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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Review: Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth

Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: October 22, 2013
Pages: 526
Source: Bought
Rating: 3 Stars


The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.
But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love. 

This review is spoiler-free

In short: Allegiant by Veronica Roth was a letdown, but still a passable finale to a memorable series.
I'm having a hard time putting my thoughts about Allegiant into words, probably because they're all over the place. And I'm not entirely sure how genuine my feelings are as I experienced something of a reading slump while reading Allegiant. It took me three weeks to read it. THREE WEEKS! And this was a book that I had been dying to read for over a year. I am unsure whether I fell into this slump prior to reading Allegiant or whether it was Allegiant that started it off, but either way, I am disappointed that I experienced one during this eagerly anticipated read and I was disappointed with Allegiant on a whole.

Divergent and Insurgent were such exciting and completely enthralling reads for me. I was plunged into this dystopian world with a totally fascinating faction system and it was like I could just never get enough of the story and the characters. Allegiant, on the other hand, was a discordant note; it felt like it didn't belong with the first two books in the series. A good portion of Allegiant was slow and weighed down with exposition. It was only maybe the last 100 pages or so that returned to the level of excitement prominent in Divergent and Insurgent. I was happy to finally get an explanation into the faction system, but I was a bit disappointed with the weakness of said explanation and the pseudoscience that was supposed to support it.

Tris and Four continue to be incredibly flawed characters, but while I used to love that about them in Divergent, it has gotten increasingly frustrating over the course of the series. I used to love their strength and confidence, but at some point I became a bit weary of their condescension and irrationality. I understand why the dual point of view was introduced, but I can't say I was a huge fan of it; Tris and Four have virtually indistinguishable voices. I also wasn't really into their stolen make-out sessions scattered throughout a largely depressing story. Mmm, nothing like sexy times among the death and grief of an entire city. Not.

And then there is the ending that has everyone in an uproar. While I applaud Veronica Roth for the brave ending and while I believe she means it when she says she didn't write it for shock value, I still wasn't a fan. I suppose it could be that I missed the point completely, but I don't feel that that is the case. Rather, I see what Veronica Roth was going for and I recognize that it was meant to be a satisfying and meaningful end to the story, but I feel like she missed the mark. She tried for meaningful, but instead delivered an ending that really didn't need to happen (the plot holes in Allegiant were numerous, by the way). I can accept less than happy endings, but there needs to be a good reason for them.

I realize that I've had a lot of negative things to say about Allegiant and while it's true that I was definitely disappointed, I did like it enough to be glad that I read it. It didn't ruin the entire series for me like it supposedly did for lots of people. I admire Veronica Roth as she is a good writer with good ideas, but I think she maybe took on too much for Allegiant. She had too many things to wrap up and only one book to do so. The end result was only somewhat satisfying because while we got the answers we'd been wanting, some of them seemed too convenient and some of them a bit insubstantial. Overall, Allegiant was a letdown, but still a passable finale to a memorable series.

Previously, my reviews for Divergent and Insurgent.

Other Reviews:
Alison Can Read
Burning Impossibly Bright
Late Nights with Good Books

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17 comments :

  1. I was fine with the ending (and like you, I applauded Veronica Roth for it!) but it was the dual narrative that I hated. For the life of me, I couldn't tell Tris and Four apart and constantly had to flip back to see who was talking. And the makeout sessions? Drove. Me. Nuts. It seemed that every chance they got they were kissing and making out. Normally I'm a fan of that, but it just seemed overdone and out of place.

    This one only took me a few days to get through, but I thought it was a decent ending to the series. It definitely had its flaws, but I can't say that I was completely disappointed.

    Great review, Aylee!

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  2. I can't tell you how much I love this review Aylee, you so beautifully explain why this book as a whole didn't work for you rather than just the ending. I know this is a book that won't work for me, and this just about sums up why:

    "I can accept less than happy endings, but there needs to be a good reason for them."

    YES! I'm not a fan of unhappy or bittersweet endings at all, but I can handle them if they feel like they fit the story and it would be a detriment to the book overall for things to conclude any differently. I'm just not sure I would feel that way about this particular ending. Thanks so much for your thoughts, I so enjoyed reading them:)

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  3. I never read Insurgent because I didn't like Divergent. For which I'm kinda really glad about because I hate it when an epic series has awesome first two books but has a frustrating last book. But great review, Aylee! I'm glad that you still think it's a worthy read despite the shortcomings. Hoping for more great series to come your way!

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  4. I feel about the same as you on this book except I loved the ending. Also, I agree that Tris and Four's voices were indistinguishable. I liked the dual POVs but the voice similarity was frustrating.

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  5. Sorry you didn't love this one as much as the previous two. I still haven't started this series. I do want to read them, since there are only three books and I'll probably see the movie. to be honest, I don't read much dystopian because it doesn't always interest me. haha I love the hunger games though.

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  6. Great review, Eilidh! I was definitely disappointed with Allegiant, but I agree, it didn't ruin the trilogy for me....although in my anguish, I will admit to having a moment where I wished I'd never started it. It did pass though. :P I actually didn't find Tobias and Tris too similar, but I read Tobias's novella like right before Allegiant, so I was a bit more used to his voice. They did still share some similarities though...I think I did have at least one time where I had to go back and double check whose chapter it was. :P

    And I have to admit that I may have posted my review and talked about this book and my feelings...but I still don't think I've totally sorted out how I feel about it completely. I think it may be one of those books that I'm forever conflicted about.

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  7. It once took me three weeks to read a book as well and that puts you in the major slump- I think that's one of the reasons why our feelings tend to fall all over the place for the same books. I haven't read this series but it is on my TBR. So many people have hated the book and bthat's made me all the more curious to get to it ASAP. I really wish it had been a better read for you but I'm glad you at least didn't hate it to the core. Wonderful review!

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

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  8. I'm so glad to hear I'm not the only one who experienced an Allegiant related reading slump. I eventually set it aside because I was so underwhelmed and also I'd already had the ending spoiled for me. All in all, not a great recipe for book love. I really love your balanced, thoughtful review, and I'm glad this didn't ruin the series for you. I agree that i think Roth took on a bit more than she could reasonably handle in one finishing book. Great review!

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  9. I am totally with you on the ending!

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  10. I have all of the books in this series and I just can't decide on if I should actually pick them up or read them or not. Insurgent seemed to really disappoint people and this one doesn't seem much better. I want to read great books, not so so ones. Great review Aylee!

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  11. We seem to have about the same opinion of this finale, although mine may be a tad more negative. How disappointing!
    Maybe Roth didn't write the ending for shock value necessarily, but I don't believe for a minute she wasn't using this as a way to distinguish her work from other dystopians where the characters still manage a semblance of a "happily ever after." I think she wanted to make her series as a whole more memorable, but in this case it just ended up feeling forced and disingenuous.
    I wouldn't say the series as a whole was ruined for me, but after reading Allegiant I think I'd like to think about the first two as existing by themselves. This was not the ending they deserved.
    Still, it was interesting to read your thoughts on this one, Aylee. Sorry you also had a frustrating experience with this one.

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  12. I found Divergent to be pretty full of plot holes, mostly in terms of world building. For starters, I just wasn't convinced that the world in the book could ever come to be. Given that, I probably won't be reading any further in the series, but given all the furor over Allegiant, I really appreciate your even-handed review :)

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  13. I was so hoping for Allegiant to be a killer finale to this trilogy but sadly it just seems it wasn't meant to be. Like you, I was really captivated by Divergent...and even Insurgent initially but the more I think back on it, I remember being really frustrated with Tris & Four - especially with regards to their relationship with one another. Reading what bothered you about them both in Allegiant only reminded me of that fact even more...since it seems to still be an issue here o.O

    I still haven't managed to get my hands on Allegiant but I still want to, even though I feel like I'll feel like you do. I just *have* to know how it all ends. I appreciate your insightful (& spoiler-free) take on it though - it'll have prepared me for what to expect! Lovely review Aylee!

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  14. I agree about the pace of Allegiant. The middle seemed to have a lot of answers and not much plot. I thought the ending was gutsy, too. My friend just texted me and said she was so mad about this ending and it was mostly from plot holes and things that didn’t make sense. I liked the ending for the most part, but I agree - there were too many unexplained things for it to really hit home. Great review.

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  15. I was not a fan of this book. I thought it was boring and I felt like the majority of the novel was Tris and Four fighting and one minute trusting one another and the next not. It was all over the place. I don't know. I don't think I enjoyed the series as a whole as much as others. I am excited about the Divergent movie though. Theo James as four... hello!

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  16. I only dared to read your review now after finishing Allegiant last night and I must say I'm quite surprised with your three-star rating. I lay there bawling for the last fifty pages, honestly, and that kind of reaction tends to provoke in me some kind of extreme rating :P Or at least it would, if everything else wasn't vying for attention. I can't spoil, but SO MUCH FRUSTRATION. Think that was my main feeling with this. Really enjoyed reading it but /frustrated/.

    Lovely eloquent review, though :)

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  17. I totally agree with your opinion of the ending. It was shocking enough and I'd accept an ending like that if it was reasonable. The only good reason I thought of was that this was how she was forgiving Caleb. It was sort of repeated throughout the book whether or not she had forgiven him, and I guess this was how she did it. But still, it was just a;eflkgjsdfg.

    Awesome review though :)

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