Release Date: October 22, 2013
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books; 526 pages
One choice will define you.
What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?
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.
Warning this review is going to be honest, extremely emotional, and a wee bit long. There will also be spoilers from Divergent and Insurgent. Any spoilers for Allegiant will be put in spoiler section.
The Divergent series means a lot to me. It's something that holds a special place deep within me. In fact, I fear I may start crying while writing this review because just thinking about it gets me really emotional. I've also had the pleasure of meeting the author Veronica Roth on a few occastions. I first read Divergent about a month after it's release back in June 2011. It's the first series that I pretty much have been following since it's initial publication. I think that's one of the reasons why I feel so protective of it. I've never really been a part of the beginning of a fandom. It's been amazing watching the Divergent community grow and grow.
Allegiant picks up right where Insurgent left off. I feel that this series is one book divided into three parts because of this. The beginning of each book picks right up where the last book ended. This is something that I actually really like, even though it can make it a bit confusing if it's been awhile since you've read them. Which is what happened to me when I read Insurgent. So before Allegiant came out, I did a re read of both Divergent and Insurgent. And I was pleased to find out that there were certain hints dropped as early as the first book that there could be something outside of the fence. In chapter eleven when Tris sees a Dauntless guard closing the gate, she notices that the lock is on the outside. And then she narrates, "Why would they lock the gate from the outside and not the inside? It almost seems like they don't want to keep something out; they want to keep us in." I love it when authors foreshadow, especially when it goes right over your head the first time you read it!
After having a slight panic at midnight on the book's release date, when the book didn't download onto my Kindle at exactly midnight, I started reading. I read the first few chapters, and then went to bed. I woke up the next morning and checked the reviews online. They were mostly negative. But I tried to not let it affect me. From what I had gathered from the glimpses of the reviews I read was that they didn't like the ending. People who don't like an ending can let that affect their overall feelings for a book series. And I get it. It's amazing to feel so close to characters. To worry about their fate. Great but fearful. Because of this while reading Allegiant I kept trying to predict what would happen and imagined the worse case scenarios. Even though I just wanted to read, I just couldn't. I love this world. I feel connected it to it. But then I realized that by letting others opinions cloud my judgement, it was affecting my enjoyment of the book. And I want to make it clear, I enjoyed it. I loved this book.
As readers we got to see a glance at what goes through Tobias's head with the short novella "Free Four." But Allegiant is told from a dual point of view. From Tris and Tobias's point of view. Fortunately for me, dual point of views don't bother me because I've read many stories and books from different character perspectives. Also by the end of the first book Divergent, the story really started to warp from being just Tris's story, to Tris and Tobias's story. Yes, it probably will be weird for some to read the dual point of views, and there were a few times in which I forgot whose point of view I was reading from. But overall it really does work.
Some of my favorite scenes from Allegiant were the scenes between Tris and Tobias. They are just so well written. I smile just thinking about them. They are just a beautiful couple. But at the same time I liked the scenes between Tris and her brother Caleb. I didn't see Caleb's betrayal coming in Insurgent. Veronica Roth has said that Caleb is neither good nor bad. And I definitely got this vibe from him. To see Tris struggle with whether or not she could forgive him showed us a different side of her. I am so used to the Tris that told Al, that he disgusted her and called him a coward. I always gathered that once Tris had an opinion of you, it was permanent. It was nice to see her see it through a shade of gray.
Family issues was a pretty big focus through out the novel, because Tobias struggled with his mother Evelyn. I hated Evelyn in Insurgent. And I figured out that the only reason why I didn't like her was because she didn't like Tris. But Evelyn is really strong. And a lot of her decisions branch from her being in an abusive relationship and pretty much starving the past few years. I am glad that we got to see her from Tobias's point of view because his feelings for her are definitely different than Tris's.
Friendship is another factor. Before I started Allegiant, I was surprised at how few characters from the beginning of the series were still alive after Insurgent. We'd started off with so many, and slowly characters were being picked off. I am glad that Tris has Christina. I was proud of Christina in Insurgent, when she forgave Tris for killing Will. Their friendship is a perfect example of a great adolescent friendship. Great character development has always been a strong point in this series.
The main plot of Allegiant involves the characters going outside of the fence. And my heart was pounding as they journeyed to parts unknown. I was just as curious as they were to what awaited them. But I also chuckled at their naivety to certain things such as an airplane and "Coca-Cola". New characters were introduced and a few new things which included scientific terms like genetics. Now normally science can confuse me, it wasn't one of my strongest subjects in school, but it's explained in a way that it's easy to understand. Because of this I was able to breeze right through the plot with no problems.
I've invested so much with these characters and because I've had so much time in between each book, they've been in my head for so long. That I've imagined scenarios with them in my head. This is a first for me. And it makes it difficult to remember that these are not my characters. And that the situations that I created are not a reality. And I believe that this is one of the factors of why there are such negative reviews for Allegiant. When you fall in love with a series, you want a happily ever after. We grow up with Disney movies and fairy tales, that tell us that even if things are really bad in the end everything will work out just fine. We forget that we are not the author of the books that we love. And even though authors love and appreciate reader feedback, in the end they decide our beloved characters fates. Divergent isn't a fairytale.
The next few paragraphs will be me discussing the ending of Allegiant. Lots of spoilers ahead. *highlight to view spoiler*
Tris's death was really touching for me. I cried, but I was smiling at the same time. I've never read a book with an ending like that. I think in the end Tris was brave. She also wasn't sane. And she didn't want to die in vain. When she decided to take Caleb's place to stop the memory serum from being released, I was so proud of her. To see her make her final journey, to commit her final act, was just so emotional. And I don't think all readers got that. Most are just so concerned on the fact that she was killed. You have to really examine the situation before you make a final judgement. Most of the reviews I have read are being written in the heat of the moment, and are just initial thoughts and feelings. That's why I purposely waited a few days before I finished writing my review. If Caleb had gone, she wouldn't have been able to forgive herself. And she probably wouldn't have been the same. I don't think Tobias would have been enough. One person can't save you completely. They can help, but I am tired of books where being in love is the end all of everything. Tobias's reaction to her death was so moving. And to see Tobias cry, was so important. I actually felt like he was Tobias in that moment, not Four.
Evelyn choosing Tobias over revenge was also touching. They both chose to be mother and son. During the epilogue, reading their changed relationship just made me smile. And Tobias as a politician? He's definitely got my vote! Tobias has grown so much. The final scene with him going down the zip line of the Hancock building to spread Tris's ashes really chokes me up. It's so beautiful. Him facing his fears to love and honor her memory by doing something that she loved is brave. It's captured so perfectly on paper, that I can visualize it really well.
Is this the ending that I would have wanted for Tris and Tobias? Of course not. If I had my way, the epilogue would be Tris and Tobias living in a cottage, with 3 kids and another on the way. And that is probably a similar ending that most Divergent fans wanted.
Young adult author John Green always says that, "books belong to their readers." And yes this is true, but it is still the author's story. And the author's job is to tell a story from beginning, middle, and end. I believe Veronica Roth has done this. She wrote a touching and moving dystopian trilogy, that I hope I am still sharing with others for years to come.
If I could summarize a message that I got from the Divergent trilogy it would be, "Face your fears and be brave." Even though I am close to 30, I've learned so much about myself from reading this series. At times I find myself chanting in my head, "Be dauntless!" when I am in a uncomfortable situation. And I think that's the reason why I've wanted people to read this series. It teaches you to fight, to not give up. I truly wish this series was around when I was in my teens. Tris would have been an awesome role model. If I could give Tris a message it would be this, "You did well Tris! You did really well!"