Sunday, November 24, 2013

Allegiant, by Veronica Roth- Review (spoiler free)

From Goodreads:
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.

Well, where do I start? Obviously, now that's it's been a few weeks, the furor has died down, but WHOA! Holy Batman people got emotive about this series ending!  The hoopla was so great I removed myself from the never ending holds list for my library copy and bought myself my very own copy in the hopes that I could get to it fast enough that nothing got spoiled for me. Granted I was pretty sure I could guess what the controversial end might be by the vast amounts of flailing and arguing online, but just in case I was wrong I wanted to get on it.  But as life does, three library holds came up the minute I bought it, and I had to finish two reviews for books I'd requested as well, so it took me a bit.  However, I would like to congratulate the Internet, and I suppose, those I follow on it, because I managed to read the whole book SPOILER FREE! I know, right? Also, the big secret, turns out to be one hell of a surprise, I am not sure how anyone thought that was ever, ever going to slip by without all the Internet shouting and upheaval of a feminist YA twitter gripe. So yay Internets! You win this time, and since you win so infrequently, kudos to you.

Now let me preface this review by saying that I am going to attempt a spoiler free review, but I am TERRIBLE at secret keeping.  I have a rather deplorable habit of saying too much so that whatever I think I'm being coy about becomes easily guessable. I will try very hard to NOT do this, but I always think I am not doing this, so be warned!

I am in the seemimgly teeny weeny minority of people who really enjoyed this last part of the series. Either that or there are a lot of very quiet people who loved it, always possible on the interwebs. Roth was 100% true to her characters, her story arc and her world building in how she played out all three books. No pansy, love story-centric tale here, Roth had more serious things to say.  As I mentioned in my review of Insurgent, I love that Tobias and Tris have a relationship full of push and pull. I appreciate that she calls him on his bullshit but that she is likewise held up for her actions when they're unfair.  These are two teens struggling not only with war, death, rebellions and first love, these are two teens that are struggling with life shattering revelations, deaths of loved ones, abusive pasts and the fall out from killing people, be it for the greater good or not.  Roth treats non of this glibly and it was refreshing to see. Nobody is the easy hero or heroine, nobody makes easy choices or the perfect choices. But in the end all her characters remain true to their past, their personality and the journey she has taken us on with them so far.

Where that leaves Tris and Tobias reminds me a lot of the end of Mockingjay, which is partially why I'm surprised by some of the fuss. Mockingjay came and went with some token unhappiness from fans who wanted the easy happy ending but was mostly accepted as a good ending that was true to the characters and the story arc.  Although not the happy ending fans of the love story element were hoping for (obviously) I thought Roth left the two of them in a place that not only was the perfect end note for each of them individually but also a really sweet place for them as a couple.  They both make so many worthy self discoveries in this last book, and although neither of them have the ending they wanted or expected I feel like they both become these much more refined versions of themselves.  In many ways, the more perfected version of themselves.

I really appreciated the way Roth wove their Abnegation pasts into the story as an attribute towards the end, as it's such a negative to both of them, in a lot of ways, in the beginning. But it was the way their Dauntless training merged with their Abnegation upbringings that made them heroic in many ways, it was nice to see them both find the balance to prove both how the factions worked and how they also failed. It added a depth to her world I thought did the story a lot of justice.  By Allegiant the complexity of the world is considerably more layered and it would have been easy for Roth to loose sight of how the factions were still a factor in how everyone behaved, but the way she continued to come back to it was a strong reminder for the reader and it grounded the newer aspects of the story so that it didn't feel like she was completely stepping out of the world she'd spent two books building (even though she was, and it was a risky move).

I would need to re-read all three books in tight sequence to fully appreciate or critique how it came together as a threaded whole, but from a story arc perspective I was very happy with it. From a Tris and Tobias perspective I was also happy with it, but like I said in my Insurgent review, Roth's comment when I told her I really liked what she did with them was that she was glad because it (and the twist ending of book 2) were controversial. So obviously many more people prefer the idealized love story than a love story that reflects any kind of realism, which is too bad.

Come back Monday for an all spoiler, all the time discussion post! I'm dying to know what you thought about all the spicy bits and unnameable odds and ends.

Allegiant, by Veronica Roth
Published by Katherine Tegen Books, October 22, 2013
Buy Allegiant on Amazon


  1. I'm still trying to formulate my thoughts for this book but overall I'd say I'm lukewarm about it. I like it better than Insurgent, but not as much as Divergent. I didn't care for the dual POVs at all.I thought that was a bit of giveaway from the beginning what was going to happen at the end and I found that Tobias didn't have a distinct voice. He just sounded like Tris. But I was ok with the end. I don't think books need a happy ending and I think Roth kept Tris true to character which is way more important

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