Sunday, November 17, 2013

Allegiant, Veronica Roth

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)I pace our cell in Erudite headquarters, her words echoing in my mind: My name will be Edith Prior, and there is much I am happy to forget.

"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."

I've been eagerly awaiting the release of Allegiant for many months now, so it was something of a letdown when I read a whole bunch of negative reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. I became very apprehensive that the book would be awful. Unfortunately, the ending got spoiled for me, which sucked, but I still really enjoyed the book despite my initial reservations. Because Allegiant is still absorbing, fierce, and very, very intense. The intensity level was raised in Insurgent; it's even higher in this final book, where the world as the characters know it has been completely shattered by violence and revelations and must be rebuilt.  The only problem is, everyone has a different idea about how to do that. Evelyn, Tobias's mother and the leader of the factionless, has an uneasy hold over the city, and she wants to eliminate the factions and not go into the outside world, unlike Tris and many others - those others who call themselves the allegiant.

There were many shocking developments in Allegiant, many characters who have been with us from the very first book and die. There's also, of course, the exploration of a whole new world, completely unknown, that the city once known as Chicago has been isolated from for so long. I was eager to see how Roth would portray the outside society; there were many ways she could have gone about doing it. I kind of like the angle that she took; it was unique, and once the group reaches the outside, there was a rather huge, overwhelming flood of information. But I liked that because it explained a whole lot about the society inside the wall.

Although Divergent is still by far the best book in the series, I still really enjoyed many aspects of Allegiant, from the complex political interplay to the development of Tris and Four's relationship. I've always been aware that both Tris and Tobias are not the most likable of characters, and that's highlighted even more here. Tobias is no longer afraid of his father Marcus; he's afraid of being like him. And really, there are moments when Tobias seems scarily like Marcus, for example when he helps Caleb escape and the way that he treats him. Still, Tris and Tobias are sympathetic enough, and quite multifaceted. That said, I was not fond of the dual narration that Veronica Roth chose to use in the book. It was an unnecessary shift from the narrative style of the first two books, and I feel like it was also an easy way out, in terms of being able to view scenes without Tris. I can see why Roth chose to do it, considering the ending, but the main reason for my dislike though was that the two perspectives were so, so similar; I sometimes couldn't tell the differences because both Tris and Tobias's voices were in the same general vein. Several times, I had to look back at the beginning of the chapter to remind myself who was narrating. The reason Roth chose to do this becomes transparently obvious once you think about it.

Allegiant's end was quite heartbreaking, and it's not what I was expecting. I think Ms. Roth will be getting quite a lot of flak from other angry fans. It is, however, her story, and so she got to choose the way she ended it. It was kind of beautiful too, and so, so sad. And the epilogue, which many people hated, was about moving on and getting past intense grief, while at the same time never forgetting.

Although there were some aspects of Allegiant that I certainly didn't like, it was overall an amazing conclusion to the trilogy, with so much new information and so many shocking revelations. Basically, the world that the first two books take place in is all designed by those outside. I don't want to give too much away, but it's quite ingenious, and Allegiant certainly raises the question of whether our genes determine who we are. This is rather typical, but there is also the added construct of morals, of whether the things that Tris and Tobias and the others have been taught to believe are good are actually desirable. All this combines to create an intriguing, unpredictable, and highly suspenseful read.

576 pages.

Rating: *****

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