Allegiant (Divergent, #3) by Veronica Roth
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on May 1, 2012
Genres: young adult science fiction, post-apocalyptic, dystopian, romance
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads | IndieBound
I want so much to give this book more than two stars. I really, really do.
But I can’t.
It’s not because of the ending, either. I didn’t want this book to end the way it did, sure, and it could have been better delivered. (In other words: How did the big twist impact other characters besides Tris and Four. [Because did it impact anyone else, really? We don’t see that impact.]) But I felt the twist really completed Tris’s character arc nicely, and it was written beautifully.
So it’s not because of the ending, or Tris (though she was still mechanical in this book, the ending made her come alive for me); or Four’s angst (which kind of irritated me, but I could understand where it was coming from); or their romance (my favorite part of this series); or the dual-perspective narrative (the last few chapters almost made me CRY); or the writing (my favorite part of this book).
This book gets two stars for the big reveal. For one we’ve spent a collective 1,000 pages over the last two books waiting for, the reveal is pretty lackluster.
((SPOILERS FOR INSURGENT & ALLEGIANT HERE))
At the end of Insurgent, we find out that Chicago was an experiment created to cultivate certain issues in the human race after everyone basically became violent, murderous jerks. In Insurgent, this twist was believable (though I predicted it, which is a novelty for me), but in Allegiant, it becomes ridiculous. Outside the Chicago fence, “Divergence” is being “genetically pure,” and you have two groups: the “Pures” and the “Damaged”–the latter of which is subjugated by the former group.
I don’t know much about genetics; all my knowledge comes from freshman-year biology in high school. But I do know that nobody’s genes are perfect, and that you can’t breed damaged genes out of a population if part of that population carries damaged genes. That actually makes things worse.
It just made no sense to me. And, seeing as we’ve been waiting for a real definition of Divergence since book one, it was a real let down. Veronica Roth said she decided she didn’t want Divergence to be anything special, which is fine, but this just makes zero sense. And making Divergence another term for “genetic purity” actually makes Divergence even more special than it already is, so Roth totally defeated the point.
Another thing I don’t understand: Tris’s mother was a spy from the outside? Why? Why does that make any sense, and how in the world does it fit in with her character? This is just another twist that doesn’t make any sense with what little we know about Tris’s mother and Tris’s family. It felt convoluted and completely random.
Speaking of the world outside the fence, the world outside of the compound and Chicago is sorely underdeveloped. Crime is rampant, people are starving, there’s conflict and death and poverty everywhere, and the whole area is a barren wasteland. Anything else? This is every post-apocalyptic desert we’ve seen before. We need something new. Something more. Something better.
One final complaint of mine: Why is Tris always right? It’s really annoying. Some of the characters actually even admit that Tris is always right about everything, but, to be a convincing and real character, Tris shouldn’t be right about everything. That’s not realistic at all.
((END OF SPOILERS))
Basically, this entire book was a letdown to a two-book-long, adrenaline-packed buildup. And if the letdown would have made sense, I might have been able to enjoy this book more and rate it higher.
But Allegiant is confusing and contrived, a shameful sputter of a conclusion to a series that started with such a promising bang. I’ll check out Roth’s future books because I enjoy her style and the way she writes romantic relationships, but, as far as conclusions go, I can’t recommend this one.