Friday, April 4, 2014

Book Review: Allegiant (Divergent #3)

Allegiant, by Veronica Roth (Divergent series, #3).

I used to think that when people fell in love, they just landed where they landed, and they had no choice in the matter afterward. And maybe that's true of beginnings, but it's not true of this, now. 

I fell in love with him. But I don't just stay with him by default as if there's no one else available to me. I stay with him because I choose to, every day that I wake up, every day that we fight or lie to each other or disappoint each other. I choose him over and over again, and he chooses me. 

I was going to make Allegiant a "Quick Pick" review, but I just can't ... there's too much I want to say about it. I read Divergent back in 2011 (review here) and reviewed Insurgent, book #2 in the series, last week, after I had seen Divergent the movie as a refresher, and I couldn't wait to get my hands on Allegiant. I had unfortunately stumbled across some spoilers online before reading it, so I knew part of the ending, but I wanted to know how things played out the way they did.

Official synopsis:
Allegiant book review, Veronica RothThe 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.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.
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I really REALLY want to talk about the ending here but won't. All I'll say is this: it was very ballsy of Ms. Roth to do what she did with one of the characters. I also wonder if the book will be Hollywood-ized when it's turned into a movie (aka, the ending changed). If I was the author, I'd probably be pretty angry if that happened, but the ending of Allegiant would also be a rare one for a Hollywood blockbuster.

Moving on ...

This was the first book in the series told from two perspectives: alternating Tris and Tobias (Four) chapters. This was interesting and also necessary at some points in the novel; it was also a good way to get inside Tobias's head, which had been closed to us as readers in books 1 and 2.

You will hear a lot of readers complaining about this change in format but I thought it was pretty good. It's definitely different from Divergent and Insurgent, yes, but I didn't think it really harmed or helped the book in any particular way. A coworker lamented to me that Tobias's chapters were all things like "Let me talk about my FEELINGS," but I didn't find that to be true either - his chapters stayed true to how I had been thinking of him as a character, for the most part.

In this installment, Tris, Tobias, and a few of their friends, mostly from the now-disbanded Dauntless, leave the city, where they learn its proper name (Chicago) and that they were part of an "experiment" by the Bureau of Genetic Welfare: an experiment to see if society could function and thrive when split up into groups (the former faction system that was in place). Tris's view of the world expands during her time at the Bureau compound - which used to be O'Hare airport, just outside of Chicago - and she learns more about her mother, as well, who spent a few years there before being assigned on a mission to Chicago.

I'm not entirely happy with the ending of the book but I've read a few interviews with Ms. Roth, and I can see why she chose to end it the way she did. Readers complained that she violated "the reader-author contract," as I saw one person comment, but it's her book - even though we are invested in the characters, she can write them as she sees fit. Like I mentioned before, though, I am very curious to see if the original ending is kept in the movie version or not - but I'll have to wait until 2016 to find out. Insurgent, the second book and movie (which should also be very good) will be out in 2015, so I'll at least have that to look forward to know that I am done with the book series.

4 stars out of 5.

5 comments:

  1. Well it seems to have you passionate enough, which makes me intrigued. I haven't seen the film or read the other two yet, I need to get on that.

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  2. I have heard that people don't like the last book and hate the ending. I think I will read them especially since my son will likely want to read them at some point. I want to be sure I know what he's reading.

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  3. I have heard a lot of people complaining about this 3rd book. I read Divergent a couple of weeks ago to prepare for interviewing Veronica Roth at an event and I have to say I didn't turn into a fan. I need some convincing to read the next two books!

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    1. Wow, that's awesome you got to interview her though!

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  4. I bet my husband would really like this one!

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