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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

"Allegiant: Divergent 3" by Veronica Roth (Reviewed by Cindy Hannikman)

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OVERVIEW:   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

FORMAT: Allegiant is the third book in the Divergent series. It is a dystopian YA novel with hints of romance, action, adventure, and science. The novel stands at 526 pages and was published October 22, 2013 by Katherine Tegan Books.

ANALYSIS: I feel in love with Divergent when I read it almost a year and a half ago. I found the characters engaging, the world building 'unique' without being unbelievable, and the situations they were thrown into engaging and fun. Then Insurgent came out.

Insurgent was a bit of a struggle for me. I found the awe and fascination I had with Divergent just was not there. Something, maybe it was the focus upon the teenage angst and love, maybe it was the rather random almost unrealistic situations the characters faced, took my love for the series down a few notches, but not enough for me to stop the series completely.

Now, I am at the crossroads as Allegiant finishes the series. I am going to do my best to give the least amount of spoilers, as possible. However, I will give warning that if you want to be shocked, surprised, and such it is best to skip this review.

Allegiant was a disappointment. This series, which could have been so promising, just fizzled out and died. A small part of me is sad, not because the series ended, but because of how it all went down. I feel no sense of closure, I feel no satisfaction. In fact, I feel misled, let down, and just disappointed.

Allegiant picks up right where Insurgent left off and there was so much that could happen. So many different ways this book could have gone, but it didn't. Why? No one will ever really know, but I have my suspicions.

I believe that Veronica Roth had a wonderful idea. I believe she is a talented writer. Unfortunately, this whole series had no direction and if there was a direction – it got lost somewhere around book 2. This leaves readers with a feeling of that things are being thrown at that right and left, with no true direction. And then the book ends.

I could list multiple sections and events I had a problem with, but I realize that every reader will feel differently. I also, do not want to take away from anyone who is going to read this series on their own and do not want to spoil it for people. However, I will highlight a few 'non' spoiler parts that I had issues with.

The biggest part of the novel I had a problem with was the whole DNA/experiment/Damaged angle. Basically, what it boiled down to was that some people were 'pure' and some had damaged genes which they believed caused violence and other stuff, but didn't really. While I understood it, I felt it was extremely technical and extremely confusing. Maybe the confusing factor came about because it wasn't really thought out, maybe not.

Readers are bogged down with lengthy explanations of DNA testing, damage, etc. It all just seemed so random and silly. It really took away from the whole story. However, the explanations read more like fluff, as Roth didn't want to get too technical that she lost her audience. This leaves readers in an almost limbo between boring science and 'huh' science.

In addition to the rather pointless pure genes and damaged gene angle, there was a lot of senseless death - deaths that made no sense and really had no purpose other than to add a depressing angle to the whole story.

I am sure, given the popularity of the series, some people will love the ending. And I have to repeat – it was not how the book ended that made me so upset, it was the writing (character developments, plot twists, lack of direction, etc.) that made me upset.

Overall, Veronica Roth is an extremely talented writer and I look forward to future books. However, I think this series which had so much potential – fell short.


Anonymous said...

I agree with your review, but I also don't like the ending at all. Thought it was forced and a certain death at the end wasn't well executed IMO.

Cindy said...

I completely agree. I commend the author for going a 'different' direction with the ending (and it is so hard to not give specifics), but I felt the poor writing, distractions, and other things in the novel took away from the impact the ending COULD have had.

I just really feel the same ending could have been done differently and 'warmly' received had it been properly set-up.

Anonymous said...

Agreed! The whole DNA angle is scientifically flawed and makes no sense. Therefore, the story itself breaks down and becomes confusing. It felt like the author didn't research this topic enough. I was hoping divergent would mean something truly interesting and instead it was boring and just plain incorrect.

Betty said...

Was excited to read the last book but so disappointed when I read it. Agree with everything posted here. Was VERY disappointed with ending.

Anonymous said...

I quite frankly thought the whole books should have gone in a different direction because the direction it took, sort of killed all the awesomeness it had in the previous books. But even so this book wasn't written well and wasnt thought out properly.

Anonymous said...

I loved Allegiant a lot. I felt like it was the perfect ending to the whole story. But I can't really say that my reading experience would be the same as yours, because I had a little background about what gene silencing is and I guess that's why I understood quite well what the whole "pure" and "impure" meant.

To everyone who have not read Allegiant yet or have read but is still confused:

Basic genetics: So we all have this thing called DNA right and this DNA is called the blueprint of life because it contains the genetic code. Basically, this DNA is where the information of our being is written. Like the color of our hair, our eyes, complexion, but it's not all physical qualities, it also includes physiological and emotional behavioral traits. All are controlled by the genetic code.

Gene silencing or altering your gene or your DNA structure is not actually a new concept. In fact, there have been studies/experiments that already have done this. For now, scientist are silencing genes that carry HIV, cancer so that patients can't pass it on.

What happened in Allegiant is the same, but instead of just altering the genes that causes HIV, humans have gone too far to altering even our traits. (There's actually a lot of heated debate about this because this is one of the most interesting topics in genetic engineering.)

Katniss said...

I do not agree!!!!!!! If a book makes you cry, it means that it is written very well. I haven't even finished the third book yet, but (as usual) I skipped to the end and read the last part before going back and reading the rest. It was amazing! I think that killing Tris in the end was the right thing to do, because it was unpredictiple and full of emotion. Veronica Roth is very talented. She and suzzanne Collins are my inspiration!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I completely agree with this review. this is exactly how I felt. Divergent started so amazing and i think that veronica roth did an amazing job but the books just went downhill from there

Liz Jackson said...

I agree, Divergent was so promising but the other two books were a huge disappointment--Allegiant goes back to the dark old days of YA fiction valorising male characters and devalouring females characters--the end defeats the entire ideological concept of the empowered female, a significant aspect of YA fiction--

Unknown said...

I won't deny that I cried at the end of Allegiant.... that being said it really felt much like I had been kept so occupied with physical action and the exploration of relationships that I didn't realize until I stumbled out the other side that nothing had in fact happened.... she basically slew many a beloved character senselessly and still did not manage to move her story along until about 500 pages in. At which time a great deal more disappointing and unbelievable wrap ups happen. Then the "shocker" which was supposed to be the crown jewel of this thing fell on deaf ears having lost much of the original meaning and punch because it was bite number 3 at the whole sacrafice apple. I just felt she wasted a lot of potential with the faction war and her ancestry even the serums which were genius didn't fully spread their wings.i felt like divergent would have been better as a stand alone piece of literature

Johanna said...

I finished Allegiant this morning, and to be honest - I cried the whole time while reading the last 70 pages.
I saw a video on Youtube where someone compared the series like this; in Divergent, things happen every second, and every chapter ends with a cliffhanger. In Insurgent, things happen every 10th second - and in Allegiant, every 30th second, a comparison I think is quite accurate and true.
However, I appreciated Allegiant a lot - the first half of the book was not as much of a page turner as I'd hoped for it to be, but the second part reminded me a lot of how the plot of both Divergent and Insurgent are built up. Also I believe that the Bureau of Genetic Welfare made sense, although the talk about GD's and GP's went over the border, since being a GD or GP didn't change anything, or matter.
On the whole, however, a really good book and end to an amazing series.

Anonymous said...

Well thanks for giving the ending away

Anonymous said...

the divergent series is by far my favorite books but the ending in Allegiant was so depressing, disipointing and made me regret reading it.

Anonymous said...

Of course most of us wanted to see Tris live...but I do not agree with your review on the science/DNA part of the book. That was the main idea behind this whole story!! That's what sets it apart from other teen novels. Maybe you just don't have that much of a grip on genetics. Trust me, she wrote that part out well, and it explained the entire issue going on in the series.

Unknown said...

Oh! I was starting to think that I was the only one who felt this way about Divergent series.
The first book was amazing, I devour it in just one day because the story catched me completely.
When I started the second book, with high hopes considering what I just had read before, I found it...plane. The first part of Insurgent was boring to read for me, but in the end the events made it more interesting and more catchy, but nothing like Divergent.
When I get to Allegiant, it was a total disappointment. It was like reading another book with the same characters. This book was struggle for me because I finished it because I had to, not because I liked it.
I think Roth had an amazing idea, but it wasn't good enough for three books. Maybe less books (a larger one or two short ones) would have helped to make it more "readable".
Besides, I think there was a lot of characters that weren't developed enough (Marcus, Evelyn and Johanna are important characters in the story but we only see the shell of them).
And I have problems with Tris character, because I feel like she's just perfect. She's always right, she's the one with "supernatural" intuition, she's the most powerful divergent, she's the makes me hard to connect with her because her flaws are mentioned but Roth didn't work with them, just with the good/perfect side. It made me feel Tris was not human at all.

Sorry if there's some mistakes in the writing. I'm an spanish speaker, please be indulgent with me :)

Anonymous said...

I absolutely loved the first book - I read it only after I had watched the movie but regardlessly I devoured it relishing every page! I thought it had serious potential to become something amazing and I still thoroughly enjoyed the second book, not as much as the first but I still found it captivating and it was authentic without being unbelievable. The third instalment Allegiant was a disappointment. I feel Roth had a great idea with great skills but let the third book fall to pieces. It became irrelevant and gave the reader a sense that the first to books were pointless because they didn't even relate to the plot line. The characters whom we had grown the love didn't posses their normal characteristics, and many parts of the book were left unexplained causing confusion. The ending was unnecessary and abrupt and I can't help but feel sad and disappointed with it. A great idea left to shatter...

Zeva said...

Total disappointment. I thought the series was a love story, instead it was about self destruction and chaos.
Terrible ending.....what was this author thinking?

Anonymous said...

As far as the genetics, the real problem with Roth's explanation is that it doesn't really make sense when applied to the setting, i.e., this fenced-in city where people never leave. Other than the fact that it's a really boring backstory, I have no issue with the idea of scientists thinking to "edit" humanity by removing genes for personality traits (the concept is not at all farfetched even in today's world and we do similar experiments already). I will ignore the ridiculousness of the scientists performing this experiment on large numbers of people instead of testing it first on a small group to see what would happen, like any scientist with half a brain does. So far, so good (and dull).

The experiment backfired and it made people worse? Even better. This is very likely. Genes do not work in isolation, so it's completely believable that changing a certain gene caused secondary effects. (It is, however, questionable that these so-called scientists wouldn't have already known that this could happen. We already know this today.) Where the story and its plausibility fails, though, is how the scientists chose to rectify the situation: by taking the "damaged" people and putting them into isolated cities to wait for the newly-inserted "corrections" they were given to appear in their descendants.

Um, if you have a group of people with a particular genetic anomaly that you believe is detrimental and you want to get rid of it, why would you lock them all up together so they are forced to interbreed? Those terrible genes they have will only get worse in each passing generation. Why would you organize the isolated society in such a way that the specific types of "damage" (aka aptitudes) are grouped together, forcing the people to breed in even more isolated groups, with a social structure designed to emphasize and encourage the damaging behavior that the scientists are supposedly trying to eradicate?

The funny thing is that Roth went to all this trouble to try to find a way to explain why the city of Chicago is sealed off from the rest of the world and why the faction system really exists -- because it's plainly obvious that she did not have any backstory in mind when she started the series and made this one up at the last minute -- and her explanation makes the story even more illogical than it was when there was little to no reasoning behind it at all. If she wasn't going to bother to do a little homework on the subject, she should have just kept her mouth shut and explained the premise as: "It's magic!" It would have made more sense than what she went with.

Anonymous said...

I loved all the books but I also thought it was a love story and for Tris to die that way killed me. I really get into the characters when I read a book and it really broke my heart. If she was going to die I think it should have been with Four by her side or at least something with her seeing him before she died. The way she told Four about Tris's deaths was absolutely horrible. I think the end needs to be rewritten and I hope if they make a movie they change the ending.

Anonymous said...

I personally loved Allegiant. I definately can agree that the first two books were much better, but it was like the first was absolutely amazing, the second amazing and the third great. I did find some of the GP/GD stuff a bit weird, and I was also didn't like how she got rid of the factions because I thought that was such a fascinating idea. I thought the ending, however heartbraking, was so powerful. It was completely empowering. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed the book and found myself completely engrossed, as I had been in Divergent and Insurgent. To those who've yet to read it: don't let some people's negative reviews discourage you. If you loved the first two, and love the characters of Tris and Four you'll probably enjoy this book.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why every one says the ending is depressing. Yes, I cried. I cried because I grew to love these characters that I had lost and I shared in the grief of those left behind. I agree that there are some technical problems with the plot and that the last of her trilogy was not as good as I had hoped - until the end. This book would have disappointed me if it ended in any other way. This book had a grander purpose than some typical YA novel love-endures-for-ever-and-every-one-lives-happily-ever-after ending. No, this unveils the truth about life. Sometimes... a lot of times... life sucks. We damage each other, but we also are able to heal one another. We, because we are human (not because of genetics or anything else... simply our humanity), can cause great destruction, but we can also bring about great healing and positive change. We are capable of such terror, but we are also capable of deep compassion - as individuals and as groups of people. We need to remember those glimpses of happiness, even amongst tragedy. We need to savor relational successes, such as reconciliation. We need to forgive, and let go, and cherish what we do have, right now. Live with honor. Live to make the people we love proud, whether they are still with us or whether they are onto the next big adventure. We need to be brave! :)

Awesome ending.

Cindy said...

I think a lot of the remarks about it being 'depressing' come from its target demographic.

Think about it. If all you read was Harry Potter books where everything is grand and wonderful and turns out perfect (minus a few things), you'd be shocked at the ending of the book.

My problem with the deaths in the book (not the 'big' one) is they just didn't make sense. They were poorly executed and really left no impact on me other than to just off someone else because we want to make the book all doom-ish. It just felt not thought out. Had it been properly written/executed we'd be talking about soemthing completely different.

Anonymous said...

The ending Veronia wrote for Allegiant was terribleeeeeeeeeee & sAaaaaaaaaaaaad so I came up with two ideas for a better ending and one of themmay have an awesome sequel book: 1) say Tris survives but she loses her memory due to the memory drug and so Tobias and her friends try to restore her memory (in the end the they succeed and Tris and Tobias (four ) prove tht love conquers all as he reminds her of the past they could have a future as Tobias would ho to any lengthes to remind her that she loved him) 2) So Tris dies but she becokes Tobias 's guardian angel and their love that Tobias proves still exsists as he oroves that he has and always have loved her gives her the the strength to transform from angel to human form when she wants to (Plot Themes) This journey will Tobias and Tris 's friend through the world of the guardians whereeach guardian is given powers due to the factions they are most like THE POWERS ARE; Dauntless _have the power to control fire Amity_the ability to control nature Candor Water Erydite_the weather Abnegation _the earth Uriah becomes A Dauntless guardian as well as Zeke's guardian angel there will be a war between the destroyers and the guardians The destroyers are like evil guardians that have dark magic and electrical whips and the destroyers mission is to destroy the guardians and all humanity it will take Tris , her friends and Tobias to save the world oh and in the end Tobias becomes the second Divergent guardian in the end and he and Tris spend the rest of their days loving and protecting each other plus Tris becomes the leader of te guardians (To be honest any ending for allegiant would be better ias long as neither Tris nor Tobias dies and humanity does not become enslaved !!! !!!!!

Anonymous said...

I am a little late to the party on this, but I didn't know about the books until after I saw the movie. I watched the movie and fell in love with the characters and the story, craving more. I then flew through the books. I was anticipating such great things for all the characters when I started allegiant, only to be devastated at the end. I was depressed for days. Then after some thought came to the conclusion that I am upset by the fate of the main characters, but the blow is worsened by the fact that there is almost no closure. I hate how things just happen and then "the end." My biggest gripe is that the book did not lead up to the ending or lend the reader clues to brace for the devastation of the subplot love story. There was a mild attempt at the end "2.5 years later..." Trying to give Four closure, but it was weak at best. I am disappointed because this was a great plot and a great subplot love, ruined by abruptness and lack of closure.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant books but had I known the ending I would never have read them - I read to escape reality and I want to enjoy the books. An ending has never upset me this much. If all 3 books mske it to the big screen they had better rewrite the ending.

Neha Shayar said...

If you have read divergent and insurgent, this book will extra bewilder you, extra excite you extra amuse you and most of all make you feel really inside that beautiful world. The tris / Tobias perception shift in the story is a novel idea. And the end, most of all, will extra extra shock you! Enjoy reading!

dee said...

I too read the book Divergent after watching the movie at home with my 2 daughters, one 19 the other 12. I loved it and couldn't wait to see insurgent. After actually paying to see it At the theater I anticipated reading the book. I loved that I could share this with my kids. After all it was a book about figuring out who you were and where you belonged-real life issues. Then I Google allegiant and read the spoiler. I did not anticipate that end AT ALL. The previous 2 books did not seem to be leading this way. I was devastated. Literally cried because it felt so unjust to kill her off. As I've said in other posts this is a young adult novel. Endings should leave you hopeful, trusting that good triumphs over evil. I cannot even watch the movies anymore knowing it all just ends in a sixteen year old girl feeling she needed to die to be selfless. There were other directions the author could have gone.

Unknown said...

I read the first two books in days. I purposely did not watch the movie until I finished each book. It took me MONTHS to finish the third. I felt the same as another reader who commented here, cause I read the first two including the sub-book Four, I had to finish Allegiance. None of the deaths made sense. I read the author's explanation for the ending...still made no sense. It was as if they all worked so hard to accomplish something, working up to a change and chance to live a better more fulfilling life, only to have it snatched away. My biggest regret is actually spending precious time (at 47 I don't have much free time to read for fun) reading and becoming emotionally involved with these characters, only to have them snatched away. Wasted time. Tris gone and Four half the man he used to be. Absolutely no winners. Everyone lost. Even with the changes in daily living years later, seems so useless without the characters who actually made it happen. Tris dies to always be labeled a rebel tradior and Four second-rate bureaucrat. Roth you could have done better. The movie Allegiance comes out in early spring next year. I hope the writers give these characters more honor than their creator.


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