Book Review: Allegiant

I started reading Divergent sometime around January and I remember enjoying it at the time. Immediately after finishing it I started reading Insurgent, and I remember thinking that it didn’t quite live up to the first novel. It’s been a few months since I first started reading the series, and as such my memory was a little muddled when I started reading Allegiant. This may have negatively affected how much I enjoyed it. As I read the first few pages of the book I was little distracted by trying to remember who characters like Cara were, and what exactly had happened at Erudite headquarters. It all came back to me eventually, but I think I could have benefited from refreshing my memory of how it started before sitting down to read the end.

What made it hard for me to love Allegiant (aside from not remembering important plot points) was the alternating narration. I’m usually not a fan of switching back and forth between multiple first person narrators, especially not when they blend together as much as they do in this book. I’m still not sure if this confusion is a result of Veronica Roth not making Tris and Four’s voices distinct enough, or just result of me not remembering the characters as well as I should. Either way, there were times when I had to flip back to see whose chapter I was reading, and that shouldn’t be necessary. In hindsight I understand Roth’s decision to split the narrative, but it could have been executed better.

The plot of the novel was interesting for the most part. I had expected the story to centre on what was going on in Chicago, so the focus on the Bureau was unexpected. I liked that we got an explanation for both the factions and Edith Prior’s video from the end of Insurgent. The concept of a purity war and damaged genes was well thought out and it made sense in the overall universe Veronica Roth has established. I also liked how it addressed the issue of discrimination between the Genetically Pure and the Genetically Damaged. At times it felt a little heavy-handed, but it brought up some interesting discussions. I enjoyed reading Tobias’ struggle to understand whether his nature was a result of damaged genes or caused by nurture. I like when the conflict in dystopian novels ends up being an exaggerated aspect of our own society. I appreciated that discrimination was the root of the problems in the story, and that in order to fix everything they would have to alter the opinions of half the population.

However, while I did enjoy certain aspects of the novel, I thought there were a few things that didn’t add up in the story. My biggest issue was with how easily everything was resolved at the end. They reset the minds of the Bureau and suddenly Genetically Damaged humans are no longer a problem. However, wasn’t there a mention in the novel of a higher level of government? If so, wouldn’t their memory have to be reset too in order to have peace? Also, the millions of humans living in the country will presumably not just forget years of discrimination just because the government ceases to attack them. I don’t know. These are things I think it should have been addressed.

I also found the first uprising to be very contrived within the plot. Nothing came from it other than Uriah getting hurt, causing Tris and Tobias to fight. Which I guess is what bothered me, because it feels like Veronica Roth killed off Uriah in order to create relationship drama. I understand that he was a side character and thus didn’t serve much of a purpose in this book, but he was a character I liked a lot up until this point in the story.

I guess I should also address Tris’ death. I pretty much guessed this was coming after reading news stories about readers who are unhappy with Veronica Roth. The death didn’t bother me at all, but I can see how people are mad about it since the scene where she dies was a little confusing. I was expecting her to die from the death serum (honestly, there was an over-reliance on serums in this book as well, wasn’t there?), but instead she survived that only to be shot by David. But why was he even there in the first place? It’s never addressed and since this is what caused the main character to die I think it should have been explained better. Either way, it was a nice moment for Tris when she decided to both forgive and save Caleb.  Also, I respect when authors are brave enough to kill of their main characters.

All in all I enjoyed the two previous books more, but overall as a series I still found it enjoyable.

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