To Read or Not to Read?

Allegiant by Veronica Roth (spoilers)

This review is a little late since I read the Divergent trilogy over a year ago but watching Insurgent at the movie theater over the weekend made me realize I wanted to get my thoughts about the books, mostly the final one, out there.

The main reason I began reading the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth was because I had just read and enjoyed the Hunger Games and heard Divergent was similar. It was and I did enjoy the first book and second books in the series even though they were lacking the plausibility that other dystopian novels have. An enforced televised fight to the death makes so much more sense to me than a community testing and separating everyone based on a set of ideals. I don’t know why.

But then I read Allegiant and Veronica Roth ruined her own world. I’m going to assume anyone reading this will have read the books themselves and so will know what has happened up to this point in the series and won’t care if I mention specific plot points. If you haven’t read Allegiant and don’t want to spoiled, stop reading now! So here’s how Ms. Roth ruined her novel for me.

  • Narrators: In Allegiant the chapters alternate between Tris’s perspective and Fours. That’s all well and good except for the fact that Four is not given a distinct. There were several times where I found myself several pages into a section and I had to flip back to the chapter heading to see who was narrating. That should not happen. The reader should be able to “hear” the difference.
  • Plot points: In the first few books the whole mystery is on why the town is separated into Factions. In Allegiant the Factions are not important. Instead the focus is on the fact that the city was a genetic experiment monitored by scientists. Only, Roth and the scientists clearly do not have the remotest understanding of genetics if they expected changes. Flawed genes + flawed genes do not equal perfect genes. It just does not work that way.
  • Characters: In the previous two books Tris was smart and calculating. In Allegiant she doesn’t think through anything. She’s an idiot. Our brave, confident, doesn’t trust anyone Four trusts strangers he just met over his friends. They are both shadows of themselves.
  • The ending: I’m all for fictional deaths if it makes sense in the context of the story. But Tris’s death in Allegiant does not. First of all, the reason behind it is stupid. They could have easily come up with a plan that would grant them more time to put a bigger plan into play. Instead they immediately decide upon what Tris knows will be a suicide mission. Secondly, Tris may feel like she’s noble for sacrificing her life for her brother but in doing so she literally takes away his only chance at redemption. And thirdly, the fact that David kills her in the first place is wrong for his character. David was a scientist who had spent most of his life focusing on the “genetically pure” and he was in love with Tris’s mother. There is no way he would have shot to kill Tris, the only one from the experiment that has been proven to be genetically pure. Especially not with the emotional attachment that stemmed from the fact that Tris looked like her mother. He would have shot to wound and kept her alive for research purposes at the very least.

This book was just not true to the characters or the plot lines that Roth set in place during the first two novels and it felt cheap.

Yes there are quite a few times where the last book in a series loses the luster of the rest but I was so disappointed that Allegiant failed so hard.

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