Apr 26, 2014

Allegiant, by Veronica Roth

Disclaimer: All reviews are the result of my personal opinion from a Christian stand-point. These reviews are provided for those who share my beliefs and morals, to help guide what fiction a reader may wish to pick up. For those who do not share these beliefs, please refrain from hateful comments. It is due to rude commenting that I must now include this note prior to all reviews. For more information, visit my purpose behind this blog. Thank you for your understanding.

Intended Age-Group:  16+
Issues of Violence: shooting, poison, killing, explosives
Intimacy Level: kissing/making-out, implied sex
Swearing: b*st*rd, h*ll, d*mn, using God's name for exclamations
Recommendation: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Other Reviews of the Series: Review of book 1: Divergent & book 2: Insurgent

"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.

Initial Reaction: *****
Reaction after reading the first few chapters: This is going to be good
Reaction about 1/3 through the book: This book is...long.
Reaction through the last 2/3 of the book: This book is looooooong!

I hate to say it, but I had to push through this book. The beginning and a chunk of the ending were the strongest point. Everything in the middle felt drawn out, long, and same ol' same ol'.

Plot: *****
In Allegiant, Tris and Tobias finally discover what's outside of the fence. Not jsut that, but they discover why they were inside the fence in the first place. The answers were well-developed and thought out, but the long bouts of information just didn't keep my interest. Okay, now I know why Tris is Diverent, so let's move on. Bring on the action!
But the action didn't come that much. This book passes at a much slower pace.

The theme of a people group oppressed by false information is a strong plot. It gets even stronger when there's another people group resisting this false information and trying to bring truth and equality into the world. Then it gets even stronger when you have a heroine or hero in the thick of it.

The problem with the Divergent series is that the plot is repeated in every book.

Book 1: Erudite take over and control different factions to eradicate the Abnegation. The underdogs -- the Divergent (Tris and Tobias) -- must rise up and save everyone.

Book 2: Erudite are still taking over and causing chaos so the underdogs -- the factionless -- start rising up against an unstable faction system. Tris and Tobias must join and help lead the fight against the injustice of Erudite's control.

Book 3: People with supposed bad genes don't like being told they have bad genes by the people who supposedly have good genes. So they rise up (as underdogs!) to bring equality and justice back to the broken system.

It was okay to repeat that plot line in two books because the growth of the characters balanced it out. But to use the same plot base with book three, bringing in completely new people and cultures and government groups, got a little old. I eventually didn't care about the fact there was injustice because it seemed no matter how many books tackled this problem, it would just still be there. WHy should Allegiant be any different?

Characters:  *****

Oh, can we talk about point-of-view (POV) for a second? This book brings in Tobias's POV...okay, I can handle it.
But I couldn't. He sounded identical to Tris. In his first few chapters, he held his own, but eventually it melded into Tris's voice. I felt confused and flat-out frustrated that I couldn't stay in Tris's head the whole time.
In this book, Tobias seemed to completely change characters. I know he was trying to handle having his entire world shattered by new knowledge, and that can shake a guy up, but he turned into a weak, manipulable follower. I couldn't admire him anymore and I couldn't see why Tris liked him at all.
Tris, on the other hand, grew back into a favorite character. She seemed to go through the difficulties in Insurgent and come out stronger, smarter, and enlightened. Now, let me get into a small spoiler section. If you've read the book or already know about "the big ending" then I talk about it in the space below. The font is in white so that you can highlight and read it. If you don't want the ending of the book ruined for you, then just skip this white space!

Tris dies. There you have it. She dies. 

It was perfect.

I know that sounds a bit morbid, loving the death of the favored main character, but it brought together all of Tris's character traits into a climactic moment of completion. It made sense and fit her personality perfectly. I'd grown to re-love her so I didn't want her to die, just like I dont' want anyone I'm attached to to die.

But we all die. And Tris's death was worth so much. I cheered her on, almost cried, and then felt a little lost without her through the conclusion of the story, but for her character...it was worth it.
At the end, when I closed the book, all I could think was, "I miss Tris." But I was proud of her. I was proud of Veronica Roth for delivering such a strong ending to a strong series.

Intimacy Issues:
Because I lost interest in Tobias through this book, it made the intimacy feel...weird. The kissing felt awkward and then we reached a scene near the end where they have implied sex. I saw something like this coming from a mile away. It happens in most of the YA books now, so I won't repeat my stance on that, but I would like to point out how odd it felt.
They were preparing for a giant mission the next day! People are dying and plots are thick and suddenly Tris and Tobias retreat to an empty room with a couch and sleep together. It just...didn't fit. It was presented in a very relaxed, "let's-just-stay-in-each-other's-arms" way, but I'm sitting there on the edge of my seat thinking, "You need to be alert for tomorrow's mission! Focus! Wake up!"
It didn't fit their characters, at least not in that moment. And because it stood out like a sore thumb, it felt like a giant beacon in the darkness that something was going to happen to one of the characters. It felt a little like, "We need to have sex before we lose our chance."
I don't see why it was necessary. It sends the message to all teenagers that one's love isn't complete until they have sex.
I hate that message.
While the writing stayed appropriate (albeit a bit steamy), I was disappointed that it had to be there at all.

Spiritual Content: *****
Tris thinks more and more about God in this book, but never reaches much of a conclusion. I still liked her searching and hoping, but it would have been nice to see her take that on in a more serious way.

Overall Recommendation:
I wasn't a die-hard Divergent Series fan to begin with, but this last book left me disappointed for different reasons:
  1. It felt slow and long
  2. The plot didn't capture me.
  3. I didn't like Tobias through the entire book except the moment when he confronts his mother at the end. That moment was very powerful, at least for me, and was the one time I enjoyed his POV.
The positives of this book were:
  1. The strong and conclusive ending to a very intricate plot. No, not all the ends were tied, but I don't think they could have been. In fact, I'm glad they weren't.
  2. Tris! Her character was completely redeemed. I've always been on her side more than Tobias's, but Allegiant topped the cake. I loved her and her motivation, her goals for things and her view of life.
So give it a try if you're not concerned about being a little bored or pushing through some questionable content.

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She writes stories about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her debut dystopian novel, A Time to Die, released September 2014 from Enclave Publishing. When Nadine's not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she is out pursuing adventures. She currently lives in Idaho with her husband. You can find out more about Nadine and her books at http://nadinebrandes.com.

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