I put off reading this book for a long time. Partly because I didn’t want to pay the price of a hardcover, more so because after loving the fast paced, thrilling novel Divergent I was disappointed when the second novel Insurgent turned out to be so ‘blah’ and lackluster, but mostly because Allegiant got spoiled for me in a BIG WAY which made me feel all kinds of angry and sad. Especially as the spoiler was something I would have never expected or seen coming! Despite this, I finally gathered the courage to pick up the controversial final book in Roth’s dystopian Divergent trilogy and ultimately, I think it provides a satisfying, although flawed, ending.
(Also, this is a spoiler free review as long as you’ve read the previous books!)
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.
Once again, Roth’s writing is both simple but effective as she weaves her tale of internal and external battles in a complicated dystopian society. Although Roth’s writing can be clunky in places, it can also be powerful and is capable of hitting you where it hurts. There’s something about her style that always manages to reel me in, and before I know it I’ve been reading for hours. In Allegiant, things are changed up a little because we get chapters from both Tris and Four’s perspectives – the reason of which becomes clear as the novel progresses. This change was something I was actually initially excited about, and it made sense as Roth originally intended Divergent to be written from Four’s point of view. Unfortunately, while I loved the deeper insight it gave me into Four’s character and there were some really beautiful passages, his inclusion didn’t work well. Mainly because Four and Tris’s voices sounded identical. The amount of times I would be reading a chapter as Tris, only to realise later when a dialogue tag came up that it was Fours was far too often. Their individual voices weren’t distinct enough to pull off the dual narration which was a shame, because there was a lot of potential!
I guess one of the reasons this book has received so much criticism, is that it could be argued the whole story is a bit of a Deus ex machina to resolve the faction conflicts. Personally, I didn’t see it that way or find it a problem but I know it has annoyed others. I had been waiting for the characters to take a trip outside the fence since book 1 and loved how it panned out. The best part about Allegiant – and the main reason it’s getting four stars from me, was the grand reveal as to why the faction systems were created. I was desperate to know why on earth people would think it was good idea or even theoretically possible to divide people by only one personality type and have it define them, and I was skeptical that Roth would be able to come up with a satisfying answer. But wow, I was completely blown away and the reasoning turned out to be ten times better and intelligent than I was expecting. Veronica Roth, I bow down to your brain, THAT WAS GENIUS!!! The reveal left me buzzing with shock and awe. The fact that she managed to think up the concept and develop it into something so amazing….and the amount of planning and time it must have taken. Whoa. Just whoa. Again, I know a lot of people have criticised this part of the plot, but having recently done a whole semester and final exam on the exact topic it covered, theoretically it is entirely plausible and wildly clever. In reality? Of course it wouldn’t work. But novels are about ideas, and Veronica Roth pitched one hell of an idea.
Unfortunately, other aspects of Allegiant weren’t so great. Although the novel started off strong it lost momentum toward the end, the storylines became rougher and the logic of them fell apart. The solution for ending the conflict was poorly planned, and the wrapping up of Tobias’s parental issues was laughable. While the ending hit me hard, making me feel hollow in that emotionally wrought way, it had less of an impact because I knew it was coming – which obviously, wasn’t the author’s fault, but it still affected my reading enjoyment.
Allegiant restored by faith in Tris as a character. After being impressed by her complexity in Divergent, I was disappointed with how whiny and frustrating she was in Insurgent, so I was glad that Roth was able to turn her character development around. I love that Tris has gone through such an identity struggle throughout this series when trying to decide who she should be, what she should stand for, when she should jump into danger and when to hold back, and I liked how this was played on in Allegiant and how the finale really cemented what she had learnt from her past experiences. I also enjoyed Four’s character arc about worrying whether he would turn into his father, and how the change in his fear landscape reflected how much he had developed as a character. The relationship between the two also felt realistic, with both having doubts and confusion over whether they could trust each other after everything they had been through. It’s a shame that the secondary characters left a lot to be desired and weren’t given much to do in this installment, but then, I’ve always felt that was one of Roth’s weaknesses.
Overall, Allegiant was a book with a lot of flaws, but I was able to overlook most of them due to entertainment and being impressed with the grand reveal I had waited two books for. This series has been a bit of a rollercoaster, but ultimately, I enjoyed it, although it won’t become a favourite because of issues I had with some aspects of it. Having said that, I’m still glad I read it because Roth throws out some really interesting ideas and has definitely got guts! I’m looking forward to seeing where her career takes her next!
I would recommend this series to dystopian fans who enjoy sinking their teeth into thought provoking topics about human nature.and free will.
How did you feel about Allegiant? Were you happy with how things resolved? And if you haven’t read it yet, what would be your ideal outcome for the trilogy finale? Feel free to chat spoilers in the comments because I would to talk about some of the more controversial aspects of the book! Just make sure to note if it has spoilers in case others read it by accident. 🙂
Writing Style: 4/5
Character Development: 3/5
Would I recommend this book? Yes.
Overall Impression: 4/5