THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS. THERE'S NO WAY TO TALK ABOUT IT PROPERLY WITHOUT TALKING ABOUT THAT.
Format: Kindle e-book
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Oh dear. I really don't want to write this review but I said (in my head) I would do YA Book Club this month and I like to think I'm a woman of my word. I'd been putting off reading Allegiant anyway because I've been craving good old contemporary YA a lot these days (a craving that was substantially satisfied by Fangirl but I need more!) I also heard about - but tried to avoid - the furore that occured when the book was releasd and people disagreed with the ending. However, I finally dove back into Veronica Roth's world this week and settled down, ready to find out how it all ends.
My first thought was: dual narration, hmmm ok then. I started to doubt myself thinking it had been a long time since I read Insurgent, maybe that was dual narration too. I checked and was glad to realise I was not going mad because it was not. I usually love dual narration - and I'm not even that hard on writers who make their characters sound similar because hey, they're one step ahead of me being published and all. However, my first thought here was: I don't care what Four thinks. Not in a horrible way - I think he's a great character - it's just, this is Tris' story, isn't it? I found her character to be riveting in Divergent - maybe a little bit iffy in Insurgent - but nonetheless a wonderful, strong, female protagonist. However, with the introduction of Four's voice, Tris' voice became diluted. Her whole character slipped away into the shadows and by the end you could tell she just had nowhere to go, which is why Veronica had to do what she did. Tris died when Four started talking to us.
Now onto the story as a whole. The world was set up really nicely in Divergent. It was different to the other books I was reading at the time. I even got a little Harry Potter like and sorted myself into a faction (Candor). Overall, the first book was on point, the second book was a little messy but still engaging. However, this one just seemed to flail and then flatline. There was so much potential, so much build up, and then like a firework from your local corner shop (unless you're from East London) it just fizzles out. It got too darn complicated. Too many serums, too many worlds within worlds, too many characters. There was also too much romance. Maybe I don't remember the previous books very well but it always seemed that Tris and Tobias had their thing but that was just filler to the greater story arc. However, this time they went full on Edward and Bella and I just wasn't feeling it.
However, when we got into the Evelyn/Marcus storyline, I kind of understood why Veronica Roth wanted to use Tobias' voice. Obviously, he would be the only one who truly understood their drive and motivation to act in such a way. The war of the self always makes for an interesting and rich story, so Tobias' battle with his Marcus vs Evelyn genes - his very own nature vs nurture story- was quite fascinating. It made me think that Veronica Roth had fallen in love with Four's story and therefore had to abandon Tris - it happens to us all, doesn't it? The breakout supporting character who suddenly takes over. Had this been Four's story from the beginning, perhaps it would have been a completely different series. Perhaps it would've been stronger. Perhaps we wouldn't have needed the extra serums and extra people. Tris could have still been in it but the story would be more of an inner battle and a family saga. Overall, I think that's what was lost in Allegiant - a focus. Like shattered glass, all the pieces were there for an EPIC end to a brilliant series but it just needed to be fit together properly with some superglue.
So, what will this mean for the film franchise? I can't see a trilogy now, can you? I mean, Shailene Woodley and Theo James don't look like my Tris and Tobias (for those interested, these are my Tris and Four) but that's fine, Jennifer Lawrence didn't look like Katniss but her acting was superb, rendering looks irrelevant. However, adaptations from solid books are often messy affairs, so an adaptation from a messy book probably won't cut it. Not with such cutthroat fans and critics (speaking of said crazy fans, why can't people just chill out? You can dislike a piece of work without threatening the life of the author. Gordon Bennett, get a grip!)
So, I hate to say it but I was not down with this series closer at all. It's difficult to end a series - very few can do it well. Remember, Mockingjay? I think that will have the same issues film wise but that's a conversation for another day. Anyway, I will end this review by saying I really admire Veronica Roth, I think she's suuuuuper talented and the overall story is still brilliant but I think the ball was dropped with this one.