Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Allegiant
Veronica Roth

Katherine Tegen Books
Released October 22, 2013
526 pages
YA / Dystopia / SciFi

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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.

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.

I have been putting off reviewing this book for about a month now. I debated not reviewing it at all, but thought maybe it would be cathartic to share my thoughts on one of the most anticipated books in 2013. I knew it had caused a bit of a kerfuffle in the book blogosphere, but I managed to avoid spoilers and had convenience myself that it couldn’t be as bad as Twitter made it seem like it was. And then slowly, one by one, people I know in real life read Allegiant and one by one they came back to me with looks of disappointment.

This did not bode well.

My relationship with the Divergent series has been a mixed bag. I was more or less indifferent to Divergent. It was over hyped and I guess I expected too much. I also read it directly after finishing Dearly, Departed, which instantly became one of my favorite YA books of ever. I wasn’t impressed with Tris, but Four saved the book and I carried on to Insurgent when it was released. Now that book rocked my face off and I threw it across the room at the conclusion because OMG WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?!

I’ll tell you what happens next – a lot of exposition and not much else. You get a look inside the mysterious Four’s head, a place you never want to go into if you want him to remain A) mysterious, B) interesting , C) smart and clever, and/or D) something other than a mopey emo boy who is the complete opposite of the person that he was in the other two books that was so appealing. Tris returns to being insufferable and the Smartest Girl in the Room who is Always Right and Everybody Else is Wrong™.

I have to give Veronica Roth some credit though – she gives us answers. She gives us giant boatloads of answers full of philosophical musings and science-ish explanations. She answers things that probably would have gone better unanswered and then she answers things that nobody even asked about. There are a lot of answers. It’s building a world outside Chicago in the course of 500 pages and it gets pretty boring.

But the worst part of the whole thing?

GIANT MASSIVE ENDING SPOILERS AHEAD

SERIOUSLY – THE NEXT SENTENCE SPOILS THE ENDING. STOP IF YOU’RE A SPOILERPHOBE.

My reaction to Tris’ death was… “Huh, she died.” There was no emotional response from me and even when Four breaks down once he finds out, still I had nothing. I was so far removed from these characters after the events of this book that I just didn’t care.

And then a few pages later, when the friend whose name I can’t remember got unplugged from life support, I got all choked up and teary. I can’t even REMEMBER THIS GUY’S NAME and it had more of an emotional impact than the death of the main character. By the time Tris dies, I was so indifferent to her well-being that I thought, “Okay, now Four can die and we’ll wrap this up with the side characters carrying on into the future” and I DIDN’T EVEN CARE.

There was so much potential and it was all wiped away by making the underlying plot overly complicated and cramming in so much at the very end that it bogged down the story itself and overrode the characters. Because it’s told from two perspectives, it felt like Roth did everything her power to put Tris and Four on polar opposites of the world outlook spectrum to make them seem different and that washed out all the development from the previous books. There were moments of potential action that faded away into more inaction and exposition so that the story could never really catch fire and drag me away.

It took me over a week to read the last 100 pages because I simply had lost interest in the world, the characters and the exploits. The explanation behind the Chicago experiment could have been a great foundation for a different story or if it had been revealed somewhere in book two, but putting that on top of everything else and the whole thing collapsed under the weight of itself. I do not recommend this book to anyone and I’m highly confused how it keeps getting voted as best book of 2013.