week. Wasted my time being excited for MONTHS for Allegiant to come out. Wasted my breath when I told my family and friends about this series. And I never want to feel as if I wasted my time on a book. Do I always like the final installment in a series? No. I can name several where I wasn't thrilled with how a series ended, but Allegiant trumps them all.
If you want realism, look out the window and at the world around you. I returned my Kindle copy before getting past chapter 12 and I sure as heck don't want my daughters to read this. I'm deleting the other two books. I will not be watching the film when it's released in the spring. And I will not buy or read another book by this author.
303 of 353 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Jump off this train while you still can...,
These amazon reviews for Allegiant are much more entertaining than the book itself!
There are plenty of things that I resign myself to doing when reading a book meant for young adults. (I'm no spring chicken.)
Suspend disbelief and ignore glaring plot holes for the sake of a good adventure? No problem.
Chalk up a pattern of poor decision making to the naivete of youth? Sure.
Roll my eyes and skim through angst-filled dialogue that is expected of teenage romances? If I really, really must.
Veronica Roth, however, is not a teenager. And while I can give her credit for expertly depicting the dysfunction of a 16 year old's brain, she does not have the license to write like one of my 10th grade students. Chapter after chapter, we are forced to suffer through repetitive plot lines (Is this rebellion number 3? 4? 15?), snore inducing prose, disjointed (and unnecessary) narratives, and an incredibly poor use of the thesaurus function in Word. (Does someone have a count on how many times Tris' "blond head" appears in a crowd and her "petite frame" jumps into Tobias' tattooed arms? The editors need to return their bonus checks.)
I liked Divergent. No really, I did. Insurgent was a slight letdown but at least I cared enough to be disappointed with Tris and her inability to use summon rational thought. I was also willing to give Roth the benefit of the second book curse that plagues many a trilogy. I knew it was a lost cause by the time I hit Chapter 15. Instead of skipping straight to the Epilogue, I rode this train until it crashed and burned on the Weapons Room floor. (If you caught that reference, you have my empathy).
Save your money and go re-read Harry Potter. Or buy a book that is actually written for adults.
285 of 332 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Possibly the Worst Trilogy Ending I've Ever Read,
I eagerly anticipated this release, counting down the days. I grabbed it as soon as I was able and cleared my entire evening to devour it. My daughter and I loved the first 2 books. Are they the best written? No, but the story was good and the characters were engaging so that made them worthwhile reads.
Starting early on in the book, I realized that the author seemed to have lost the "voice" of the story, the voice she used to tell the first 2 installments had disappeared. Of course this can happen; authors grow and their voices often become more refined. Not so with this book. It was as if she had become bored with the story herself and just wanted to get it over with as quickly and conveniently as possible. Several opportunities were presented for some interesting story developments and then just simply glossed over, kind of like the author thought, "Well, I toyed with going in this direction but it would take too much work. Let's just forget I ever brought that up." That is frustrating.
As I moved on through the story, I stopped worrying about what had happened to the author's voice and started wondering what had happened to her mind. What was she thinking as she wrote this? How could she possibly believe this would be a satisfying ending to the story? Does she really think that the way the story ends leaves us wanting more from her? A good trilogy often ends right where you don't want it to, on the cusp of new, wonderful adventures, possibilities unfolding, plenty of room for your imagination to wander. This trilogy ended with every door you hoped might remain open sealed shut. Tobias is becoming a politician? Are you kidding me? A politician? I couldn't care less what happens from this day forward to any of the characters. Tris is dead. Tobias has gone into politics. The rest have suffered similar, miserable fates. Who wants to imagine what will become of any of them?
Ms. Roth, you lost it. Maybe you lost interest in your own story. Maybe you lost your voice. Maybe you lost your mind. But one thing you have most certainly lost is a fan and the other reviews make it clear that I'm not the only one. Now there's a movie coming out in the spring. Who cares about that? About the only thing I care about right now is that memory serum. Anyone have a spare vial around? I'd like to forget I started reading this trilogy in the first place.
225 of 263 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointed - and not only for the reasons everyone else is discussing,
I was very disappointed in this book - and not just for the kneejerk reason that everyone else is discussing. I thought that the entire book was a letdown. I felt that there are actually pretty significant character continuity issues, storyline flaws, and a serious issue with the dual point of view when the voices are the same. Overall the book was much slower than the other two. It had less action that Divergent, the exact same couple drama between Tris and Four as Insurgent, and nothing redeeming on its own.
This review contains spoilers.
First, the big one: Yes, like everyone else, I hated the decision to kill Tris. But for me, it's not just because Tris died. It's more how and WHY the decision was to kill her. I feel like Veronica Roth felt that the only way she could show that Tris was selfless was to kill her off - which isn't true. To me, it felt like The Matrix where they tried to fit Neo as the modern day Jesus Christ. Tris is so special that the death serum doesn't work on her! The only person in the world who is like that. Then she is murdered by David because he wants the system on the way that it was. And she sacrificed herself to save the world! How selfless! (Except was it really, when it was because she didn't want her brother to die because she felt he was doing it for the wrong reasons so she would feel guilty. Doesn't her feelings - not wanting to feel guilty - make it selfish?) It was just too contrived. I know that Roth is a Christian, but I never felt that it dictated her writing until this book.
Second, let's talk character continuity. EVELYN spent years neglecting her son, proved to be power hungry after creating her factionless army to strike back against the faction system, but choose to give all that up after being emotionally blackmailed by Tobias? That seemed super contrived and not at all in character. She never showed any humanity in Insurgent or Allegiant before the end. Her choice simply was not believable for the character. MARCUS is another power hungry character who, when presented with an option to give up his power, said, "no, I'm the leader" and Joanna said, "no, you're not and I'm going to tell everyone" and then he just folded and went off into the sunset? The man who was built up as a power hungry monster for three books would not have done that without more resistance. Or force. Or violence. PETER has shown no remorse for anything he's done for 3 books (which includes attaching people while sleeping, trying to kill Tris, turning on his Faction, etc.) but at the end he's so full of remorse that he chooses to take the memory serum and forget, in the hope that he would change? Not *once* had we seen even glimpses of remorse from him, so the total 180 degree remorse is totally out of character. No one changes 180 degrees in a matter of pages. You'd expect to see glimpses prior, so that the big change isn't completely out in left field. And even TRIS turns from someone with a strong sense of right and wrong to someone for whom the ends justify the means? Tris in Divergent would have said that wiping anyone's memory is morally wrong. Tris in Alligiant says wiping memories of those in her world are wrong, but in the government world is ok? And that's not character growth, because it's the opposite direction; it's lack of continuity.
Third, if you are going to have dual points-of-view, you have to make sure that the storytellers sound different. Tris and Tobias have too similar a voice. Their voices were almost identical. It's frustrating to not realize who is talking because they have the same voice. Several times, I had to keep going back to see whose viewpoint I was on. (Something you never had to do for Jodi Picoult, who employs that tactic.) I get why you had to have Tobias' storytelling (since she was killing off Tris, someone had to finish the book) but you need distinct voice if you do that. Fail on Veronica Roth's part.
Fourth, I felt this book (more than the others) had significant storyline flaws. The biggest to me is that they had already established that the Chicago Bureau was just ONE of several in the United States. Which means that just modifying the memories of the Chicago Bureau would do NOTHING because the experiment is still going on in other cities. And let's be honest, all the Government would do is send new people - with their memories - to Chicago to restore order and continue the experiment. When leaders are assassinated, the government goes on with new leaders. And the little offhand comment about Peter at the end - wiping his memory didn't really change who he was and what he thought b/c the rougher parts came out again - would be true of the Chicago Bureau anyway. And as a total aside, people at the Bureau watching everyone's lives play out on TV - isn't that a little Hunger Games ripoff? And the ending, everyone is friends with Caleb? I don't see it. They hated him since he worked with Jeanne. People wanted him to sacrifice himself, he let Tris do it (no matter how it played out), Tris does, and they are ok with Calab? That makes no sense whatsoever. And this book takes place at least 200 years in the future (I calculated 8 generations by 25 years). The U.S. is apparently in shambles. The west is wild. And yet, no other country has conquered the U.S.? Unlikely. She appears to be going for realism with Tris's death, but disregards it with other issues. We'd have been better with a no-name government. And we know that Tobias is not Divergent, and we know that he got Abnegation. Meaning that Tobias was Abnegation and selfless. Yet to prove that he wasn't genetically damaged, he is willing to hook up with people he doesn't even know for revenge, against Tris's comments? That's incredibly selfish. When he did it in Insurgent, the idea was that it was because it was his mother. Yet this time there is no reasonable explanation why he would be do something like that - which goes against his Abnegation selflessness that he was meant to be.
Finally, Tris's mother. First, she just gets dropped off in Dauntless at age 15, and NO ONE notices? They re-did *everyone's* memory? (And apparently not that well, since in Insurgent, Tris was identified as second generation by the simulation). Second, even at the end of Divergent, when her mother knew that she was going to sacrifice herself for Tris, she is *still* telling lies to Tris? Who she knows is Divergent so possibly in danger going forward? NO MOTHER WOULD SO THAT. That may bother e more than anything else in the book. If her mother was trying to save the Divergent, the minute you know (or even suspect) that your daughter is Divergent, you save your child. (And similarly, why didn't Amar ever try to save Tobias if he knew Tobias was Divergent - even if he was wrong about that). And did her mother know about Divergents b/c she was one (as she told Tris), or because she was from outside and was saving them (so yet another lie she told Tris at the end of her life)?
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Allegiant (Divergent Series) by Veronica Roth (Hardcover - October 22, 2013)