Audiobook Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Posted September 10, 2014 by Debby in Audiobook Reviews, Reviews / 14 Comments

Audiobook Review: Allegiant by Veronica RothAllegiant by Veronica Roth
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
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased

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.

1 Stars

Deep breaths, Debby. Just.. deep breaths.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 », Uriah View 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.

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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 » 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 » So much is unresolved and just swept under the rug, it genuinely makes me furious. This. Story. Sucks. (imo plzkthnxbai)

Summing Up:

I have one positive thing to say: I can put this series on my list of completed series. Aaaaand that’s it. *headdesk* I genuinely liked Divergent but the series as a whole is a train wreck. I would not have finished this book if I didn’t listen to it – I had enough trouble pushing through it as it is. It was even more terrible than I expected and I truly mean it when I say that I hated every minute (except for maybe a small smirk I had at the twist). So much eye rolling and face palming. But I did it. It is done. I can move on with my life and pretend this never happened.

GIF it to me straight!

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Recommended To:

I think it goes without saying that I would not subject people to this.

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14 responses to “Audiobook Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth

  1. This review makes me even more grateful for the fact that I had Allegiant spoiled for me almost right after it came out, which made me decide not to bother with it since I didn’t really like Insurgent all that much. THIS SOUNDS LIKE THE MOST MISERABLE READING EXPERIENCE EVER. You are a trooper for even getting through it on audio without tearing all your hair out in frustration at what sounds like sheer idiocy. You make an excellent point re: the science of the genetics. The world-building was just so bizarre to me in the first two books and it sounds like it didn’t get much better. ALSO FOUR/TRIS = WORST. ROMANCE. EVER. I even think Edward/Bella might be more functional than them at some points and that’s just sad. (sorry if this is long and non-sensical. I am looped up on sleep aids)

    • I have no idea how I stayed unspoiled, but I think even if I was spoiled, I would have read this just so I could definitively say the series is overhyped. It was definitely miserable though. And you might be right. Four/Tris is possibly worse than Edward/Bella. At least Edward and Bella were in a co-dependent too sappy love… they didn’t argue as much. =/

  2. The whole genetic aspect is even worthy of a *triple facepalm* If there was less focus on it, it would have been much better. She made it look like she was trying to sound smart.. And yes, Tris/Four, what is going on between them?? They were kind of cute in Divergent, but they became a mess in Insurgent and were tragic here. I hated their scenes together and how they lied, promise not to lie and just continued to do the same.
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    • I guess the Four/Tris couple kind of makes sense if indeed the only thing between them is physical attraction. So in the first book, we got to see their “lust” and chemistry, but when it came down to it in the later books and they actually got to know each other and had to interact for longer periods of time, it was a train wreck. I dunno. I hate them. Horrible couple.

  3. I actually enjoyed the book, but it’s more because I liked the themes of what bravery and courage is (not Tris) and the concept of people being defined by one trait (not possible, but interesting to ponder). I kind of ignored the romance (meh), and I really just stuck around for the secondary characters (to which I second your FUCK YOU at Roth – that death was unacceptable and totally undeserved). Overall, I truly enjoyed the story – but yeah if I think about it too much it’s… eh.
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    • Hmm, I get those themes, but I just couldn’t bring myself to care about it because I just didn’t care about Tris at all. It made the book so meaningless to me, since I was just a passive observer the whole time, not engaged in the story. The romance was too overbearing for me to be able to ignore it *sigh*

  4. Bahaha I love this review. I agree with you 10000%. It sucks because I loved the first book SO MUCH. I ADORED it!! Then it got worse with Insurgent and then Allegiant sucked balls.

    Ugh I HATE Tris and Four. They’re the perfect example of a horrible couple. They lie, they don’t communicate, they keep secrets.. and then they try to solve all their problems by making out once in a while. Really??? In what universe is this a good relationship? Honestly, I think all their lies, arguments, and mistrust gave me a legit headache while reading the book.
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    • I saw your review, and you’re like one of my only reader friends who felt the same way, haaha. Yeah, it was so weird the way they would constantly argue and then just start kissing out of nowhere. I’m SO confused that readers ship them and stuff. Terrible couple. One of the absolute worst.

  5. Yisssss. (Part of me feels like I should really hate Ever After because it’s so cheesy and Dougray Scott’s crotch bulge is always watching, but it’s the best anyway)

    Wooo! I did not ever accidentally spoil you! *pats self on back*

    Also, the worst thing about lots of dialog in V.Roth is the dialog tags. KILL ALL THE DIALOG TAGS. I tend to skim them in print, but on audio overuse of dialog tags is so fucking present. Like Christina said, Tobias said, blah said. *sprays fire*

    Her world building, which I almost typoed as world shitting (appropriate), is just the most pathetic thing ever. I had an awesome explanation for her ridiculous as fuck world, though the obvious thing would be to not make it the future because goddamn that is not how people work, but it could be how people in your fantasy land worked but OH NO dystopian just has to be futuristic even if it makes no goddamn sense. ANYWAY, MY ENDING: They learn, as they did, that it was an experiment. BUT it was actually to see if humanity, who has destroyed the planet and shit, was stupid enough to try to kill one another over such arbitrary and obviously false divisions. They were and so humanity blows itself up. The end.

    It’s ironic, actually, how much more terrible it is to world build badly than to just ignore the world building. You wouldn’t think it would be, but it actually just keeps bringing your mind around to it. That’s what Dualed did in book two. Book one basically ignored world building and had a bunch of action, but Divided is ALL about world building and it’s just as bad as it always was. Same with Allegiant.

    HAHAHAHA, yessss, Tris and Four are the worst. They do not trust each other fucking at all. Also, this is what they did for all of Insurgent too.

    Though, actually, I liked Tris best in this book. It’s the only book where I ever saw her show an evidence of her supposed intelligence and selflessness. I do not remember who most of these other people are so no comment.

    Yeahhhh, lots of guys are terrible at narrating women. Though once I listened to a guy with a SUPER deep voice who did a great job and much applauding for him.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it many more times: if the reader doesn’t care about the characters, we’re not going to be affected by them dying. So killing off secondary characters doesn’t count if they’re not developed. All the action in the world isn’t exciting without development.

    Not the only YA book with that ending actually. It didn’t do it first, but one of the biggest ones certainly. Obviously I can’t list the others either but oh well.
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    • Haaaaaaaa Ever After is just all the nostalgia everrrr.

      I KNOW. If I waited much longer I know I would have been spoiled at some point because people would just ASSUME I’d read it or forget that I hadn’t. Ew.

      YES DIALOG TAGS. I noticed and tried to ignore. It makes her writing seem like the most simplistic thing ever and I was just like, how did I never notice that in Divergent or Insurgent? Ewww.

      WORLD SHITTING. BEST EVER. THIS NEEDS TO BE A LEGIT TERM. I like your ending. Everyone in this universe dying seems like the best way to kill the story. *nods*

      Exactlyyyy. If you harp too much about your terrible world building you keep drawing attention to how bad it is. I can’t believe editors just thought HMM THIS SOUNDS ABOUT RIGHT.

      Tris/Four is one of the worst ships ever. I think they might be at the top of my unship list. Just no. Nope. The first book just showed the physical chemistry between them, so I was cool with that, but once they actually started getting to know one another? Chemistry died.

      I’m not sure how I feel yet about audiobook narrators doing voices for dialogue. Like, if it makes some characters sound really awkward, might just be better to do a neutral voice for all, imo. But it depends on the narrator I guess.

      CURIOUS what other books there are, haha, but yeah, I think it’s the scope and buzz about this series that will make it the one that gets named the most. *sigh* womp womp.

  6. Kimberly

    I love 1-star reviews. I read them compulsively on Amazon after finishing a book I didn’t like, because often the 1 and 2-star reviews hold more truth than the gushing 5-star reviews.

    To be honest, I never actually read this series. I meant to, but the first book was always checked out and then, by the time the second book came out, I had vowed to stop reading unfinished series. By the time the last book was announced, I was tired of dystopias and had lost interest in reading the series altogether. So imagine my glee when I heard the spoilers on publication day and spent the next few weeks reading all the glorious 1 and 2-star reviews on Amazon. They were harsh, and I loved them. I felt justified for ignoring all the people who told me repeatedly I needed to read the series, and then were crushed by the ending. Does that make me a bad person? Maybe…

    Your points in this review are very similar to the most frequent negative reviews I’ve read. Terrible world building, plot points that just don’t make sense yet seem to be important to the plot, inconsistent characters, terrible romance, etc.

    I am astonished you managed to finish the series. Although, I’m about to hate-read the last book in a different trilogy, so I suppose I shouldn’t be that surprised. It is possible. Do we really gain pleasure out of doing that? Probably not at the time, but I really love being able to discuss why I hated a book…

    Not related, but I just started listening to The Silkworm on audio and it is amazing. The reader has a deep, gravelly voice, yet his female characters are perfection. No idea how he does it.

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