Allegiant by Veronica Roth
|Publisher(s):||Katherine Tegen Books (US) HarperCollins Children's Books (UK)|
|Formatt:||Hardcover / Paperback / Audiobook / eBook|
|Genre(s):||YA Science Fiction / Dystopia|
|Release Date:||October 22, 2013|
The conclusion to a very popular YA dystopian trilogy, Allegiant takes a different road to wrap up the series. Unlike the first two books written in Tris’s point of view, the third book is written in alternating POVs between Tris (Beatrice) and Tobias (Four), the other main character. The book is also the longest one of the trilogy at 526 pages. It reads fairly quickly, as the writing is simple and straight-forward. However, therein also lies one of the disappointments of this book. It was difficult to tell whose head I was in until some other character mentions the POV I’m not currently reading about. There is not enough contrast between the two POVs in their narration and emotions to make this way of storytelling successful. Most of the chapters were very short, and the POV did not always shift with the next chapter. Having to constantly flip back a few pages to check whose thoughts I’m reading is rather tedious and disruptive.
What kept me hanging on, you ask?
I needed to know why this genetically distinct group of people (the Divergent) was being targeted for extinction by their own leaders. I wanted to see what became of the four factions–Dauntless, Abnegation, Candor, Erudite–from which all the Divergent originate. I had to see how the survivors of the catastrophe in the second book, Insurgent, picked up the pieces of the devastation. I wanted to know the secrets and history behind this world where those not in a faction were less then second-class citizens. I needed to know what had happened to make their ancestors deliberately create such a world.
Then there is the relationship between Tris and Tobias. Both characters are strong and independent with grave family secrets waiting to be revealed. Their blossoming chemistry in the first two books had great promise. Unfortunately, the only threads tying them together in this book were the occasional make-out sessions and the longing expressed by both POVs’ internal musings.
Because the narrative voices were clear and unembellished, the pacing of the book was quite swift and kept the pages turning. Events were succinctly described, and then we are moving on to the next plot point, and possibly switching POV (Wait, are we sure? Better check. *flip, flip, flip*). The downside of this would be the lack of depth in character development. There are many secondary characters, and they hold immense potential for interesting backstories. Not enough detail was given, though, which makes it difficult to form attachments to them. But alas, we have uprisings to start, places to bomb, and people to re-program. Moving on.
There are several themes we can extract from this series: Overcoming a less-than-ideal upbringing to become a better person than the examples you had. Learning when to question “tradition” and think for yourself (although this trait is inherent in most teenagers). And the toughest one to swallow – Life doesn’t always have a happy ending.
Which brings us to the widely-debated merits of this book by many of its readers. The ending is a shocker, let me tell you right now. There is no happily-ever-after, not even a contentedly-ever-after. It is a sad, painful, and uphill-battle-ever-after. But this is a dystopia after all, is it not? The future has become a harsh place. Why should we expect a fairy tale ending? Because it is YA, for crying out loud! It should be all fixed by the end, and everyone walks into the sunset holding hands!
But there IS hope. Hope that comes from self-sacrifice (not only of life, but of one’s pride) and learning to live with, and in spite of, pain. It is the facing of day after day that takes courage. The author took a big risk in taking the series down this road, but YA is about being at the crossroads of life and making choices that will shape your future.
I, for one, appreciated the ending. It showed a sense of maturity and a willingness to work hard for change. I didn’t particularly care for the execution of the story, as the journey was quite tiresome at times, but I can appreciate the destination. Life is not full of happy endings, but where there is hope, happy endings can come in many forms.