Author: Veronica Roth
Released: October 22nd 2013
Pages: 526 (Hardback)
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US
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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.
In a way, this feels like the end of an era - and to a certain extent, I guess it is. I've spent the past year anticipating the release of Allegiant after the godsmacker of a cliffhanger Insurgent left us on, and in a weird way, I don't think it could ever live up to whatever expectations I as the reader had - every fan wanted something different to happen, but nothing would ever be quite right for everyone. However, I think that's the difficulty with most trilogies - it will never be the perfect goodbye because we just don't want to let it go.
Allegiant picks up immediately after Insurgent, as the factionless have taken control of the city and are now organising every faction to be torn apart. It's just like another dictatorship, and the Allegiant - those loyal to the faction system - want to stop it. In an effort to find out more about the experiment they have been forced into, the Allegiant sends a small group out beyond the borders of the city to find out what lies outside.
As I said in my most recent review of Insurgent, I don't really like the direction Roth went in with the plot. I liked the idea of the faction system, and now that entire concept has been completely torn apart, leaving only chaos in it's wake. In Allegiant, it's basically a rebellion within a rebellion within a rebellion with another bit of rebellion on the side - there are so many different teams to fight against that in the end, I don't think the reader nor the characters really know who they are fighting for. Everything just became incredibly confusing, and halfway through the book, I gave up trying to understand what was going on.
Tris redeemed herself in my eyes. In Insurgent she became reckless and irritating, and her narrative was a displeasure to read. In Allegiant, she gains back her common sense and groundedness, becoming likeable again in that quirky way of hers. However, Tobias does the complete opposite - damn, is he a whiny bitch! "Oh look at how damaged my genes are, look how damaged I am, look how awful my life has been, pity me everyone, pity me!"
In my review of Divergent, I complimented Roth on the characterisation of the secondary characters, as they each held the potential depth to be a main character. However, I've now got to take that back. Not meaning to spoil anything, but pretty much everyone gets killed off in one way or another, and whenever new characters are introduced, they just don't have the same individuality that I found in the beginning initiates. Do I care about Nita, about David? Nope, I don't. And actually, David is just a combination of both Evelyn and Jeanine. They are mere shells and failed reproductions of the characters before them, holding a certain anonymity that is impenetrable. I feel unattached to their lives, and I lack any of the former sympathy I developed over the storylines of the likes of Will and Uriah.
Ever since Allegiant's release, I've been excited but apprehensive. Review after review critiqued that something bad happened and that it ruined the entire book. Finally I reached the point that everyone was talking about - and you know what? I actually liked it. (The rest of this paragraph will be spoiler central, so skip it if you haven't read this yet!) Basically, Roth kills off Tris. I can see why it is controversial - she has been our main character since the very beginning, and for her to suddenly be dead showers the plot in a negative light. However, I thought it was realistic. Of course I didn't want to see the back of Tris - she's our heroine, we root for her - but she has avoided death so many countless times that it just felt right, somehow, for it to eventually happen. And the way in which she dies - shot whilst saving Chicago - seems like an honourable death to me, as it highlights the Abnegation, the Dauntless, the Erudite within her; it highlights her Divergence, and gives her story and the series a just send off.
Overall, I feel mixed about this read. On one hand it was disappointing, as the characterisation and the world-building have drastically fallen in my expectations, becoming loose and unbelievable. On the other hand though, I am after all a fan of Divergent and Allegiant did manage to reduce me to tears. Despite all the holes I could pick in it, the plot really got to me. The world she created and the amount of things the characters have been put through is horrible - although it wasn't the happy ending we were all hoping for, it gave each of the remaining characters a chance at redemption, something they all deserve after the horrors they have faced. Maybe I haven't loved every single aspect of this trilogy, but I am sad to say goodbye. I can't wait to see what Roth brings out next.