Warning: This post contains SPOILERS for the third book in the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth.
Honestly, this book wore me out. This is the latest I’ve ever been finishing my book of the week (I’m sorry for the late post), not because of the length of the novel, but because I kept picking it up and then putting it back down. It was that gosh-darn frustrating.
First of all, you cannot simply go from a single POV to a double POV after two books written in the former style. You just can’t. Adding a Tobias POV, while sort of interesting, was obviously just a means for the end. I admit that, going into the book, I already knew what was going to happen, so I was able to pick up clues early on that first time readers probably missed. And from the get-go having Tobias begin narrating felt like a tool to use in achieving Roth’s ridiculous ending. But that’s not even my main complaint about it, no, my main complaint is that his voice is exactly the same as Tris’ voice. They could be the same character for all I could tell the difference – had I not had the chapter headings and some common sense I wouldn’t have been able to differentiate between them. This kept frustrating me, and it was one of the main reasons I didn’t even really start this book until the last day of the week.
Lucky for me, and all other readers, Allegiant is a pretty quick read. I wish I could say that the book became less painful, but I can’t. This was the spectacular failure of the trilogy. It was overwrought, convoluted, and often trite. The plot became murky, the stakes were raised but felt the same, and the characters remained static and chose to go through the same cycles they had already been through in the previous two novels.
It was a grand disappointment, even before I came to the widely controversial ending – Tris’ death. I disagree with many readers in terms of how I feel about the ending – I don’t mind that Tris dies. Yeah, it’s sad, and yeah, it’s unfair to kill the protagonist of a novel. Maybe I’ve become too fond of books that make me cry, or maybe I’m just getting older and starting to appreciate work that shows the world a little more realistically. Either way, the death itself wouldn’t have bothered me had it not been for the complete and utter pointlessness of it. There was no reason for her to die. I get the premise – she dies for her brother. Except, I reject that premise on the grounds that she only risks her life passing through the death serum for her brother. When she survives the death serum her “sacrifice” for Caleb is over and done with. There were so many ways that her final showdown with David could have gone, and I just didn’t see the point of it being something she died during. If anyone wants to justify it, I’m down to listen, but I have a feeling that no one’s going to step forward. This felt like a “shock-value” ending. With books like Game of Thrones doing so well despite killing off main characters, this seemed like Roth’s way to end with a bang, What an ingenious way to cover up a book with a mediocre plot and meager character development. Keep ’em crying and they won’t have time to realize how much time and energy they wasted reading it.
And, I’m sorry, but killing Tris AND Uriah was just wrong. I don’t mind Martin when he does it because in Game of Thrones all the deaths make sense. But this was gratuitous in the worst possible way.
Overall Reaction: “Really?” So disappointed… The first book had so much potential…
Up Next Week: Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer. It was highly recommended to me and it’s short (which is what I need with so many assignments due in the next couple of weeks).