GIANT WARNING SIGN WITH FLASHING LIGHTS: This post contains many, many spoilers about Veronica Roth’s conclusion to the Divergent trilogy, a little book by the name of Allegiant. If you do not want to see spoilers, I would highly encourage you to close this post and venture elsewhere on the Internets.
I’m not kidding. This post will COMPLETELY ruin the ending of the book for you if you haven’t read it.
SPOILERS EVERYWHERE YOU LOOK.
DO YOU UNDERSTAND HOW MANY SPOILERS THERE ARE?
Now, if you HAVE read it, and you are one of the six whole people who actually cares what I thought about the book, by all means, proceed past the book’s cover, which is absolutely your FINAL warning before ALL THE SPOILERS are launched mercilessly at your face.
Anne Riley’s Official Thoughts, Feelings, And Reactions To ALLEGIANT
The first thing y’all should know is that I made TWO vlogs about this, neither of which ended up being any good. Apparently, I am no good at talking about things in an organized and/or logical manner, so I’m hoping a blog post will be a little more cohesive.
The second thing I want to say is that Veronica Roth is still one of my very favorite authors, and I’m going to read everything she writes, unless it’s an instruction manual on how to mix cement or something like that. And even then, I’d have a hard time passing it up.
So without further ado, let’s dive right in.
Several people have asked me whether I liked the book or not. And I guess my general answer to that question is…
OH, AREN’T YOU HAPPY YOU SWAM THROUGH ALL THOSE SPOILER WARNINGS?
Don’t worry–I’m going to elaborate. And I’m going to divide my thoughts and feelings into sections based on the issues I had with the book.
ISSUE #1: THE DUAL P.O.V.
I know a lot of people have problems with books where there is more than one point of view, but I typically enjoy it–as long as the characters have completely unique voices and I don’t have to guess which one is narrating.
Unfortunately, I had a really hard time telling Tris and Four apart. I often found myself in the middle of a chapter thinking I was reading the story through Tris’s eyes, but then she would appear in the scene, and I would flip back to the beginning of the chapter and discover it had been Four the whole time. Or I would think it was Four when it was actually Tris. I would have liked more distinction between the two so that this kind of thing didn’t happen as often as it did.
(Incidentally, a YA book that did the dual POV thing super well–at least, in my opinion–was Across The Universe by Beth Revis. I never had any problem telling Amy’s voice from Elder’s.)
ISSUE #2: EXPOSITION AND EXPLANATION
Oh, y’all. As a fellow author, I sooo felt Veronica Roth’s pain here. When your story is as elaborately constructed as this one was, it can be super hard to give your readers all the answers they want without doing a massive amount of info-dumping. I struggled with this a lot as I wrote Shadows, and had to work really, really hard to keep from just having my characters EXPLAIN everything to each other.
I was a little disappointed at the quantity of info-dumping in Allegiant. It seemed like most of the Big Answers to the Big Questions came in the form of one character saying, “Here, let me tell you what’s been going on,” as opposed to someone–Tris or Four, preferably–discovering the answers along the way.
Instead of feeling intrigued and engrossed in the story, I often felt a little bored, and that’s not something I expected from this series.
ISSUE #3: THE END
Okay. I mean…
I get that Tris is a very self-sacrificial person, and that ties in nicely with her Abnegation upbringing and also her Dauntless training. Going into that room in Caleb’s place wasn’t the first time she had done something like that, so it was consistent with her character. It made sense…
…except that it also made me sick to my stomach.
(I mean, not really. But I did get a little queasy.)
Now, I am not ABOUT to start demeaning Veronica Roth. As I said earlier, I think she’s a top-notch author, a super classy person, and an all-around incredible human being.
I just really, really, really didn’t want Tris to be dead. Here’s why:
1) It would have been super freaking awesome for her to pull a Harry Potter-type thing and go into the room expecting to die from Death Serum, but then she doesn’t, thereby maintaining her self-sacrificing persona while also rescuing everyone around her and still being there for Four. I would have even been fine with her having some lingering effects from the Death Serum. It didn’t have to be pretty or easy at all–I just wanted her alive and functional.
2) Caleb wanted and needed to be redeemed. I know it sounds really morbid for me to say this, but he volunteered and he felt convicted to give himself up, so maybe he should have been allowed to do so. Tris going in for him kind of… made things worse, in a way, because now he’s got to deal with what he did to his parents and letting his sister die for him. GUH.
3) For all they’d been through and for everything they were planning, I wish Tris had felt more responsibility to stay alive for Four. He’d lost so much already and they had just started talking about their future together, and it kinda got under my skin how blasé she was about leaving him behind. “Tell him I didn’t want to leave him,” was more or less her message to him as she was preparing to go in. If I were Four, that just wouldn’t cut it.
In spite of my wishing things had turned out differently, I still love Divergent and will definitely see the movie in March. I still love and respect Veronica Roth, although I do wish she’d taken a different course with the last book in general and the ending specifically.
However, that’s the beauty of being creative: we all do it differently, and we get to do it however we want.
Now, in the comments, I’d love for you to tell me what you thought. Did you like it? Did you not like it? Do you agree or disagree with anything I’ve said? Let’s discuss!