Narrator: Aaron Stanford, Emma Galvin
Series: Divergent #3
Published by Harper Audio on October 22nd, 2013
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Length: 11 hrs and 52 mins
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.
Deep breaths, Debby. Just.. deep breaths.
Before I launch into what is sure to be a rant about all the different ways I dislike this train wreck of a book and series and how undeserving I believe it is of the hype it gets, let me be upfront with you guys. I did not have high expectations for this book. I practically had no expectations, to be honest. After I was thoroughly disillusioned by Insurgent, I knew that more likely than not, Allegiant would be just as bad, if not worse, for me to read. That would be why I put it off for 10 months and finally listened to it on audiobook – I knew I wouldn’t be able to get myself through reading it by myself because anything would be more interesting. But I did still want to read this just so I could know exactly how over-hyped and painful this series is (spoiler: very) and so I could finally stop flinching at any hint of spoilers regarding the ending. Indeed, I entered this unspoiled. It’s a miracle. I know. But that did not save my opinion of this book.
Allegiant picks up where Insurgent left off and continues the trend of all the things I hated and desperately wanted to attribute to second book syndrome. But alas. First of all, there’s the plot. Well, actually, there kind of isn’t. Because is it just me, or is this book 90% dialogue? Seriously and for reals. It’s talking talking talking and infodump after infodump as Roth tries to put together this story of how this dystopia came to be. Her world building is truly painful. Dystopian fiction is supposed to be rooted in our reality – the Divergent story takes place not too far in our future. But this whole genetically pure, genetically defected storyline? PURE. BULLSHIT. Genetics do not work like this. They do not determine our complete personalities and they don’t just get defected or evolved over time because you prime the population to behave in certain ways. I don’t need to be a freaking scientist to know that this shit is not right. She could have used it as a good platform for a nature vs. nurture argument, but she didn’t.
You know, Tahereh Mafi in Ignite Me I think struggled with the same issues – she wanted to have a dystopian world but couldn’t create a logical build up for how that world came to be. Even though it let me down a bit, I was forgiving, because she didn’t spend too much time trying to convince the reader that it all made sense. She knew it didn’t, but the series itself had a way more important story of character growth. Roth, in Allegiant, hammers and hammers about this genetic defect idea and that’s what makes it so absolutely painful to listen to. It’s completely unconvincing to anyone who knows anything about genetics, for one, but then she tries to build up this Bureau of Genetic Welfare, established by the government, of all these high ranking scientists who BELIEVE THIS BULLSHIT? No. I’m sorry. No. Anyone with common sense would know this is stupid, so the whole fact that scientists have been running these experiments for decades, nay GENERATIONS, is impossible to swallow. This would not happen. Never. And you might say, “Well, it’s all propaganda and stuff, the whole population was convinced of this!” The propaganda argument kind of loses its power when the highly educated, who are leading these experiments, believe it too. They should know it’s a bullshit story but be pursuing it anyway for some nefarious purpose. And to that point – then how did Tris and her band of teenage kids see through it all? Oh yeah, because they’re SPESHUL.
But back to that plot, and the fact that there is none. It makes a 500+ page book (or almost 12 hours on audio) extremely painful to get through when nothing happens, especially considering one of the things I liked about the first book was the level of action it brought. In Allegiant the characters talk and talk and talk. They find out more about this bullshit genetics story, they recognize it’s bullshit to some extent, then talk and talk. There’s one scene right around the halfway point of the book that has SOME action with some heartbreaking consequences, and then they talk and talk and talk again until around 90% when a climax is pulled out of thin air. With all the talking did come some revelations and infodumps, but they were pretty cyclical in nature. There’s deception within deception within deception — it’s DE-…ception. Crap, that didn’t work. Um, there’s a rebellion against a rebellion inside the city and a rebellion against a rebellion against a rebellion, followed by a rebellion outside the city. Every turn is supposed to be surprising and bring a new level of intrigue, but after a while it just became annoying and I wanted to scream, “MAKE UP YOUR MIND ALREADY.” The plot was tired and stretched and full of inconsistencies, lacking believability.
The worst part for me, though, is the romance. I’m sorry, but do people really ship Tris and Four? They are the most dysfunctional couple ever. All they do is argue. There are multiple chapters in here where they seriously have extensive juvenile arguments of, “I was right and you wouldn’t listen!” “You wouldn’t trust me, how could you!” “WELL I WAS RIGHT!” “YOU WERE JEALOUS OF THAT OTHER GIRL!” “NO I WASN’T, I WAS RIGHT.” *tears out hair* Tris, you literally said in your POV chapter that she was pretty and you felt a pang you attributed to jealousy. FOR FUCK’S SAKE. At least since I was listening to this on audio, I had both hands free for a DOUBLE FACEPALM OF DOOM.
But seriously, all they do is argue. How am I supposed to find them a good couple? They suck at being a couple. They recognize at some point that they need to do better, decide to stop keeping secrets, but then Four sneaks off to make some discovery on his own without alerting Tris – and when he does get back and tell her about it SHE GETS MAD and they argue again before one of them stomps off. They don’t know how to have a calm, normal conversation. In fact, when they’re not fighting, the only thing they do, pretty much, is make out and profess their love. It’s like there’s nothing between them but physical attraction. They’re a couple made for those people who think that fighting is good for a relationship because you come out stronger in the end each time. You know what’s also good for a relationship? Being able to STOP FIGHTING. Tris and Four, congratulations, you’re up there on the list of most dysfunctional relationships I’ve ever read – right next to Edward and Bella.
But good lord, Tris is a terrible main character anyway. Any shred of liking I still held for her from the first book completely disappeared over the course of Allegiant. She’s so stubborn, stupid, and reckless. She’s magically gifted – her resistance against the serums? BULLCRAP. She’s convinced of her righteousness and is SUPER vindictive. Her grudge against Caleb? MAJOR OVERKILL. You would not believe the vein throbbing in my forehead at the kind of ABUSE she gives him for what happened in Insurgent. Yes, he betrayed her, but he’s also a teenager who was being deceived by authority figures. And for fuck’s sake, HE’S YOUR BROTHER. Tris is similarly terrible to Peter, Needa, and even Four at times, and it just made me want to punch her in the face. It’s ridiculous the grudges she holds when she killed Will. By her own standards, no one would ever have forgiven her for that.
The other characters don’t fair much better. Four, I think, is pretty ridiculous – mostly because of the relationship dynamic with Tris which is so unhealthy. It didn’t help that his narrator, Aaron Stanford, made things really awkward for me by going into a falsetto voice any time there was a female speaking in a Four POV chapter. Thaaat was awkward. It’s extremely uncomfortable to think of him as even a little bit sexy after that, though I mostly stopped liking him in Insurgent as well. The only characters that I still remotely liked were Tori View Spoiler »which was unfortunate since she was around for only about 5 minutes « Hide Spoiler, Uriah View Spoiler »SERIOUSLY? You couldn’t have killed off ANYONE ELSE? You had to kill the HUMORISTIC BADASS? FUCK YOU. « Hide Spoiler, Christina (who holds my Candor heart and is the only one who sees SENSE), and eventually Caleb, because I felt so much sympathy for the level of shit he was forced to take. But it really freaking sucks when you’re reading a story and don’t care about anyone in it – especially in a dystopia, where the objective is to save/fix the world.
Which brings me to that ending. Well, as I said, I was unspoiled, so yes, it did take me by surprise. If anything, probably the only good thing I can say about this book is that I would give props to Roth for pushing the limits and trying something new. View Spoiler »Though we talk a big game about hero’s sacrifices and stuff, YA is pretty mellow in letting its main characters always come through unharmed. I suppose, though, that it did help that I cared less than 0% about Tris and Four and their romance. « Hide Spoiler I can only think that this will have a good impact on future YA series, because it will raise the stakes and keep people guessing. But it did feel like a Hail Mary to me because SO LITTLE had happened in the plot before that point. There was no real build up to this – which one could argue works to make the surprise greater – but I personally like to see some craftsmanship in the story. It felt a bit cheap to me, and it may be my pessimistic brain and how I hate the hype around this series, but it feels like this is just something to keep people talking. People will rant and rave about this for years, the biggest shocker in YA, and if any authors should attempt anything similar, their books will certainly be compared to Allegiant. That’s just… Ugh.
But, okay, shocker accomplished – let’s just say that solves everything, plot complete, HALLELUJAH. But… no. God, I hate how that half-brained plan somehow fixed everything. That would not solve any of this issues in this society. Come on. View Spoiler »The Bureau is set up by the government, the government still has some level of control. You think if they find out all these people lost their memories they’re just going to let that go and forget about the experiments? It’s a nationwide freaking belief – this genetic defect thing – you think the government’s just going to shrug it off? Chicago is suddenly open to all to come and go? They all live in (relative) peace because the Bureau lost its memories? PLEASE. « Hide Spoiler So much is unresolved and just swept under the rug, it genuinely makes me furious. This. Story. Sucks. (imo plzkthnxbai)