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Allegiant (Divergent Series)
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on October 24, 2013
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!



**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.


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."

Conflict over.



**Mass Murder**

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.



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
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on October 25, 2013
I've found that my opinion of this book has gone down with time, so I'm editing this review....

Summary: "Allegiant" wasn't entirely bad, but it was by far the weakest of the "Divergent" series, including the short stories. There were parts that I liked, and at times, it had some of the same "I can't stop reading" feel that the other books had, but overall it felt very disconnected from the first two books. The characterizations and voices were different, and the plot had virtually no overlap with the earlier books. In many ways, the book felt like it had been written by a different author, enough so that at one point I went online to double-check that I had received the right book.

On top of that, the book left me with a tremendous feeling of loss that left me unwilling to ever read it again. Originally, I thought I would get over that and reread at least some parts of it, but I never did. Instead, my uncertainty turned to dislike, and I eventually removed the book from my Kindle so I wouldn't have to see it when browsing my library. Even worse, the book also turned me off the first two books in the series for a while. I don't think I would have gotten over that if it weren't for fanfiction, but fortunately, that restored the rest of the series for me. Still, I would have to say that on balance, I wish I had never read "Allegiant." It just didn't give me enough to make up for what it took away.

At this point, my honest recommendation is to read "Divergent" and "Insurgent" and then skip to fanfiction. There are several alternate third books out there that will give you closure on the series, including one I wrote called "Determinant" (if you're interested in trying it, search on "Windchimed Determinant"). There are also hundreds of alternate endings that assume the first part of "Allegiant" occurred but then pick up partway through that book and provide a happier ending. If you've already read "Allegiant" and want to forget it, those endings will help you do that.

For those of you who are still undecided, here's a summary of what works and what doesn't in "Allegiant"....

What works:

1. You learn more about Tris' mother. It's a little strange and contradicts the earlier books, but it's there.

2. You find out what happened to some characters who were mentioned earlier but not shown.

3. You get the story on the world around Chicago, why they're there, and how they came to be. Unfortunately, it's dull and contradicts the earlier books, but it does offer a type of closure.

4. There are some decent scenes.

5. It explores concepts you don't often see in YA books -- remorse, change, death, healing, and everyday forms of courage. In particular, though the end is crushingly sad, you realize that some of the characters improved each others' lives permanently and changed the world around them for the better, and that this effect doesn't go away when they die. Basically, their lives and relationships were worthwhile, even if much too short.

What doesn't work:

1. The book lacks emotion. "Divergent" and "Insurgent" have a lot of feeling, both stated and implied. There are many scenes in those books that I re-read repeatedly, just savoring the feel of them. This book has very, very little of that, and what it does have isn't as good. The only feeling that's deep is grief, which is overwhelming at the end, but honestly, most of that grief is because you love the characters from how they were in the earlier books, not for what you saw in this book.

2. The narration never finds its groove and doesn't sound like it did in the earlier stories. Tris's sentence structure is suddenly short, with no "poetry" to the words, and Tobias/Four doesn't sound at all like he did in the short stories. Also, they sound so much like each other that I kept forgetting whose POV I was reading.

3. Most of the other characters disappear or die without any further development. They have very few lines, and some of them (including some important ones) literally die without ever speaking a new word.

4. The whole faction concept, with all of its interesting elements, basically just goes away.

5. There's startlingly little consistency with the earlier books. Personally, I thought there were subtle clues in the first two books about the characters and about what plot developments were coming, and I expected to see Roth pick up on those the way JK Rowling always did, but absolutely none of them came back that way. As an example, Tori got through Jeanine's defenses, implying she was Divergent, yet we saw her kill an Abnegation leader during the simulation, implying she wasn't. I thought we'd learn more about her, but there's nothing. I expected some big reveals about Caleb and Peter, but those didn't happen either. Uriah, one of the more interesting side characters, says almost nothing. The same goes with Evelyn, and the relationship between her and Natalie Prior, and Marcus, and really all of them -- those clues are all left as loose strings.

6. The plot is simplistic, inconsistent with the earlier books, and full of holes. The earlier books had a lot of action and unexpected twists and turns. This one doesn't.

* Warning: The rest of this review contains major spoilers. *

To me, the biggest disappointment with Tris wasn't her death. That was actually the most in-character part of the book. What frustrated me was how she got there. She found out that people were going to wipe memories, and she immediately planned to wipe their memories instead, without even trying to think of any other solutions. Why didn't she offer to go into the city and fix things another way to avoid the need for the reset, the way her mother did years earlier? Why didn't she at least try to use her influence on David to get him to see another perspective? For that matter, she could have kidnapped David and taken him into the city to keep the rest of the Bureau from attacking, or she could have used the memory wipe serum directly on him to get him to forget about the plan.

Instead, she jumped straight to the idea of setting off the serum en masse. And then, after she decided that, she apparently could only think of one way to get it. She didn't try to figure out the passcode, even though Tobias is great with computers and even though David was obsessed with her mother and might have used her name as a passcode. She didn't consider attacking the group that was taking the serum to the plane to try to release the serum by shooting the container it was in. She didn't seem to make any effort at all. Instead, she just stated that it was a suicide mission and let her brother agree to die for it. It was so glaringly out of character that I assumed Roth was going to have a bunch of other things happen to change this course of action, but she didn't.

Also, I can't help but feel like this entire book was an attack on Tobias. He had almost nothing good in his very dark life, and this book took away what little he had. He lost his Divergence, and he lost Tris, and for a while he lost Zeke's friendship. I suppose the point was to show that life is still worth living no matter what, but it really felt like heaping even more punishment on top of someone who didn't deserve it. There was no sense of justice to it at all, and that's a horrible feeling to walk away with at the end of a trilogy. I think that's the biggest reason this book "sat" so poorly for me. Injustice always does.
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on November 1, 2013
Some chapters I left unchanged, those who have read the book will know the parts that I altered.
But again, I did copy, word for word, some of the chapters from the book just to keep the story the same. All I changed was the ending and some minor details.
I added about 8 chapters of my own writing.

The death serum smells like smoke and spice, and my lungs reject it with the first breath I take. I cough and splutter, and I am swallowed by darkness.
I crumple to my knees. My body feels like someone has replaced my blood with molasses, and my bones with lead. And invisible thread tugs me toward sleep, but I want to be awake. It is important that I want to be awake. I imagine that wanting, that desire, burning in my chest like a flame.
The thread tugs harder, and I stoke the flame with names. Tobias. Caleb. Christina. Matthew. Cara. Zeke. Uriah.
But I can't bear up under the serum's weight. My body falls to the side, and my wounded arm presses to the cold ground. I am drifting...
It would be nice to float away, a voice in my head says. To see where I will go...
But the fire, the fire.
The desire to live.
I am not done yet, I am not.
I feel like I am digging through my own mind. It is difficult to remember why I came here and why I care about unburdening myself from this beautiful weight. But then my scratching hands find it. The memory of my mother's face, and the strange angles of her limbs on the pavement, and the blood seeping from my father's body.
But they are dead, the voice says. You could join them.
They died for me, I answer. And now I have something to do, in return. I have to stop other people from losing everything, I have to save the city and the people my mother and father loved.
If I got to join my parents, I want to carry with me a good reason, not this -- this senseless collapsing at the threshold.
The fire, the fire. It rages within, a campfire and then an inferno, and my body is its fuel. I feel it racing through me, eating away at the weight. There is nothing that can kill me know; I am powerful and invincible and eternal.
I feel the serum clinging to my skin like oil, but the darkness recedes. I slap a heavy hand over the floor and push myself up.
Bent at the waist, I shove my shoulder into the double doors, and the squeak across the floor as their seal breaks. I breathe clean air and stand up straighter. I am there, I am there.
But I am not alone.
"Don't move," David says, raising his gun. "Hello, Tris."

"How did you inoculate yourself against the death serum?" he asks me. He's still sitting in his wheelchair, but you don't need to be able to walk to fire a gun.
I blink at him, still dazed.
"I didn't," I say.
"Don't be stupid," David says. "You can't survive the death serum without an inoculation, and I'm the only person in the compound who possesses that substance."
I just stare at him, not sure what to say. I didn't inoculate myself. The fact that I'm still standing upright is impossible. There's nothing more to add.
"I suppose it no longer matters," he says. "We're here now."
"What are you doing here?" I mumble. My lips feel awkwardly large, hard to talk around. I still feel that oily heaviness on my skin, like death is clinging to me even though I have defeated it.
I am dimly aware that I left my own gun in the hallway behind me, sure I wouldn't need it if I made it this far.
"I knew something was going on," David says. "You've been running around with genetically damaged people all week, Tris, did you think I wouldn't notice?" He shakes his head. "And then your friend Cara tried to manipulate the lights, but she very wisely knocked herself out before she could tell us anything. So I came here, just in case. I'm sad to say I'm not surprised to see you."
"You came here alone?" I say. "Not very smart are you?"
His bright eyes squint a little. "Well, you see, I have death serum resistance and a weapon, and you have no way to fight me. There's no way you can steal four virus devices while I have you at gunpoint. I'm afraid you've come all this way for no reason, and it will be at the expense of your life. The death serum may not have killed you, but I am going to. I'm sure you understand -- officially we don't allow capital punishment, but I can't have you surviving this."
He thinks I'm here to steal the weapons that will reset the experiments, not deploy one of them. Of course he does.
I try to guard my expression, though I'm sure it's still slack. I sweep my eyes across the room, searching for the device that will release the memory serum virus. I was there when Matthew described it to Caleb in painstaking detail earlier: a black box with a silver keypad, marked with a strip of blue tape with a model number written on it. It is one of the only items on the counter along the left wall, just a few feet away from me. But I can't move, or else he'll kill me.
I'll have to wait for the right moment, and do it fast.
"I know what you did," I say. I start to back up, hoping that the accusation will distract him. "I know you designed the attack simulation. I know you're responsible for my parents' deaths -- for my mother's death. I know."
"I am not responsible for her death!" David says, the words bursting from him, too loud and too sudden. "I told her what was coming just before the attack began, so she had enough time to escort her loved ones to a safe house. If she had stayed put, she would have lived. But she was a foolish woman who didn't understand making sacrifices for the greater good, and it killed her!"
I frown at him. There's something about his reaction -- about the glassiness of his eyes -- something that he mumbled when Nita shot him with the fear serum -- something about her.
"Did you love her?" I say. "All those years she was sending you correspondence... the reason tou never wanted her to stay there... the reason you told her you couldn't read her updates anymore, after she married my father..."
David sits still, like a statue, like a man of stone.
"I did," he says. "But that time is past."
That must be why he welcomed me into his circle of trust, why he gave me so many opportunities. Because I am a piece of her, wearing her hair and speaking with her voice. Because he has spent his life grasping at her and coming up with nothing.
I hear footsteps in the hallway outside. The soldiers are coming. Good -- I need them to. I need them to exposed to the airborne serum, to pass it on to the rest of the compound. I hope they wait until the air is clear of death serum.
"My mother wasn't a fool," I say. "She just understood something you didn't. That it's not sacrifice if it's someone else's life you're giving away, it's just evil."
I back up another step and say, "She taught me all about real sacrifice. That it should be done from love, not misplaced disgust for another person's genetics. That it should be done from necessity, not without exhausting all other options. That it should be done for people who need your strength because they don't have enough of their own. That's why I need to stop you from `sacrificing' all those people and their memories. Why I need to rid the world of you once and for all."
I shake my head.
"I didn't come here to steal anything David.
I twist and lunge toward the device. The gun goes off. Then again. But this time it sounds different. Pain pulses through my body. I hear Caleb's voice repeating the code, as if standing behind me helping me, encouraging me. My vision is starting to blacken. It will not end here. I won't let it. I hear Caleb's voice again as I finish typing in the code. The green button.
So much pain.
But how when my body feels so numb?
I start to fall and slam my hand onto the keypad on my way down.
A light turns on behind the green button. I hear a beep, and a churning sound.
I slide to the floor. I feel something warm dripping down my forehead onto my cheek. I raise a shaky hand and touch it.
Red. Blood is a strange color. Dark.
From the corner of my eye, I see David slumped over in his chair, a bullet in his shoulder. It doesn't make sense. But then again, nothing does anymore.
I feel a hand interlock with mine. I must be dying. Death has come to guide me to my fate.
I am done here.
It's when I feel a squeeze that I open my eyes to see Caleb, lying next to me, gun in hand.
He had come back for me. But not from guilt. The look in his eyes tells of a different reason.
As we both drift off into the unknown, I whisper, "I love you" just before he is gone.
Caleb is dead. He came back to help me. He couldn't let his sister die for him, for his guilt. He may have chosen Eurdite, helped Jeanine, and delivered me to my own execution, but the last little part of him that was Abnegation told him that running away wasn't the right thing to do.
Fighting side by side with me, he died like my parents. For me. For something bigger than all of us.
Everyone in my family is dead, but they did not die for nothing.

And I won't have either.

The threads of the serum that tugged me earlier tug again.
This time I do not resist. I go with them.
I am done here.

Evelyn brushes the tears from her eyes with her thumb. We stand by the windows, shoulder to shoulder, watching the snow swirl past. Some of the flakes gather on the windowsill outside, piling at the corners.
The feeling as returned to my hands. As I stare out at the world, dusted in white, I feel like everything has begun again, and it will be better this time.

"I think I can get in touch with Marcus over the radio to negotiate a peace agreement," Evelyn says. "He'll be listening in; he'd be stupid not to."
"Before you do that, I made a promise I have to keep," I say. I touch Evelyn's shoulder. I expected to see strain at the edges of her smile, but I don't.
I feel a twinge of guilt. I didn't come here to ask her to lay down arms for me, to trade in everything she's worked for just to get me back. But then again, I didn't come here to give her any choice at all. I guess Tris was right--when you have to choose between two bad options, you pick the one that saves the people you love. I wouldn't have been saving Evelyn by giving her that serum. I would have been destroying her.
Peter sits with his back to the wall in the hallway. He looks up at me when I lean over him, his dark hair stuck to his forehead from the melted snow.
"Did you reset her?" he says.
"No," I say.
"Didn't think you would have the nerve."
"It's not about nerve. You know what? Whatever." I shake my head and hold up the vial of memory serum. "Are you still set on this?"
He nods.
"You could just do the work, you know," I say. "You could make better decisions, make a better life."
"Yeah I could," he says. "But I won't. We both know that."
I do know that. I know change is difficult, and comes slowly, and that it is the work of many days strung together in a long line until the origin of them is forgotten. He is afraid that he will not be able to put in that work, that he will squander those days, and that they will leave him worse off than he is now. And I understand that feeling--I understand being afraid of yourself.
So I have him sit on one of the couches, and I ask him what he wants me to tell him about himself, after his memories disappear like smoke. He just shakes his head. Nothing. He wants to retain nothing.
Peter takes the vial with a shaking hand and twists off the cap. The liquid trembles inside it, almost spilling over the lip. He holds it under his nose to smell it.
"How much should I drink?" he says, and I think I hear his teeth chattering.
"I don't think it makes a difference," I say.
"Okay. Well... here goes." He lifts the vial up to the light like he is toasting me.
When he touches it to his mouth I say, "Be brave."
Then he swallows.
And I watch Peter disappear.

The air outside tastes like ice.
"Hey! Peter!" I shout, my breaths turning to vapor.
Peter stands by the doorway to the Eurdite headquarters, looking clueless. AT the sound of his name--which I have told him at least ten times since he drank the serum--he raises his eyebrows pointing to his chest. Matthew told us people would be disoriented for a while after drinking the memory serum, but I didn't think "disoriented" meant "stupid" until now.
I sigh. "Yes, that's you! For the eleventh time! Come on, let's go."
I thought that when I looked at him after he drank the serum, I would still see the initiate who shoved a butter knife into Edward's eye, and the boy who tried to kill my girlfriend, and all the other things he has done, stretching backward for as long as I've known him. But it's easier than I thought to see that he has no idea who he is anymore. His eyes still have that wide, innocent look, but this time, I believe it.
Evelyn and I walk side by side, with Peter trotting behind us. The snow has stopped falling now, but enough has collected on the ground that it squeaks under my shoes.
We walk to Millennium Park, where the mammoth bean sculpture reflects the moonlight, and then down a set of stairs. As we descend, Evelyn wraps her hand around my elbow to keep her balance, and we exchange a look. I wonder if she is as nervous as I am to see my father again. I wonder if she is nervous every time.
At the bottom of the steps is a pavilion with two glass blocks, each one at least three times as tall as I am, at either end. This is where we told Marcus and Johanna we would meet them--both parties armed, to be realistic but even.
They are already there. Johanna isn't holding a gun, but Marcus is, and he has it trained on Evelyn. I point the gun Evelyn gave me at him just to be safe. I notice the planes of his skull, showing through his shaved hair, and the jagged path his crooked nose carves down his face.
"Tobias!" Johanna says. She wears a coat in Amity red, dusted with snowflakes. "What are you doing here?"
"Trying to keep you all from killing each other," I say. "I'm surprised you're carrying a gun."
I nod to the bulge in her coat pocket, the unmistakable contours of a weapon.
"Sometimes you have to take difficult measures to ensure peace," Johanna says. "I believe you agree with that, as a principle."
"We're not here to chat, Marcus says, looking at Evelyn. "You said you wanted to talk about a treaty."
The past few weeks have taken something from him. I can see it in the turned-down corners of his mouth, in the purple skin under his eyes. I see my own eyes set into his skull, and think of my reflection in the fear landscape, how terrified I was, watching his skin spread over mine like a rash. I still am nervous that I will become him, even now. Standing at odds with him with my mother at my side, like I always dreamed I would when I was a child.
But I don't think I'm still that afraid.
"Yes," Evelyn says. "I have some terms for us both to agree to. I think you will find them fair. If you agree to them, I will step down and surrender whatever weapons I have that my people are not using for personal protection. I will leave the city and not return."
Marcus laughs. I'm not sure if it's a mocking laugh or a disbelieving one. He's equally capable of either sentiment, an arrogant and deeply suspicious man.
"Let her finish," Johanna says quietly, tucking her hands into her sleeves.
"In return," Evelyn says, "you will not attack or try to seize control of the city. You will allow those people who wish to leave and seek a new life elsewhere to do so. You will allow those who choose to stay to vote on new leaders and a new social system. And most importantly, you, Marcus, will not be eligible to lead them."
It is the only purely selfish term of the peace agreement. She told me she couldn't stand the thought of Marcus duping more people into following him, and I didn't argue with her.
Johanna raises her eyebrows. I notice that she has pulled her hair back on both sides, to reveal the scar in its entirety. She looks better that way--stronger, when she is not hiding behind a curtain of hair, hiding who she is.
"No deal," Marcus says. "I am the leader of these people."
"Marcus," Johanna says.
He ignores her. "You don't get to decide whether I lead them or not because you have a grudge against me Evelyn."
"Excuse me," Johanna says loudly. "Marcus, what she is offering is too good to be true--we get everything we want without all the violence! How can you possibly say no?"
"Because I am the rightful leader of these people!" Marcus says. "I am the leader of the Allegiant! I--"
"No you are not," Johanna says calmly. "I am the leader of the Allegiant. And you are going to agree to this treaty, or I am going to tell them that you had a chance to end this conflict without bloodshed if you sacrificed your pride and you said no."
Marcus's passive mask is gone, revealing the malicious face beneath it. But even he can't argue with Johanna, whose perfect calm and perfect threat have mastered him. He shakes his head but doesn't argue again.
"I agree to your terms," Johanna says, and she holds out her hand, her footsteps squeaking in the snow.
Evelyn removes her glove fingertip by fingertip, reaches across the gap, and shakes.
"In the morning we should gather everyone together and tell them the new plan," Johanna says. "Can you guarantee a sage gathering?"
"I'll do my best," Evelyn says.
I check my watch. An hour has passed since Amar and Christina separated from us near the Hancock building, which means he probably knows that the serum virus didn't work. Or maybe he doesn't. Either way, I have to do what I came here to do--I have to find Zeke and his mother and tell them what happened to Uriah.
"I should go," I say to Evelyn. "I have something else to take care of. But I'll pick you up from the city limits tomorrow afternoon?"
"Sounds good," Evelyn says, and he rubs my arm briskly with a gloved hand, like she used to when I came in from the cold as a child.
"You won't be back, I assume?" Johanna says to me. "You've found a life for yourself on the outside?"
"I have," I say. "Good luck in here. The people outside--they're going to try to shut the city down. You should be ready for them."
Johanna smiles. "I'm sure we can negotiate with them."
She offers me her hand, and I shake it. I feel Marcus's eyes on me like an oppressive weight threatening to crush me. I force myself to look at him.
"Good bye," I say to him, and I meant it.

Hana, Zeke's mother, has small feet that don't touch the ground when she sits in the easy chair in their living room. She is wearing a ragged black bathrobe and slippers, but the air she has, with her hands folded in her lap and her eyebrows raised, is so dignified that I feel like I am standing in front of a world leader. I glance at Zeke, who is rubbing his fists to wake up.
Amar and Christina found them, not among the other revolutionaries near the Hancock building, but in the family apartment in the Pire, above the Dauntless headquarters. I only found them because Christina thought to leave Peter and me a note with their location on the useless truck. Peter is waiting in the new van Evelyn found for us to drive to the Bureau.
"I'm sorry, I say. "I don't know where to start."
"You might begin with the worst," Hana says. "Like what exactly happened to my son."
"He was seriously injured during an attack," I say. "There was an explosion, and he was very close to it."
"Oh God," Zeke says, and he rocks back and forth like his body wants to be a child again, soothed by motion.
But Hana just bends her head, hiding her face from me.
Their living room smells like garlic and onion, maybe remnants from that night's dinner. I lean my shoulder into the white wall by the doorway. Hanging crookedly next to me is a picture of the family--Zeke as a toddler, Uriah as a baby, balancing on his mother's lap. Their father's face is pierced in several places, nose, ear and lip, but his wide, bright, smile and dark complexion are more familiar to me, because he passed them both to his sons.
"He has been in a coma since then," I say. "And..."
"And he isn't going to wake up," Hana says, her voice strained. "That is what you came to tell us right?"
"Yes," I say. "I came to collect you so that you can make a decision on his behalf."
"A decision?" Zeke says. "You mean, to unplug him or not?"
"Zeke," Hana says, and she shakes her head. He sinks back into the couch. The cushions seem to wrap around him.
"Of course we don't want to keep him alive that way," Hana says. "He would want to move on. But we would like to go see him,"
I nod. "Of course. But there's something else I should say. The attack... it was a kind of uprising that involved some of the people from the place where we were staying. And I participated in it."
I stare at the crack in the floorboards right in front of me, at the dust that has gathered over time, and wait for a reaction, any reaction. What greets me is only silence.
"I didn't do what you asked me," I say to Zeke. "I didn't watch out for him the way I should have. And I'm sorry."
I chance a look at him, and he is just sitting still, staring at the empty vase on the coffee table. It is painted with faded pink roses.
"I think we need some time with this," Hana says. She clears her throat, but it doesn't help her tremulous voice.
"I wish I could give it to you," I say. "But we're going back to the compound very soon, and you have to come with us."
"All right," Hana says. "If you can wait outside, we will be there in five minutes."

The ride back to the compound is slow and dark. I watch the moon disappear and reappear behind the clouds as we bump over the ground. When we reach the other limits of the city. It begins to snow again, large, light flakes that swirl in front of the head lights. I wonder if Tris is watching it sweep across the pavement and gather in piles by the airplanes. I wonder if she is living in a better world than the one I left, among people who no longer remember what it is to have pure genes.
Christina leans forward to whisper into my ear, "So you did it? It worked?"
I nod. In the rearview mirror I see her touch her face with both hands, grinning into her palms. I know how she feels: safe. We are all safe.
"Did you inoculate your family?" I say.
"Yep. We found them with the Allegiant, in the Hancock building," she says. "But the time for the reset has passed -- it looks like Tris and Caleb stopped it."
Hana and Zeke murmur to each other on the way there, marveling at the strange, dark world we move through. Amar gives the basic explanation as we go, looking back at them instead of the road far too often for my comfort. I try to ignore my surges of panic as he almost veers into streetlights or road barriers, and focus instead on the snow.
I have always hated the emptiness that winter brings, the blanket landscape and the stark difference between sky and ground, the way it transforms trees into skeletons and the city into a wasteland. Maybe this winter I can be persuaded otherwise.
We drive past the fences and stop by the front doors, which are no longer manned by guards. We get out, and Zeke seizes his mother's hand to steady her as she shuffles through the snow. As we walk into the compound, I know for a fact that Caleb succeeded, because there is no one in sight. That can only mean that they have been reset, their memories forever altered.
"Where is everyone?" Amar says.
We walk through the abandoned security checkpoint without stopping. On the other side, I see Cara. The side of her face is badly bruised, and there's a bandage on her head. But that's not what concerns me. What concerns me is the troubled look on her face.
"What is it?" I say.
Cara shakes her head.
"Where's Tris?" I say.
"I'm sorry, Tobias."
"Sorry about what?" Christina says roughly. "Tell us what happened!"
"Tris went into the Weapons Lab instead of Caleb," Cara says. "She survived the death serum, and set off the memory serum, but she was shot... in the head. She's alive... but it doesn't look good. I'm so sorry."

Most of the time I can tell when people are lying, and this must be a lie, because Tris is fine. Her eyes bright and cheeks flushed and her small body fully of power, and strength, standing in a shaft of light in the atrium. Tris is fine, she wouldn't leave me here alone, and she wouldn't go into the Weapons Lab instead of Caleb.
I take off running to the hospital wing where she remains fighting.
As I'm running I realize: of course Tris would go to the Weapons Lab instead of Caleb.
Of course she would.
Christina yells after me, but to me her voice sounds muffled, like I have submerged my head underwater. The details of the halls are difficult to see, the world smearing together into dull colors.
When I reach her room, I look in. All I can do is stand still--if I stand still I can pretend everything is all right. That she isn't dying right in front of me.
All I'm doing is standing still. Helpless.

As I sat next to her bed, I remembered when her body first hit the net, all I registered was a gray blur. I pulled her across it and her hand was small, but warm, and then she stood before me, short and thin and plain and in all ways unremarkable--except that she had jumped first. The Stiff had jumped first.
Even I didn't jump first.
Her eyes were so stern, so insistent.
But that wasn't the first time I ever saw her. I saw her in the hallways at school, and my mother's false funeral, and walking the sidewalks in the Abnegation sector. I saw her, but I didn't see her; no one saw her the way she truly was until she jumped.
I suppose a fire that burns that bright is not meant to last.
I've been with her for a week now. They say she gets better every day, but she's a fighter, I hoped she would. I'd be excited about her progress, but everyone has warned me that when she's finally awake, I might not have my Tris back.
They don't know what she'll be like. No one's ever survived the death serum. Not to mention she was shot in the head, and laid there dying while everyone was gassed. And I was nowhere near her.
I should have been there. I didn't feel right leaving her alone with this big of a task.
I'm always right, I can hear her say.
But this time she wasn't. I've let her down so many times because I wouldn't listen to her. For trusting my own instincts over my own.
I was so worried about letting her down again, that I ignored what I felt completely.
And now she's here. And it's my fault.
I'm in a daze. I haven't slept, but I don't feel tired. I try to keep busy, keep the company of others, and am crippled by loneliness when I leave them. I feel like I have lost everything. I watch everyone else recover from the memory serum that altered them permanently. Those that are lost are gathered into groups and given the truth: that human nature is complex, that all our genes are different, but neither damaged nor pure, and Tris is a hero. They were also given a lie: that their memories were erased because of a freak accident, and that they were on the verge of lobbying the government for equality for GD's.
My hands shake as I stop by the control room to watch the city on the screens. Johanna is arranging transportation for those who want to leave the city. They will come here to learn the truth. I don't know what will happen to those who remain in Chicago, and I'm not sure I care.
I shove my hands into my pockets and watch for a few minutes, then walk away again, trying to match my footsteps to my heartbeat, or to avoid the cracks between the tiles. When I walk past the entrance I see a small group of people gathered by the stone sculpture, one of them in a wheelchair--Nita.
I was there for some of Uriah's last breaths. Christina found me to let me know that they were unplugging him.
We go to the observation window, my body aching with each step. Evelyn is there--Amar picked her up in my stead, a few days ago. She tries to touch my shoulder and I yank it away, not wanting to be comforted. I don't deserve it.
Inside the room, Zeke and Hana stand on either side, holding his hands. I notice a doctor standing near the heart rate monitor, extending a clipboard not to Hana or Zeke but to David. Sitting in his wheelchair. Hunched and dazed, like all the others who have lost their memories.
"What is he doing here?" I feel like all my muscles and bones and nerves are on fire.
"He's still technically the leader of the Bureau, at least until they replace him," Cara says from behind me. "Tobias, he doesn't remember anything. The man you knew doesn't exist anymore; he's as good as dead. That man doesn't remember shooting--"
"Shut up!" I snap. David signs the clipboard and turns around, pushing himself through the door. It opens and I can't stop myself--I lunge toward him, and only Evelyn's wiry frame stops me from wrapping my hands around his throat. He gives me a strange look and pushes himself down the hallway as I press against my mother's arm, which feels like a bar across my shoulders.
"Tobias," Evelyn says. "Calm down."
"Why didn't someone lock him up?" I demand, my eyes to blurry to see out of.
"Because he still works for the government," Cara says. "Just because they've declared it an unfortunate accident doesn't mean they've fired everyone. And the government isn't going to lock him up just because he shot a rebel under duress."
"A rebel," I repeat. "That's all she is now?"
"Of course not," Cara says softly. "She's a hero now, but as far as everyone is concerned now, it was an accident. Confusion. It was chaos around here. No one knew who the good guys were."
I'm about to respond, but Christina interrupts, "Guys, they're doing it."
In Uriah's room, Zeke and Hana join their free hands over Uriah's body. I see Hana's lips moving, but I can't tell what she's saying--do the Dauntless have prayers for the dying? The Abnegation react to death with silence and service, not words. I find my anger ebbing away, and I'm lost in muffled grief again, this time not just for Tris, but for Uriah, whose smile is burned into my memory. My friend's brother, and then my friends too, though not for long enough to let his humor work its way into me, not for long enough.
The doctor flips some switches, his clipboard clutched to his stomach, and the machines stop breathing for Uriah. Zeke's shoulders shake, and Hana squeezes his hand tightly, until her knuckles go white.
Then she says something, and her hands spring open, and she steps back from Uriah's body. Letting him go.
I move away from the window, walking at first, and then running, pushing my way through the hallways, careless, blind, empty.
Bright lights.
Am I alive?
My name is Beatrice Prior...
I know nothing else.
I wake up to Christina standing over me, eyes wild with excitement.
"Tris!" She's pants. "She's awake!"
Before I even realize it, I'm jumping out of my bed and take off running. When I reach the hospital, I shove doctors out of my way and practically kick her door open.
She stares at me. She's there. Awake.
I don't know what I expected, but it wasn't this.
She looks the same, yet different. She's quiet and still.
And she's scared. She's looking at me like a stranger...
She doesn't remember me.

>>>>con't in next post
3737 comments| 38 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Report abuse
on November 16, 2013

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.
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on October 22, 2013
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.
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on October 22, 2013
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.
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on October 23, 2013
I think Veronica Roth either didn't like being a popular author or was trying to shock the heck out of readers so her version of a dystopian future would be remembered. Unfortunately, if the latter is the case, I think she just ended her YA writing career--and a movie franchise with it. How did her editor and publisher allow this?

I just met Roth at a signing and told her how upset I was with this book. Her flippant reply? "Maybe you should go get some ice cream or something so you can feel better." I completely agree that these are her characters to do with as she wishes, but as a school librarian, I won't be recommending this series to my students any longer. The thing about YA dystopian fiction is that it always leaves the readers with a sense of hope. I didn't get that here at all. Even a complete memory wipe for Tris and Tobias would have been preferable to this.

And I haven't even touched on the humongous holes this story has, which were very ably pointed out in many other reviews here.

All in all, I'm devastated and very, very baffled by Roth's choices. Was having Tris as a Christ figure more important than telling a good, satisfying story?
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on October 24, 2013

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.

In conclusion:

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???!!!!!
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on October 23, 2013
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 understanding that this was the best ending of the series...and it may even be the best conclusion to any series or book I've ever read. For me, this series is right up there with Harry Potter, I love it that much.

There were flaws, like how easily Evelyn gave into Tobias, and then all the revolutions and counterrevolutions were a little difficult to keep up with, but the overall commentary on human nature is what will makes this series a classic in my mind.

Some of the things I loved:

- The Tris and Tobias POV...I understood Tobias even more, and it made their scenes together even more sweet. And when Tobias makes that one big mistake, I have his POV so I can understand where he is coming from.

-Tris and Tobias in general. This has the be the most realistic relationship I've ever read, and not just in young adult fiction. You get to see the insecurities they both have and how much they mean to one another. Roth gives the best definition of love-that it is knowing your flaws and the flaws of the other person but still CHOOSING to be with that person. Out of all the books, Allegiant had the best part of their relationship. Its especially bittersweet that towards the end, when they are the most confident in their relationship and have pretty much sealed the deal, that they are unable to experience life together away from the chaos. That part made me the saddest.

Things I was sad that happened, but understand and accept them:

-Tris sacrificing herself for Caleb. At first I was angry at Veronica since I thought that she only made this plot twist to be controversial or different. But then I realized that I had known this would happen the second everyone decided Caleb would be the one to die. Knowing Tris and her values, I knew right away that she would not let Caleb die...no matter how much he might have deserved it. Her subsequent realization of what actual sacrifice means meant that it would be going against the integrity of her character for her not to take action. I actually believe that it was important for her to die, and that she didn't die for nothing. I don't think Caleb would have been able to do what they were supposed to do, only Tris could have. Caleb is a coward, Tris isn't. And she has integrity and principles which would have prevented her from doing anything other than sacrificing herself the way her mother had. Its ironic that despite all the serums that can't control her, in the end it was just a bullet that killed her. Almost proof that she was just a human after all.

-Tobias grieving for Tris. That memory serum scene with Christina crushed me. And then the scattering the ashes over the zip line was unbearably sad and beautiful.

And that's how I would describe Allegiant, sad and beautiful.

It's realistic and unfair, but incredibly deep.

It's a masterpiece.
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on October 23, 2013
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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